To several people, identifying brand management and marketing as two separate units tend to be somewhat confusing. Some even consider both as one and the same, often using their functions interchangeably. Although they are both quite key to the development of a brand, they perform unique and different functions. While brand management is concerned with creating and sustaining the identity and image of an establishment or the brand itself, marketing leans specifically towards promoting the reach of the brand to the audience and potential customers. Both units in their rights cannot be prioritized over the other; so, failing at either of the two puts business in jeopardy and a company comes plummeting.
What is a brand, and how do you identify one?
A brand can be considered as the personality that customers first perceive about a company. It consists of all the features which distinguish the products and services of one company from another. These features include name, design, style, voice, trademark, customer touchpoints, etc. To put simply then, a brand is the sum total of every one of these features, all of which function collectively to give a company its unique qualities.
The overall memorable impression a business leaves on the audience is what makes up a brand. It’s what they think about a brand’s customer service delivery; what they think of the brand’s products; how they feel about the kind of content the brand puts up on social media, and many more. All of these impressions are added together to form what is called a brand. As such, when the management of a brand is handled the right way, there’s strong potential for:
- Success of business amidst other competitors
- Increase in demand for product or service
- Customer loyalty and trust
The Purpose and Importance of Brand Management
Brand management involves an array of activities, the purpose of which is to promote brand identity and image. Its purpose is to create a lasting impression on customers and allow them to know what to expect from a company. That way, the company has distinct attributes that separate it from competitors.
With brand management, you ensure that the texture of the product, service, content, communication, stylistic features, and more are in tune with the goal of your company. It requires having a clear and comprehensive understanding of the brand, its target audience, and the company’s overall vision.
A brand manager needs to be aware of the capacity the brand has in influencing customer engagement. It’s how the manager acts (and by extension the initial plan he or she designs) that determine the audience’s level of reaction and feedback. So, once the brand has been established, it is the duty of the brand manager to continuously maintain and promote the image of the brand.
Examples of Brand Management
Even in recent times, when people hear the Nokia tune that plays when a mobile device is switched on, and when they see two hands shaking each other, they are quick to identify the device as a Nokia product.
Similarly, Apple mobile devices are easily identified with the apple logo engraved on the body of the phone. Also, Siri is a unique feature of Apple digital devices as it is built into macOS, iOS, watchOS, and tvOS. It’s then easy to identify that a device is an Apple product immediately you hear the voice of Siri.
Where Does Marketing Come into Play?
Where brand management is viewed as the blueprint used in establishing a business, the concern of marketing is to put plans into action. The blueprint of a brand includes the brand guidelines which are the comprehensive outline that details the steps on how to utilize brand elements in achieving cohesion across the brand. The function of marketing then is to see that the plans contained in brand guidelines are broadly and innovatively executed.
So, marketing begins when the functions of brand management start to inch towards increasing brand awareness, assessing and managing brand equity, and considering the strong position of the brand in the market. Marketing then becomes the process of creating and growing the relationship between a brand and customers. Instead of highlighting products or services, marketing goes further into promoting the wholeness of the brand, using products and services as evidence of the brand’s promises.
In driving the market of a brand, companies use channels that support product marketing activities, such as digital, social, and paid search advertising. Combining these different mediums together creates a media mix that helps the company reach a large audience. Brand marketers, however, need first to be mindful of three keys in brand marketing:
The Difference Between Branding and Marketing.
A company’s brand is its personality; marketing helps to push forward this personality to the audience and customers. Take out time to make research or do measurements. The brand strategy of a company needs to be premised around informed research which spells out the opportunities, competitions, challenges that exist within the market landscape, and how they can be leveraged or tackled.
So, it is important that companies include sufficient metrics as a basis for brand measurements in order to monitor and assess the short-term and long-term successes of a brand. Specifically, it becomes the duty of the brand manager to analyze how a brand is perceived in the market. The brand manager seeks to find out how strong the brand equity of the company is.
Brand equity is the value attached to a brand or the level of the customer’s perception of the brand. When a company has strong brand equity, it means customers are willing to pay for its product even when there is an increase in price. Show brand attributes (rather than tell) Brand attributes are the sum total of unique personality traits that a brand possesses. They are those qualities that consumers see as components of a brand, and they are what determine customer loyalty. Gaining customer loyalty or getting customers to trust the brand requires a company to show rather than tell or describe. Companies should show their attributes through the quality of their products and services.
Brand Management and Marketing
The relationship between marketing and brand management, although a little complex, is quite distinct. While brand management has to do with shaping the structure of a brand and making it appealing, marketing is concerned with selling the actual content (products and services) of the brand to customers. However, rather than allow both units to perform separate functions, a company needs to use both simultaneously. Brand management contributes vitally to the growth and sustenance of a brand; hence, it is crucial to integrate it into marketing activities. This blend of the two units helps a company’s marketing team to produce stronger campaigns, and also allows the company as a whole to grow the brand’s image.