Brand management, also known as “Branding“, is defined by Joan Costa in his article “Brand creation and management” as “Branding is the art of integrated brand management” (1). This management refers to both its material and immaterial parts. According to him, the brand is nothing more than what it means to its public. They are the ones who give it value.
Brand management, in the long term, will distinguish the company and its products or services from its competitors. This is essential for a market with a wide range of products and services.
- A brand is something that we must work on in order to be recognized, stand out from the competition, and be present in the consumer’s mind.
- Brand management, in the long term, will result in customer loyalty, who will recommend it to their contacts and ultimately generate sales.
- A brand is composed of tangible and intangible elements, and good brand management, or branding, involves acting on all elements. All departments of the company must be involved.
What do you need to know about brand management?
- A brand is what makes it possible to identify a product or service offered by a company.
- It allows a consumer to recognize the product among others.
- The brand is composed of a series of tangible and intangible characteristics.
To reach this level of recognition, there are a number of key things you need to know.
What is brand management or branding?
Brand management or branding consists of carrying out a series of actions on each of the parts into which the brand can be divided and orienting all of them towards the objective set by the company. The brand is an intangible asset. A good brand image gives more value to a company.
Brand management is based on analysing how your brand is seen and what to do to be seen the way you want.
It is nothing more than an analysis carried out to find out how users perceive us.
Once we know where we are, we set objectives and actions to ensure that the brand is perceived as the company wishes (2).
What are the advantages of working on the brand?
The brand is what allows a consumer to identify a product and remember it. Consumers are more likely to buy a product whose brand they remember than one they do not know (3). Creating a company brand and differentiating it from the rest create a few advantages:
- It allows the product to be differentiated from the competitors, not just identified. The product is different from the rest because of the value it conveys and allows it to be separated from the rest by its characteristics or attributes.
- It generates consumer confidence. They associate the brand with a certain quality standard. Whoever buys your product or service knows in advance what quality it will have. It can influence the purchase decision process.
- It can generate income from licensing. A licensing agreement to exploit a brand in exchange for revenue, at a fairly low cost.
- Can achieve more value than some tangible assets. In case you want to sell or transfer it, this generates much more value for the company and more confidence when trying to obtain financing.
- Protection for the product or service you market, as long as the trademark is registered. It will prevent copying and trying to create confusion when someone wants to buy your product.
- Facilitates the entry of new products: When the company launches a new product into the market, it already has the backing of the trademark.
Brand management principles
When it comes to managing a brand, the first thing to know is that it is made up of a series of characteristics or elements, which are classified into tangible and intangible.
The intangible elements are those elements that a customer associates with a brand, generating value but cannot be touched, it is a perception. These elements are the ones that allow us to measure whether a brand strategy is succeeding or not.
Brand awareness is a variable with which you measure the level of awareness of your brand among your customers and the market.
This variable has a direct impact on the income statement, since brands with a higher level of awareness generate more sales than those with low awareness. To measure this awareness, we will look at:
- Direct web traffic: who accesses the web through the address bar.
- A number of mentions: a number of times your brand is mentioned in non-paid media.
- Presence in Social Networks and blogs: observing how many times information or news about the brand is shared by users and followers on social networks and blogs.
This element of the brand is based on the consumer’s opinion of that brand. Brand equity is acquired over time through brand management. The valuation can be positive or negative. The valuation is built through opinions, always try to be positive, the result of the experience and satisfaction of the needs of the product. The more favourable experiences are obtained, the more it will grow and the better the value of the brand will be.
To evaluate this brand from the customer’s point of view, we will do it through surveys, in which we will ask and establish scores for the following questions (4).
- Willingness to pay a higher price than what is currently being paid.
- Level of satisfaction with the product or service.
- Level of quality perceived in our brand.
- Level of innovation they believe the brand has
- Level to which the brand is used to express a generic product.
Brand loyalty can be understood as the degree of attachment that consumers have to a particular brand. Consumers prefer that brand to others of equal composition or equal service even at lower prices.
To measure the degree of loyalty of our customers, you can conduct a survey and evaluate these issues:
- How highly would you recommend our product?
- Would you be willing to try other products from our offer?
- Would you repeat the purchase of the same product?
Brand recognition is the ability of a customer or user to identify a brand without seeing the name. Brand recognition implies how deeply rooted a brand is in a consumer’s mind so that they identify colours and shapes with a product and the quality of the product.
The reputation of a brand is a positive feeling that the community has towards that brand, whether they are consumers or not. This positive reputation is achieved mainly when a brand delivers what it promises. The long-term result of doing what is promised makes people trust the brand.
“The companies with the best reputation make 72.3% of their customers recommend their products and services to their friends and family, compared to 9.4% of the companies that occupy the last places in the reputation ranking (global Pulse 2011) (5)”
These are those aspects that are part of the brand, which we can touch or modify manually. Some of these elements are listed below.
Name of the brand
The brand name is the word, under which all the products manufactured or marketed by a company will be named. This word should not be chosen at random, but must be related to or evoke the brand image we want to convey and the objectives or mission of the company.
The following issues, among others, should be taken into account:
- That it is not registered
- The domain of that word does not have to be owned by another company
- It must be consistent with the products or services we market.
- Easy to remember.
Logo and colour palette
The logotype is the graphic representation of the brand, it can be an image or a drawing. The purpose of the logotype is that this image is retained in the consumer’s mind because in this way it will not be necessary to mention or read the name of a brand to identify it.
In the same way as the brand, the colour palette is the group of colours with which we want our brand to be identified, so that when a certain colour combination is seen, it will be identified with the brand without the need to see it.
Typography is the typeface used by the company. This must be included in the Corporate Identity and Style Manual. The font chosen must be used in all the company’s documents and communications.
Typography helps to generate a brand image.
You should try to choose a simple and timeless font that does not change over time. It will be a sign of the identity of your company. It must be clearly readable in the logo and responsive.
A graphic image of a brand acts as a hook for customers through symbols or drawings. It tries to communicate the values and principles of the company, in order to be remembered.
When creating it, a series of factors must be taken into account:
- The target audience. It is necessary to design thinking about who you are going to address.
- It must be simple and easy to remember.
- The graphic image must be attractive and stand out from the competition.
Digital marketing channels
- SEO. Optimize your website, so it appears higher in searches and drives more organic traffic to your website.
- P.P.S. Pay per click generates traffic when they click on your ads, either in the banner or paid search results.
- Email marketing. With the mail, you can communicate regularly, send posts, event announcements etc.
- Social network. Manage your networks to get followers and create interest for them to interact. You can do it with ads or in your feed.
- Affiliate marketing. Promote your products on the websites of other companies and pay for the visits or conversions they get you.
Packaging is part of the product brand and is the first thing the customer sees when receiving or purchasing a product. It has to be in line with the image that the company wants to transmit. It must be attractive to the customer, as it influences the purchase decision.
The best way to unite packaging and brand is with a design and content that stands out and is easy to associate with the brand.
The style guide is a document, which indicates how to use the graphic brand in all departments of the company, not just marketing and advertising.
This guide helps to create an image for everyone and is coherent with what you want to convey.
With the style guide, you get a number of benefits:
- Conveying a unified image.
- Capture the attention of your target audience.
- Stand out from the competition.
- Increase sales.
How to develop a brand strategy?
A brand strategy is a plan to achieve certain goals, which in this case are rapid identification and standing out from the competition.
5 steps of developing a brand strategy;
- What is the purpose of your business? Look at what is the purpose of your business. Your mission and what your product or service brings to the table that others do not.
- Identify and analyse your target audience. Select the people you are going to address and consider their preferences, behaviours etc…
- Monitor your competitors. Look at the channels your competitors use, the activities they carry out, how they advertise and where etc.
- Define your position. Define how you want to be seen and the position you want to take in the market.
- Control. Check whether the brand you have created matches the values and is recognised.
How does branding affect results?
The following chart shows how each part of the brand affects customers and the company’s bottom line:
|Brand Element||How it affects the customer||Impact on results|
Increases awareness, allows differentiation
|Brand value||Customer trust|
Increased market value
|Brand loyalty||Immune to other offers. Loyalty||Reiteration in sales|
|Brand recognition||The customer knows the brand by a single attribute||Reduction of advertising expenditure|
|Brand reputation||Generates customer confidence||Allows to raise prices|
|Name, logo, colour and graphics||Helps to stand out from the competition and facilitates memorability||Increases sales|
|Digital marketing channels||Facilitates communication and sharing||Generates more customers and more sales|
|Packaging||Stand out from the competition||Gets chosen earlier and increases sales|
A brand is an element of your company and must be worked on due to the wide range of products and services available in the market. Branding or brand management is a series of actions that must be developed so that your brand is always present in the consumer’s mind. For this, you must take into account that the brand has a tangible and intangible parts, and both parts must lead to the same goal.
Brand management will affect long-term results. To ensure that brand management has a direct impact on results, a strategy must be followed and continually reviewed. Creating a style guide, firstly, helps and aligns all actions, and, secondly, helps departments to know how to act. With this, you will achieve a series of benefits that will lead to an increase in sales.