What Is Brand Management?
Brand management in marketing refers to the activities determining how the brand and its products are perceived in the market. In addition, it creates a sense of trust and customer loyalty. It also helps the company boost profits, build confidence in the market, and have a competitive edge.
Managing a brand is one of the most significant operations related to a business, especially for luxury items, since the perceived value makes the customer buy more. It involves tangible and intangible aspects that enhance the brand’s reputation and value. Important elements include the price, packaging, availability, functionality, customer relations, loyalty programs, etc.
Table of contents
- Brand management can be referred to as influencing the brand image through various tangible and intangible elements.
- An important marketing function gives the company a certain degree of control to manage the brand’s perception in the market, especially with the target audience.
- Strategic brand management employs various approaches to enhance brand value. It has many benefits, like increased profits and market share, customer loyalty, and better reception of products in the market.
Brand Management Explained
Brand management in marketing is closely related to managing the goodwill a business and its products enjoy. Some brands have a solid customer base mainly due to their name and value. These brands manage their image effectively through various strategies.
For example, consider the case of Coca-Cola. Though an American company, it has a loyal customer base worldwide. Suppose a local beverage manufacturer in Australia, say XYZ, launches a similar carbonated drink at a lower price; it might not be able to take over the share of Coca-Cola in the Australian market. This is because of the latter’s brand value in Australia.
However, suppose the new brand, XYZ, follows a strategic brand management process and positions the product scientifically and tactically. In that case, it might be able to take away some of Coca-Cola’s market share.
Managing a brand has a significant role in business. Especially for a luxury brand, it can be a game-changer. This is why many luxury brands invest heavily in brand management. Nevertheless, it is often assumed that luxury brands focus on intangible elements. However, this is not true in most cases.
For instance, consider the example of vehicle manufacturer Volvo. It sells cars, trucks, buses, and even heavy equipment. In addition, it houses other prominent brands like Eicher, and Renault Trucks, among others. Volvo is one of the oldest automobile brands and has a high brand value. Therefore, to say that Volvo vehicles are overrated would be an understatement.
Volvo does focus on intangible elements. But it doesn’t lose focus on tangible elements either. It has one of the most coveted technologies in the world. It has groundbreaking features, safety, and reliability. These features are what make it worth the money. Of course, this goes for many other luxury brands, like Levi’s, Yves Rocher, Mercedes-Benz, Apple, etc.
A strategic brand management process includes:
- Offering the best quality.
- Being responsive to the customers and market.
- Implementing public relations programs to bring together the customers as a community.
- Increasing brand awareness.
- Managing brand equity.
- Maintaining the brand reputation.
Brand management strategies can be considered an extension of branding strategies, as the initial impression usually determines the brand’s perception. However, some brands employ new strategies and have a make-over to change how the market views the brand. Now, let’s discuss some common strategies to manage a brand.
- Individual branding – In this strategy, large corporations house different brands with individual identities rather than the parent brand’s identity. Sometimes, the corporation sells two or more products in the same line, which are often considered market competitors. For example, Proctor & Gamble sells both Pantene and Head & Shoulders in the hair care line. This can reduce the risk involved and the loss of market to another brand.
- Multi-product branding – This strategy focuses on the parent brand rather than the product itself. This can be especially advantageous if the parent brand has a loyal customer base and is considered the market leader. Apple is an appropriate example of this type of branding.
- Sub-branding – This is a type of branding in which an often well-established company introduces a sub-brand to cater to a niche market and increase sales. For instance, Coca-Cola has sub-brands like Coca-Cola Zero, Diet Coke, etc.
- Co-branding – In this branding approach, two brands venture together and cater to a market. This can be beneficial if both brands are market leaders or enjoy a high reputation. Recently, OnePlus confirmed its new partnership with Google to manufacture foldable phones.
- Iconic or attitude branding – Often considered a complex type of branding, it involves creating and communicating an idea that often relates to the brand. This type of branding is mostly intangible and creates a perception beyond the product. Apt examples include ‘Uber-brands’ like Apple, Chanel, Porsche, etc.
Let’s discuss some examples of strategic brand management.
First, let’s consider a hypothetical example of a company’s PQR. The company sells skin care products and openly advocates against using beauty products and cosmetics. The brand started as a propagator of natural beauty and offered only natural skin care products free of chemicals.
The company also pushes the idea of keeping it real and doesn’t promote immediate results. It also brings together customers and prospects to provide a platform for open communication. Further, it uses AI to understand the skin care requirements of customers and recommends the appropriate products for them.
This article published in Forbes discusses how and why brand management is often overlooked in marketing. Managing a brand has huge benefits, and despite this, most companies, especially small businesses, lose their focus on this. One reason could be the lack of resources for small firms since managing a brand can be an expensive function. The second reason can be the lack of metrics to track the performance of branding activities.
Top companies with a high brand reputation can easily sell their products solely because of their names. However, their strategies are vastly different and turn customers into their brand ambassadors. And above everything, the return on investment of maintaining a brand effectively, which can take at least 12 to 18 months, can be priceless for a business.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Brand management is extremely significant for a business due to the benefits it can offer. It can help increase business profits, maintain a loyal customer base, have a competitive advantage, launch new products easily, and have better ROI. It can make or break a business.
Yes. Brand management is a major marketing function. Since it communicates with customers and target audiences and positions the brand in the market, it can be aligned with other marketing functions.
Building a brand name and value takes years of presence and effective customer satisfaction. However, it is better to control a brand’s perception in the market right from the beginning. First, the company should position the brand in such a way that it is perceived as required. For instance, consider the example of OnePlus, which was initially positioned as Apple’s competitor. Later, brands should focus on adding to their reputation by constantly delivering the promised value and ensuring customer satisfaction and loyalty.
This article has been a guide to What is Brand Management. Here, we explain strategies for brand management along with examples. You can also go through our recommended articles on corporate finance –