If you're part of a brand looking to raise its profile in the market, you need an expert in brand management to ensure your presence in the field is prominent and positive. A brand manager is an expert in the type of holistic marketing necessary to increase the perceived value of your product or brand and makes it easier to increase your market share. By combining positive brand associations with targeted marketing that will hit you core audience, brand management is the key to turning a strong product into a strong brand.
Many marketing firms offer brand managing features, but there's no substitute for a dedicated, trained brand manager committed to raising your brand's profile.
What Is Brand Management?Brand management is about developing a strategic plan to increase a brand's credibility and perceived value in the market long-term. This allows the company to increase its prices and product output.
How Is It Done?
This is done by developing a comprehensive understanding of the brand, analyzing its target audience, and developing a marketing plan that fits with the company's established public image. One of the most important elements of a brand manager's job is to understand the competition and figure out their weaknesses so that your brand can slip into under-served areas of the market.
Once a company is established in the market and has picked its target audience, the next step is to maintain that brand image through a consistent marketing presence.
What's the Result?
As the company works to establish credibility for their signature product, that credibility bleeds over into the rest of their line, and a positive association benefits all products or services down the line. A brand manager's primary role is to determine how a product is currently perceived in the market, course-correct to make sure the impression is positive, and grow that reputation to cover a larger umbrella of products.
The "Big Four" of Brand Management
Any successful brand manager will need to master the four key elements of managing a brand - awareness, reputation, equity, and loyalty. These four principles work in succession to build a successful brand that people view as an essential part of their life and culture.
This is the first step towards a successful brand, as no business can establish themselves in the market without their target audience knowing they are an option. Most fields will have a host of competitors, and a new brand will often go up against established multi-national corporations that can dominate the market not through quality but through quantity. A smaller product has to develop a strategy to break out from the crowd and establish a niche in a larger market, then turn that into a growing share.
Brand management for smaller brands shouldn't focus on competing with the top brands at their debut, but should instead focus on examining market data and finding a segment of buyers that aren't being served by the bigger brands. By connecting with this small target audience, good word of mouth develops and a larger audience is pulled in through positive reviews.
Establishing a brand personality is a key part of building brand awareness, because it makes it easier to develop an emotional connection with buyers that boosts long-term loyalty.
Once you've established your presence in the market and your brand awareness is significant, the next step is to focus on your brand reputation and ensure that people are talking about your product in a positive way. Customer experience is the most important factor in determining your reputation, but many factors can affect your company's search landscape.
A search landscape is what curious customers find when they search your product, and that first impression plays a major role in determining if you get another sale. Studies show that companies with a positive online reputation can charge over 20% over their competitors, because, when a customer sees a good review, they will pay a premium.
That's why active management of your search landscape is a critical part of any brand manager's job. The best way to maintain a positive brand reputation is to focus on individual customer experiences, especially during the early stages of your business when each review makes up a significant chunk of your search landscape.
This is where brand management turns your brand's market presence and reputation into solid value, as customers trust your brand enough to choose your offering over lower-cost alternatives. The most powerful brands in their field, such as Band-Aid or Listerine, are so well-established that customers use the brand name rather than the generic term for bandage or mouthwash.
This high-level brand positioning gives a well-established product a foothold in the market that's near-impossible to budge, and establishing that brand strength starts early in a company's life.
Building brand equity, or reputation managing techniques, involve creating an image for your company that positions it as an essential part of everyday life. Advertisements that show the company's positive core values, emphasize positive reviews, and create aspirational images of the customer types who use the product are powerful ways to build brand equity. A skilled brand manager will pinpoint your company's biggest strengths and tailor your marketing campaign to those most likely to be won over.
This is the final stage of brand management, and it's the one where the marketing department sees the fruits of their labor and steps back to let the hard work they've put in reap its rewards. Brand loyalty is driven by customers' long-term experiences with your brand and how your company handles customer service with both satisfied and unsatisfied customers. Satisfied customers turn into positive reviews, which raise your brand equity and make it easier to maintain long-term brand loyalty.
A satisfied customer is a returning customer, and the most satisfied customers often become brand ambassadors who will spread the word of your company to people considering their first product.
A good example of this is with technology companies where you see debates among loyal customers of each, like Apple versus Microsoft or Nintendo versus Sony. In these debates, the discussions take on the tone of rooting for a home team. These brand super-fans use social media to praise your product, creating individual marketing campaigns that don't cost your company a dollar to run and have a reach across the globe.
Brand Management - Your Ticket to a Successful Rollout
Before rolling your product out into a crowded market, it's key to have a plan for building awareness of your product and carving out a unique slice of the market against bigger competitors. A dedicated brand manager can take your company's quality product and build it into a brand with strong awareness, a positive reputation, high equity, and long-term loyalty. Contact DeSoto Consulting LLC today for more information on our comprehensive services or to set up a consultation on what our company can do for your brand's rollout and marketing efforts.