A brand is the identity of a business in the public imagination. Brand managers are employed to conduct market research, analyze the branding needs of a company, develop plans for improvement and manage the realization of those plans. They are essential members of modern marketing departments and can have a major impact on the success (or failure) of a business when it comes to capturing its target audience. Brand managers can work within a company or as third-party consultants or agents. The brand management field is heavily meritorious – the only thing that builds reputation is success.
Brand management is not a simple or straightforward task, but it can be simplified somewhat if brand managers follow these fundamental tips.
Embrace Project Management Fundamentals
Brand managers also happen to be project managers. As such, they need to embrace the essential aspects of sound project management. They need to have complete oversight of their workforce, communicate clearly, develop reports, assign budgets correctly and much more. Brand managers make use of many of the same software tools that project managers do in order to simplify the immensely complex network of tasks they must complete.
Don’t Ignore Internal Branding
Brand management is not just about the creation and maintenance of an image for external consumption.Internal branding is extremely important. Conveying the identity, aims, and ethos of an organization to the people working within it enables them to work in a motivated and informed way. The more a workforce ‘gets’ the company they work for, the more likely they are to engage proactively in their tasks.
Unfortunately, internal branding and marketing are often ignored within companies, leading to an uninformed and dispassionate workforce that can’t quite put a finger on why they do the things they do. A sense of disconnect between a person and their job will only deteriorate their motivation to complete it with any quality in mind.
Market Research Is Key
Strong market research is key to the development of an effective brand management plan. Unless you understand the needs and wants of your target audience, you’ll never know how to craft a brand that appeals directly to them. Brand managers should be keen researchers, willing to work in collaboration with data analysts and in-person market researchers to develop conclusions.
Molding and managing a brand without backing up your decisions with research data is, generally speaking, a very poor idea. Besides the likelihood that your conclusions will be unfounded, there is also the possibility that staff members will feel like your conclusions – and therefore your instructions – are unjustified.
Try And Understand The Customer Experience Deeply
Brand managers need to go deep: conducting the kind of market research that seeks to understand the individual motivations behind consumer reactions. Many top brand managers have turned to the ever-evolving field of consumer psychology in order to try and get a better understanding of the causes of human reactions to branding choices. Consumer psychology has, in the past, been rather controversial.
Write A Style Guide
Style guides are used to clearly define and illustrate the aesthetic approach that designers should take when producing content for a brand. These guides are instrumental in the creation of a unified brand identity and have been used for many years by brand managers working in collaboration with creative staff.
Take a look at some of these style guides published for major companies to get an idea of the kind of material they contain and how it is typically presented. The best style guides are clear enough in their aim that designers can take examples and use them to create completely new content that fits in with the brand identity prescribed by brand managers.
Clearly Define Objectives And Performance Indicators
No brand manager can single-handedly save the fortunes of a company. Brand managers are very susceptible to the phenomenon of ‘mission creep’. Mission creep occurs when the needs of an organization become more complex as a task is completed – leading to some people feeling the need to take on far more tasks than they originally intended to be responsible for. A good example of mission creep in global politics is the Iraq war.
Brand managers should remember that they cannot be everything to everyone. Instead, they should clearly brief the people that they work for about the parameters of their work. Working within parameters without the fear of mission creep will enable a brand manager to focus on the tasks that they are actually employed to complete.