As organisations seek to stand out from their competitors and establish a unique identity, brand management has become increasingly valuable to businesses regardless of size. To effectively manage a brand, it is important to understand the relationship between brand management and marketing. In this CPD article, we will explain and provide some simple tips for effective brand management and the necessary skills involved.
What is Brand Management?
Brand Management refers to the creation, maintenance, and development of an organisation’s identity in the market. This involves a strategic approach to building a business or brand, and encompasses its ethos, messaging and ideals to ensure a positive perception with their target customers to drive growth.
Every time a customer interacts with your company, you want it to be a positive experience, whether it’s making a purchase on your website, interacting on social media, reading a newsletter, or a particular association with a physical store. Each of these will have an impact on a customer’s impression and establish loyalty to your brand. From the outset your customer should have a clear idea of your company’s products or services.
However, brand management goes further than just creating a recognisable logo and website, and extends beyond the marketing department through to the very core of every business. To achieve the organisation’s goals, it is vital that all employees can understand and communicate these values, becoming advocates and ambassadors for your brand.
Differences between Marketing and Brand Management
Marketing and brand management are interconnected, they share similarities and often work together. However, they can have a few different focuses and objectives, including:
- Marketing encompasses all activities involved in promoting and selling to your customers. It requires understanding your customers’ needs, communicating with them regarding the products or services and involves developing strategies to engage with a target audience.
- Brand management can be seen as a more specific aspect within marketing. It involves the development of an organisation’s reputation in the marketplace. The brand management team focus on creating a unique identity, image and perspective to differ itself from competitors while building strong connections with customers.
- Marketing involves the planning and execution of activities for a wide range of areas including market research, product development, pricing, distribution, advertising and promotion as well as public relations and sales.
- Brand management concentrates on the branding aspects of an organisation including its messaging, increasing awareness, creating corporate literature, as well as ensuring consistency across all customer touchpoints.
- Marketing often revolves around working towards a certain timeframe, is usually campaign driven and may focus on short term goals, for example in the run up to Christmas or a new product launch.
- Brand management is generally a long-term and continuous process. Building a reputation takes time and it’s important to ensure the brand is able to withstand fluctuations, seasonality or trends in the market.
- Marketing is normally customer orientated, as this involves understanding your target audience to tailor ongoing strategies to meet their preferences and needs.
- Brand management concentrates on maintaining and enhancing the unique selling points and associations of the brand. It also involves shaping how customers perceive and emotionally connect with the brand.
- The primary goal of a marketing department is to increase sales revenue as well as retaining and gaining customers. This can incorporate various promotions or campaigns and monitoring the overall successful outcome of these.
- Brand management builds the reputation, trust and loyalty of its customers. It is important that a brand should create a robust and positive reputation that will increase market share.
What are the best skills needed to be a Brand Manager?
All organisations want to ensure that their brand represents them positively in the market. A brand manager must be able to adapt or change strategies when necessary and utilize a range of skills to stay competitive and relevant. Here are some of the best skills needed to become a brand manager.
1. Creativity: Brand managers often have to think ‘outside the box’ to develop creative strategies for engaging customers, gain the attention of their target audience and create a positive, lasting impression.
2. Good Analytical Skills: Internal reports must be analysed alongside market trends and customer behaviours to enable managers to optimise their online and offline results. Brand managers need to be able to monitor and track their market, know when changes are necessary and ensure these are implemented correctly.
3. Be a Great Communicator: Every brand manager needs to communicate with both customers and at management level, and therefore must be able to convey the brand effectively both verbally and in writing through a variety of marketing channels.
4. Be a team leader: If you are leading the brand management team, you may be responsible for liaising with different departments from within the organisation. Strong leadership skills will enable you to work with these teams to ensure everyone understands and wants to achieve the same branding goals.
5. Have project management skills: Brand managers must have excellent management skills as they often work on projects across numerous areas at any one time. They are responsible for creating a shared vision, ensuring that all tasks are being completed within a timeframe necessary for the successful delivery of a project.