Your brand is what differentiates you from the competition. You want to stand out, and your branding is your tool that allows you to be unique. Your brand identity should be a key strength of your business, however to make the most of it, you need to actively work on it and keep your message and identity clear and consistent.
What is brand management?
The term gets thrown around a lot so let’s be clear on what it means. Brand management is an ongoing and active process. It is the steps you take to maintain a clear and consistent message about your brand. It should support and build positive associations between your brand and your customers. All businesses should be doing it.
Why is brand management important?
When you have a clear brand that is well-managed, it gives your company a cohesive identity. This has positive effects on the whole company. Your marketing team has a clear message to follow making it easier to communicate about your products and services. The sales team know who to target. Customers, old and new, know what to expect and begin to feel a sense of loyalty to your brand. When hiring new team members, they know what the culture of your business is based on.
The brand management process
To manage your brand, there are a few things that you need to embed throughout your company. These will give you the base on which your brand is built.
If you want to stand out from the crowd, you need to know who you are. This comes from your leadership team. Your whole leadership team should be able to agree on who you are as an organisation. You should know who your competition is and how you are different from them. Most importantly you should have a clear brand story to tell. A genuine brand story is the best way to share your brand identity.
You want the outside world to think positively about your brand. This means that every interaction your company has with customers or other businesses or service providers needs to leave a positive impact. The best way to influence perceptions about your brand is to do what you say you are going to, be customer-focused and act like your mother is watching. If you treat your customers well, then that is the message that will spread.
There is no point in deciding what you want your company to be if that vision isn’t shared by your employees. They are the ones who will be building your brand image and identity. So, not only do they need to understand the brand identity, but they also need to agree with it and in some degree embody it. This means you need to have your brand identity woven into the culture of the company. You should keep it in mind when hiring, and promoting staff.
Monitor your success
Check in with your customers every now and then. Ask them what they think about your brand. If your message isn’t getting out, then you might need to make some changes. But the only way to know this is by asking your customers.
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