Strategic brand management is a skill set that goes beyond knowing your business. It’s about everything from SEO to paid advertising and content strategy.
In other words, it’s about how your present and future customers see you and what their impression is of what you stand for. In the following article, we provide our nine best tips for creating a winning brand strategy. Let’s begin!
1. Create a Vision
One of the first things that falsely come to mind when answering the question of what is brand management is the logo. Rather, it’s this idea that branding is your logo and that’s it.
No. Where it begins is with the vision of your company or organization.
Vision is that one specific thing or idea that every person within the organization is working toward achieving for the people they serve. One of the most poignant and powerful visions is the Alzheimer’s Association’s vision of “A world without Alzheimer’s and all other dementia.”
2. Encourage Input
Branding is something that must appeal to a large group of people. Therefore, it requires many ideas and much input from a variety of sources to achieve. The most logical contributors are your very own people.
Ask your employees what they like about your brand. Solicit their ideas on everything from logos to color schemes to vision statements and marketing collateral. The more open you are to them, the more buy-in you will have with the execution of your branding strategy.
3. Be Consistent Internally and Externally
One thing any brand marketing manager worth her reputation will tell you is that branding requires consistency. That consistency must apply not only to the way that you physically present your company to the public but also to the values that you espouse when no one is looking.
By “when no one is looking,” we mean the messaging that you are sharing with your employees. To get buy-in from them, you have to practice what you preach. A police department committed to community policing, for example, will get a lot more buy-in from its officers if they see their Chief of Police out on the street positively presenting the department to everyone he meets.
Once workers see what you’re about, they will emulate it. That gives you the buy-in that you need to execute branding initiatives on the public-facing side of things.
4. Look for Product Launch Opportunities Everywhere
A successful branding strategy needs to take advantage of as many marketing opportunities as it can to spread the logo, the message, and the vision. That means being open to partnerships of all sizes and across many different sectors.
As another example, you have a community bank that sponsors a film festival, a skateboard park, and a podcast with a small audience. Each of these things varies in size and brings in many different players, from bigshots to individual hobbyists.
The size isn’t the point, though. If the bank’s desire is to be known as a community bank, it will spread its efforts far and wide to prove that to the people who live there.
Learn from this. Look for people and companies you can partner with to spread and grow awareness for what you’re about.
5. Analyze Results of Existing Launches
By now, you have a pretty clear sense that any brand management definition must go well beyond what your logo looks like and how often you can get it out there. Now it’s time to take a step back and see where these efforts are leading you.
Assessing your efforts, even when you’re still in the middle of them, is great for your overall strategy. It allows you to see what’s working and what isn’t.
It opens your eyes to weaknesses in your game. But it also might surprise you to new opportunities that you hadn’t previously foreseen.
6. See That Your Brand Stays Relevant
Some brands are resilient enough to survive from decade to decade and political climate to climate. We’d be willing to bet the ones that are hanging in there have changed with the times.
You really don’t have to look far. Netflix started as a DVD-by-mail company before it basically killed its original business model through Internet streaming.
Nike was another that took a huge political risk on Colin Kapaernick’s progressive politics. At first, the blowback from mostly conservative football fans stung. Ultimately, the “Just Do It” company survived and even thrived by finding a new generation of support.
7. Remove Barriers Between Branding and Customer Experience
Real-time feedback is important for being able to tweak your brand and seize opportunities. That’s why another important strategy is to keep your marketing teams close to your customer service teams. Having zero barriers between the two enables the people in charge of your branding strategy to make informed decisions on future efforts.
8. Announce Any Branding Changes Ahead of Time
Aunt Jemima was another brand that realized it would have to change with the times. It did so successfully by announcing the name change in advance and preparing the public.
Today, Pearl Milling Company continues to enjoy strong sales, in part, because they didn’t change overnight. Also, the acknowledgment of its outdated brand and the need to change won favor with younger generations.
9. Play to Your Strengths But Seek Help When Needed
You might think no one knows your business better than you, and you’re probably right when it comes to you versus an outside brand manager. But knowing the business isn’t what this is about. It’s about how to best present the business to individuals who don’t know it.
If you’re searching for “what is a brand manager” after you’ve already launched, the chances are strong you’ve run into some roadblocks. These roadblocks could have been avoided with a fuller understanding of brand management from the outset.
Fortunately, it’s not too late. One good thing about seeking outside help from a professional management company is that they’re trained in every facet of brand strategy from launch to redirection.
Strategic Brand Management Is Essential in Our New Media Landscape
Using strategic brand management to approach every interaction you have with the public will get you halfway there. But you also need to win buy-in from your employees and inner circle. Without that, you’ll struggle to make it the rest of the way.
Maverick Media has been helping companies with successful brand launches and relaunches for years, and we’re ready to help you in any way that we can. Contact us today for a quick chat about what we can do for you!