Learn About Brand Management

A Key to Business Success

Girl with Lemonade Stand

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Brand management is an umbrella term that describes all the facets of design, placement, marketing, advertising, and distribution that foster identifying and developing a brand personality.

Modern brand management was first developed at Procter & Gamble in the post-World War II years. Many of the same techniques used by P&G are still in place today. The idea that a dedicated team of marketers focuses on a particular brand and that one brand manager drives all the key activities that support that brand is the central idea of brand management, as it was first conceived.

A Complete Management Approach

Brands can have a powerful influence on customer engagement and the management of an enterprise. The pivotal point of brand management is trust. Without it, the brand promise is broken. Consumers generally believe they can trust a brand to meet most of the elements of the brand promise. For example, Allstate Insurance promises that you're in good hands. If an Allstate agent did not show up after a car accident, that brand promise would be broken. Once a brand is established and consumers generally express brand affinity, the brand manufacturer often can accelerate the trust stage with new-to-the-brand consumers. Certainly, social media networking functions in this way.

Brand identity—in the form of logo design, colors, shapes, and lettering—all are intended to get consumer attention and to convey a brand's personality. Naturally, associating a brand with celebrities can influence customer affinity for a brand.

Types of Brands

Some of the most familiar kinds of brands include:

A tangible product is the most common thing associated with a brand. If more than one product is included in a brand, then a unifying attribute should be present. For example, Classic Coke is a brand, but the various Coca-Cola beverages also constitute a brand.

Services, rather than products, can be a brand in which activities are conducted, such as the delivery of solutions to meet consumer needs for labor of some type. For example, a local IT consultancy that makes house calls and promises to get your desktop up and running in two hours is a brand. A service brand can be impacted negatively or positively by who provides the service, how the service is conducted, where the service is provided, and how individualized customers perceive the services provided to them. Each of these variables can add to service differentiation in the minds of consumers.

People can have their own brands based on personality, charisma, position, fame, and influence. This is where the term brand ambassador comes from. For example, the Emily Post Institute has brand ambassadors that visit businesses to share their perspective on business etiquette. As media has burgeoned, the idea that a person can be a brand has emerged. In the common vernacular, the brand is substituted for the image, but they are not synonymous. A person's image is not necessarily marketable in the true sense of the word. A politician is a good example of an individual brand in that the brand must project attractively to the politician's constituents, and negative spin must be curtailed.

Enterprises or organizations that deliver services or provide products are brands. The qualities that people associate with a company constitute the building blocks of a brand. Brand perceptions are dependent upon consumer experience, which is vulnerable to the intentions that are revealed, whether purposefully or not, by the employees at all levels of the organization.

One example is Virgin Airlines and its CEO Richard Branson. The airline positioned itself as being low-cost but offering stellar customer service, and it has delivered on both fronts. And, CEO Branson is so famous, he is recognized as having its own distinctive individual brand.

Event brands are associated with a customer experience that is derived largely from attending an event or from a strong connection to the purpose of an event. Whether large or small, event brands are inevitably tied to the fun or social cause that is the basis for the event. The Olympic Games is one of the most prominent event brands and is the epitome of brand loyalty with each nation cheering on its homeland athletes.