What a “brand management strategy” means can differ depending on your business. Even Wikipedia’s description focuses predominantly on the ‘tangible elements of brand management’ such as ‘the product itself; its look, price, and packaging, etc.’ This definition is fine, except for one thing: your brand isn’t just your product, the colors you choose, or your logo. It’s bigger than that. It is your identity.
Instead of trying to identify your brand by flipping through your style guide, ask better questions: Who are you? What do you want to accomplish? And what is your purpose?
Managing your brand is about your company’s long-term goals, its personality, and that intangible feeling that your customers get when they see your logo. Your brand is the whole nebulous package that is your company.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at this point, the good news is that these are all concrete, actionable goals that can result in real, measurable results. And it is never too late to start working on your brand management strategy, even if you aren’t sure whether you already have one. Even better, you don’t necessarily have to dedicate a huge portion of your budget towards growing your brand. Instead, we’ll focus on strategies to increase the value of your brand in sustainable ways.
Determine Your Company’s North Star
Constructing positive brand recognition with your target audience first requires that your brand stand out from the rest. Start by considering your purpose. Every company’s function is to make money, but what intrinsically makes you special within your local or global community? How do you seek to improve the lives of your customers? What is the single guiding idea that your entire organization can agree on? Finding your North Star will make the rest of this creative struggle easier.
Use your North Star to develop a slogan and your written purpose. Put this on everything from your website to your swag as a reminder and a promise of what your company will accomplish.
If you’re having difficulty identifying what is uniquely you, gather inspiration from companies that you admire. Success isn’t a goal; it is a path that others have walked before you and your statement of purpose is your road map.
Write Out Your Brand Promise
Your brand promise remains credible only by constant repetition. Fracturing that trust can have major implications, as United Airlines found out after forcibly ejecting a passenger from an overbooked flight in 2017. Outrage at the incident manifested in a $1 billion loss in the company’s market value. And that broken trust had even longer-term ramifications, as United remains one of the lower-ranked domestic airlines despite attempts to improve their image with the public. This is an extreme example of a company’s actions violating its brand promise.
Although it can be difficult, a damaged reputation can usually be repaired. Staying consistently on-message and not making promises that you can’t keep may seem obvious, but as we all know, sometimes a company can get carried away.
Before acting, try asking yourself the following:
- What does this do for my brand image? Does it enhance it?’
- Is this cohesive with my brand message?
- Does this reinforce or detract from my brand recognition?
If the answer is a negative, then you may want to consider a different course of action.
Company Culture is Branding
Having a catchy slogan doesn’t instantly create a brand saturated atmosphere, but you can develop that sense of uniqueness within your company. Just like your company couldn’t exist without your clients, you couldn’t keep those clients without the support of your employees. You rely on your employees to provide a customer experience that is in line with your brand, whether that is youthful and upbeat, or classy and professional. That process starts with educating employees about their company’s brand and the best ways to represent it. Companies like Starbucks and Zappos are both major players that rely heavily on intensive and thorough employee training seminars to create a cultured and uniform experience that represents their particular brand. In fact, Zappos’ brand management strategy has been so successful that they even offer
Keep Your Friends Close…
What all of this has in common; your uniqueness, the balance between cohesion and flexibility, and your internal culture code, is your audience. Instead of focusing entirely on generating more leads to expand your body of customers, you should also look for ways to excite your existing clientele. Want a winning strategy? These days, word of mouth is a major way to build name recognition and develop positivity around your brand. So make them happy enough to patronize you again in the future and recommend you to friends or family. Going the extra mile with rewards programs and loyalty incentives elevates a regular customer to a valued client. After all, with a
Your target audience knows that your brand is superior. Now that you have their attention, keep it by monitoring your competition to see what their next moves are. They are a great source of motivation and allow you to test the effectiveness of your strategy. If they put out an ad campaign for 20% off, advertise your own for 30%. If they put a new blog post on their website, write a better one. If they falter, turn it to your advantage. Lead by example and let your brand shine.
Make the most of your brand and regularly revisit your strategy to find areas to modernize and improve upon. Stay consistent, fresh, and human!
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