Table of Contents
The Definition of Brand Management
In a nutshell, the term “brand management” refers to the management of brands. This includes all activities, tools and methods used to shape the brand experience – in other words, actively controlling and shaping the brand’s image. Brand management is a form of guidance. It’s about building up a brand, strategically positioning it on the market, and establishing it as an attractive brand in the long term.
Brand management can have different focal points. For example, differentiation-oriented brand management focuses on standing out from the competition and highlighting the brand’s unique selling points. Function-oriented brand management focuses on the benefits and quality of the brand. Meanwhile, reputation-oriented brand management focuses on customer perception.
Brand management is a continuous process that involves every level of a company. To achieve a consistent brand image and authentic self-portrayal, the company’s external communication of the brand and internal communication within the company should be attuned to one another.
What Is a Brand?
In marketing, a brand represents all the expectations that customers associate with a brand name. In turn, a brand name represents a company’s products and services, or the company or organization itself. The central question is what differentiates the company and its products from the competition.
Brands have visible and invisible properties. Visible properties include the logo and corporate design. However, the invisible properties are just as important. These are the emotional experiences and associations that people connect with the brand.
As the brand owner, you have a concrete idea of what makes your brand unique. How your brand identity is perceived from the outside, however, is a whole different matter. That’s where brand management comes in.
What Are the Benefits of Brand Management?
Efficient brand management offers many advantages:
- Greater reach: A strong brand image increases the prominence of your company. The more famous your brand, the more people become aware of it. This increases the number of potential customers.
- Strong customer connection: A brand strengthens the customer’s emotional connection to your company and your products.
- Loyal customer base: When your customers identify with your brand, they stay loyal and become repeat customers.
- Competitive advantage: Brand management secures a strong position on a competitive market. Set yourself apart from your competition with a unique brand.
- Good reputation: With effective brand management, you can influence what consumers think of you. A positive brand image builds a strong reputation. In turn, a strong reputation ensures that more people opt for your products and services.
- High customer satisfaction: A good reputation also increases customer satisfaction. Brands with a good reputation and higher prominence generally receive better customer ratings.
- Higher prices: When customers believe in your brand, they are prepared to pay more for your products and services.
- Increased sales: All of the above ultimately lead to increased sales.
- Higher employee motivation: For young employees, it is more important than ever to work for a company they can identify with. With a strong brand, you present yourself as an attractive and authentic employer on the job market. That way, you attract more motivated and qualified employees.
A Consistent Brand Image in Five Steps
We have now explained what a brand is and how efficient brand management can benefit your company. Consistency is very important for successful brand management. Your brand will only be credible if you communicate a harmonious image both internally and externally.
It is therefore important to always communicate your brand strategy transparently to everyone in the company, and to define brand specifications that everyone should follow. We will show you the methods and tools you can use to create a consistent brand image and make brand management easier for your company.
1. Build up our Brand
The first step is always to build up your brand, which is also known as branding. Here is how you can build up your brand in three steps:
- Define your brand: Consider what your brand represents. What differentiates you from the competition? What are your unique selling points?
- Define your corporate identity: Corporate identity refers to a company’s self-image. Determine a clear corporate identity and define what characterizes the distinct personality of your organization.
- Define your corporate design: Define the look of your brand and create recognition value. A corporate design creates a consistent image.
Once you have defined a strong brand, the next step is to clearly position your brand. This first takes place internally, and then the biggest challenge is to establish your brand on the market. When doing so, it’s important to perform a detailed analysis of the market, competition and particular characteristics of the market. A clear brand strategy helps you to solidify the position of your brand and to achieve your brand goals.
What Brand Strategies Are There?
- Single-brand strategy: With a single-brand strategy, you build a separate brand for each of your products or services for maximum appeal to the target group.
- Multi-brand strategy: A multi-brand strategy positions two or more brands on the market for the same product. This allows you to optimally exploit the market.
- Umbrella brand strategy: An umbrella brand combines different product segments under one roof. With an umbrella strategy, each segment benefits from the image of the umbrella brand.
- Family brand strategy: A family brand strategy represents a compromise between the single-brand and umbrella brand strategy. It, too, uses an overarching family brand; however, the subordinate product groups are related to each other, i.e., occupy the same market.
- Brand transfer strategy: With a brand transfer strategy, you transfer an already established brand to a new product.
2. Define your Corporate Design with a Style Guide
An important aspect of building a strong brand is corporate design. In a style guide, you define all the design guidelines for your marketing materials.
A style guide should contain the following specifications and elements:
- Company philosophy and values
- Buyer personas
- Typography and fonts
- Typography and fonts
- Templates (for business cards, emails, flyers, etc.)
As an example, let’s take a look at our customer Leonardo’s corporate design. This was fully revised in 2010 to make the brand appear more concise and up to date. The new core of the brand, which forms the basis of the corporate design, is a “passion for glass,” which is also captured by the slogan “Leonardo: Glass is our passion.”
The glass brand’s logo remains a cloud; however, the new logo looks more organic, as do the rounded corners of the new font. Thanks to the DAM software 4ALLPORTAL, in use since 2017, Leonardo is able to ensure that all images and marketing materials fit its high-quality, contemporary brand.
3. Provide Central Access to the Style Guide and all Brand-related Files
Now you have created a style guide with all the important specifications, it would be a fatal error to tuck it away in a corner of your company database and forget about it. Instead, make sure that everyone in your company has access to all the style guides and actively uses them.
You should also provide the templates for the various marketing materials, images, logo variants and all other relevant brand assets. This will make it easier when working as a team and with external service providers. You will need a good database – and a modern Digital Asset Management system.
Central Style Guide in the DAM
A Digital Asset Management (DAM) system is a comprehensive brand management tool for the central storage and management of your digital assets. There are lots of ways you can work with it. For example, you can add essential metadata to your media files to make them easier to search for. You can create project-specific collections. Or, you can edit your assets directly in the system and track changes using the version history.
The DAM system from 4ALLPORTAL visualizes all the workflows concerning your digital assets. Document licences and approval statuses, assign tasks, and keep transparent records of agreements.
4. Create Templates for Marketing Materials
As a company, you will need a wide variety of marketing materials. Whether it’s printed products like catalogs, flyers, placards and business cards, or digital products like newsletters and online banners – make sure they are in keeping with your brand image. Only then can you generate recognition value.
The best way to achieve this is by designing templates. These offer many advantages:
- You create a template for every type of marketing material only once, and in future only need to adapt individual elements. This saves a lot of time.
- Templates allow anyone to edit marketing materials, even without design skills, and reduces the design team’s workload. The team can then focus on creative projects.
- Working with pre-made templates prevents errors. The basic framework is already in place; you only need to adjust individual elements.
A DAM system helps you create and manage your templates:
- Define imagery corresponding to the respective templates and create collections with suitable images, graphics and other elements.
- Create keywords for your images to find the right design elements for every purpose.
- Document license conditions, sources and other important information about your files. This ensures they are used correctly at all times.
- Define different roles and access authorizations. This gives you full control over who can use and edit certain materials. It also ensures that the brand specifications are followed throughout the company.
- The DAM system can fill out the templates with the corresponding data entirely automatically. Now error-prone manual changes are a thing of the past.
5. Use a Brand Shop and Web-to-print Editor
If your company generates a large amount of printed products, a brand shop is worth having. This is a company-specific online shop for internal use, from which flyers, brochures, placards and other printed materials can be ordered in a few clicks.
An online editor provides access to approved templates and lets you edit them directly online. No prior design skills are necessary. The editor is intuitive and easy to use. You can simply change individual elements, or even entire data sets.
Create Marketing Materials Based on DAM Data
If you would like to create a marketing email with a product presentation, for example, you can simply insert the contact from the DAM system into the template. The system is linked, allowing the address line, title and other placeholders to be filled in automatically. Product data can also be effortlessly stored via the DAM or product information management (PIM) system: Simply select the product, and the corresponding product image, description text, and price will appear in the template.
A brand shop is particularly attractive for product manufacturers with a large network of dealers: the manufacturer provides marketing materials in the brand shop, and the dealer adapts the template as needed –by inserting their logo, for example.
All templates can be customized quickly and easily, while ensuring that the brand specifications are fulfilled. Connect the 4ALLPORTAL with our web-to-print solution and create high-quality marketing materials based on DAM data.