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Branding can easily be mistaken for just the company’s logo or their mission statement, but a brand is more than that.
Aside from history, workflow or purpose, managing a brand today means looking ahead into the future but, at the same time, staying competitive in the moment.
This is definitely no walk in the park, especially for startups or small businesses, but if you can implement the right brand management strategies, you can drive your company into a sustainable tomorrow.
First things first, you need to understand what your brand is and how branding truly works.
What makes a great brand strategy?
A great brand strategy is able to touch three key points:
- Purpose – you must have clearly defined goals and intentions.
- Consistency – ensure all elements align with those goals and intentions.
- Emotional impact – people should be able to relate with your intentions.
As you can see, all three connect with one another. That means that failing in one aspect can be detrimental to creating a cohesive and lasting brand management strategy later on.
So be sure that you’ve taken the time to sit down to consider them. If you feel that your existing plans seem to be out of place, always go back to your purpose.
Brand management principles
After you’ve set your purpose straight, you need to recognise the basics of brand management and how it has helped certain businesses stay on top. The top components include:
Brand positioning. This should answer the questions, “what benefits can target customers get out of your products or services?’ As the name suggests, this means creating space for your brand somewhere in the market that will make people remember you.
Brand architecture. If you have several products or services, this relates to how they are related to one another. It’s useful for generating transparency and synergy within your organisation.
Brand engagement. How customers will interact with your brand is going to be crucial, especially when your products or services are no longer unique (i.e. when competitors start copying them). They must feel loyal to you because of some intrinsic value that only you can provide.
Brand extension. Being ready for changes is important if you want your brand to remain relevant for years to come. This could mean venturing into new markets or creating a new line of products. But don’t experiment too much or stray too far from your original values or you might end up becoming inconsistent.
Modern-day brand management strategies
Want to know how to get with the times? Here are a couple of new brand management strategies that businesses today are taking advantage of:
Crowdsourcing or Crowdfunding. This approach requires collective cooperation from people who will pool their money and resources to help finance an idea or business, that wouldn’t have the funding for it otherwise. The Danish toy company, LEGO, created a successful crowdsourcing project when they asked fans to submit new ideas for Lego sets.
Lifestyle branding. This method calls for proper positioning of your products and services to cater to certain lifestyles. For example, Airbnb is a great example of a brand that reflects the traveler mindset. While meal kit service Blue Apron, is all about healthy, home-cooking lifestyles.
Storytelling. One of the most powerful and highly popular strategies to date, this entails using all kinds of content – text, video, images – to tell compelling stories. Brands like GoPro and Harley-Davidson are pros at this tactic, as evident on various online platforms.
Not sure how to begin with branding? Don’t worry! There are plenty of brand management courses for strategies on the web. Even if you’re already a pro in marketing, there’s something new to learn all the time. If you want to stay ahead in the game, never stop discovering new ways to make your brand better.
Always begin with the values you want to stand for and how your business can help others.
An effective brand is only as good as everything that goes into it, such as your feelings, perceptions, goals, and concepts. So make sure that you put some good, priceless stuff in there for the future.
It doesn’t matter even if you’re selling the same products or services as your competitors. Once have the right brand management strategies in place, be confident that your customers will see how unique your brand truly is.
By concentrating on what makes your company excellent, you can be sure that you won’t just be following trends. In fact, you’ll be setting them!