You come across several brands every day. Now, think about all the possible events in your day where you come across brands. These Brand Management Practices, what you are thinking currently, are what companies call the ‘touchpoints.’
Brands carefully embed every encounter of yours with the brand to take you through a journey with their brand and get you connected to them. Surprising right?
Get ready to be amazed by the beautiful Brand Management practices of companies that are a part of your everyday life. Gain insights about what Brand Identity and Brand Image is, how companies define and deliver their brand purpose.
By the end of this blog you will get a birds eye view of what is Brand Portfolio Management and Brand Engagement.
What is Brand Management?
Brand Management is defined as a series of techniques used to increase the perceived value of a product or service. Effective brand management helps build loyal customers through positive brand association and has a positive effect on the overall customer experience.
Brand Management involves analyzing how a brand is currently being perceived in the market and planning how it should be perceived to achieve its objectives.
It also involves keeping track of the brand and if the brand is meeting its goals.
Developing a good relationship with potential customers is the essential element in managing a brand.
Tangible elements of brand management include the product, its look, price, and packaging, and other similar elements.
The intangible elements include the experiences that the potential customers share with the brand and their relationships with the brand.
Companies have started focusing on Brand Management as it is helping companies in:
- Growing sales through increased customer advocacy
- Improving Brand awareness
- Producing lifelong customer loyalty
- Increasing Brand Equity
- Protecting the brand’s reputation
- Controlling their recognition
Brand Identity & Brand Image
Brand Identity, simply put, is how the company portrays itself to the customers. It is how the brand wants the customer to perceive it, whereas the brand image is how the customers perceive the brand.
Companies have less control over the brand image, and they always strive to align the brand image with their desired brand identity.
Brand identity is collecting all the initiatives that a company takes to portray the right image to its consumers. It helps in making a company instantly recognizable to its customers.
Customers associate a company’s brand identity with their product or service. Brand identity builds the connection between the company and its customers, creates customer loyalty, and determines how customers perceive the brand.
Brand Image is the customers’ perception of the brand based on their interactions and experience with the brand. A customer’s beliefs of the brand are often a significant element of a company’s Brand Image.
Building a strong brand image helps companies in fulfilling the motives and objectives of their business.
A strong brand image delivers the following benefits to the companies:
- It helps companies introduce new products within a brand name quickly.
- Will help in acquiring new customers as a strong brand image attracts new customers towards the product or service, leading to additional profits.
- It helps in developing a stronger business-customer relationship.
- It helps in improving the trust level of existing customers and helps in customer retention.
Here are a few examples of Brand Image and Brand Identity:
Colgate has created its image as the product that defines belief and trust. This brand image helped Colgate in becoming very popular among every household.
This brand has identified itself as a product that is used at the time of happiness, joy, and good experience with a unique taste.
Apple products have identified themselves as luxury products that are rich in innovation.
McDonald’s has identified itself as the destination for the best and affordable burgers, which are served very quickly.
The process that goes into building these brand images involves several brand management initiatives.
A brand purpose, explained simply, is a brand’s reason for existing beyond making money.
Brand purpose is about product-led initiatives that strive to achieve business and benefit society simultaneously.
Companies focus majorly on Brand Purpose as:
- It adds value not just to the lives of their customers but to society as a whole.
- Having a brand purpose helps them build a more emotional relationship between them and their consumers, which in turn, helps them boost sales and improve customer loyalty.
- A unique brand purpose will help them in differentiating themselves from their customers.
Companies often communicate their brand purpose through slogans which will help them in positioning themselves.
Having a vital brand purpose is the major contributor to brand differentiation. The differentiation is essential as that is what customers look at, and if they find relevant brand differentiation, their willingness to pay increases.
Brand Purpose Development
Brand Purpose is something that should be focussed on since the inception of the concept of brand, only then a strong Brand Purpose can be formulated
The Purpose is usually developed in the following steps.
Brands start by distinguishing the purpose of their brand from Corporate Social Responsibility. Brand purpose is about how the brand is adding value to society by its products or services.
Brands then move to getting a clear reason for their being. This ideology must be there from the beginning.
Long Term Goals
Brands then think long term and figure out what the brand can offer to the customers and how it will benefit them rather than think about what they will get from the customers.
A few examples of Brand Purpose conveyed through Brand Management Practices are:
Crayola’s brand purpose is to “Encourage children to be creative and enable parents to inspire them,” and their products are crayons.
Their purpose is “Discovering the value of ‘real beauty and improving self-esteem worldwide,” and Dove has achieved this through their wide range of products along with various movements which encouraged women to embrace their natural bodies.
- The Body Shop
The Body Shop’s purpose is to “Promote environmental sustainability, enrich biodiversity, and support raising awareness of abusive conditions including domestic abuse”. All their products are inspired by nature and ethically made.
The purpose is the correlation between the need in society, the internal strength of the company, and the company’s interests.
Brand Portfolio Management
Brand Portfolio is the set of all brands in a company. It is a very important element of Brand Management Practices. Brand portfolio management is the approach of managing more than one brand in a company.
Brand portfolio management is the act of managing the brands of a single company as a group. The main goal of Brand Portfolio Management is to receive something more by managing the brands as a whole, rather than managing all the brands singly.
Brand portfolio management needs centralized steering, depending on its size, and companies, when managing their brands look for common objectives, brand associations, and identities.
Companies broadly follow two types of brand portfolio models which are mentioned below.
The House of Brands model
This model refers to a portfolio in which brands have different names across the company’s categories. This model is usually used by consumer goods companies.
The main advantage of this model is that since the brands are independent, the failure of any single one of them has a minimal impact on the others.
The Branded Property model
This model uses one brand across all the company’s categories. Virgin company is a perfect example of this, with its airline services, their media, and train companies all being identified similarly.
The advantage of this model is that a good image of one will benefit all other domains of the company. It’s major drawback is that negative publicity or events will also directly impact all brands within the portfolio and affect their business.
Companies usually follow two rules while creating a portfolio which are
- Maximize market coverage so that no potential customers are being ignored
- Minimize the overlap between the company’s brands, so they are not competing with each other directly and trying to attract the same customers.
BCG matrix is the most widely used matrix to segregate brands in a portfolio and analyze the actions to be taken further.
Must Read: Employment Opportunities in Branding
Brand Engagement: Brand Management Practices
Brand Engagement is a very important element of Brand Management practices. It is when a customer interacts in any form or way with a brand or product. It is all about encouraging clients to interact via different communication channels and share their experiences which the brand creates for them.
Brand engagement signifies an emotional connection to a brand. Many people confuse it with brand awareness, but it is more than that, it is brand loyalty.
Brand engagement is essential inside and outside of a company. Building the brand internally and obtaining employee engagement with the brand helps companies further solidify and build the brand. This is the starting step in improving the brand for consumers.
Social media interactions, newsletter subscriptions, user-generated content, purchases, loyalty programs, website and shop visits, and recommendations are examples of brand engagement.
Creating effective customer engagement requires companies to follow a systematic approach. The most followed approach by companies is
- Defining the customer journey map
Companies understand who their customers are and where they come from. They then design their first interaction with the brand carefully
- Identifying points of interaction
Companies study how their customers interact with the brand and accordingly develop the customer engagement platforms.
- Observing customer’s behavior in real-time
Companies then analyze and understand customers better to fulfill their requirements.
- Offering personalized service
Brands address current customer demands and offer them services depending on their requirements. An excellent example of this is showrooms giving out extra discounts to people during their birthday month.
- Observing how many of the engaged users bounced off without acting
Bounce rate talks a lot about the health of a company’s customer service and the experience customer engagement platforms offer. Companies focus on their bounce rates and are constantly working towards decreasing the bounce rate.
- Taking feedback
Companies conduct regular surveys to help them understand customers’ expectations. The most common practice followed is sending a short inquiry to churned customers and finding out what went wrong
The common methods followed by companies to improve their Brand Engagement are
- Emphasizing their customer reviews.
- Asking questions about their brand and services and letting the customers speak
- Well established companies usually follow the Four-I Strategy, which is
- Involvement: Brands achieve involvement by making their customers part of their campaign. Companies usually announce different perks and rewards programs to give customers a connection to the brand.
- Influence: In the current social media age, people look for recommendations from celebrities and influencers they admire and seek to replicate. Companies influence their potential customers by working with the figures they most admire.
- Interaction: Brands interact with customers that helps companies in building trust between customers and the brand.
- Intimacy: Brands maintain close contact with customers and they outreach to customers at touchpoints through several channels. This way, companies get to know what customers think, which helps them respond to their specific needs.
Conclusion: Brand Management Practises
Companies require several resources to manage their brands the right way. Brands live in people’s minds, and companies believe their business is proportional to the number of minds the brand has occupied.
Managing a brand is done very tactically in such a way that the customers do not even realize that the brand is entering their brains. Every branding activity will influence the purchasing funnel and, ultimately, the purchase made by customers.
As customers, it is essential to keep an eye out for how brands manipulate your purchase decisions and make sure that every purchase you make is an informed one.