In addition to products and services, every company has a brand. This brand gives specific information about the company, products or services in such a way as to help consumers differentiate that brand from others. A brand is really the emotional and functional associations a consumer makes with a company, allowing them to decide what the company represents. It is a promise about the quality and performance of the company’s products, and it normally shapes the consumer’s expectations as regards the products. Some individuals could even argue that when it comes to promoting to consumers and creating conversions, brands are far more important than products and services.
Sellers recognize brands as a basis for establishing competitive advantage and a sign of quality for satisfied customers. Consumers recognize brands as symbolic devices that denote quality and source of a product. A strong brand is associated with a lower risk and trustworthiness that makes the consumer feel comfortable in doing business with that company. This means that good brand management can actually simplify a consumer’s purchase decision, as consumers discover which brands satisfy their needs and remain committed and loyal to those brands as long as they continue to meet their expectations.
Brand management is essentially a form of marketing. A brand manager will use various techniques in order to increase the perceived value of a brand over a period of time. When effective, brand management builds a wealth of consumers who remain loyal even as product and service prices go up. This requires that the brand manager understands the brand, its target market, and the company’s overall vision so that he can develop a strategic plan in order to maintain and even gain more value for the brand.
Any brand has both tangible and intangible properties that must be effectively managed. Some of the tangible properties of a brand include its products, price, packaging, logo, associated colors, and lettering format. These are the things consumers will see or hear that will cause them to think of the brand. Some of the intangible properties of a brand include the promise, personality, positioning, and emotion that is associated with the brand. Brands can cover multiple products or services, and even a single brand name can cover multiple brands under it. An example is a brand of cars, which has many different models under their brand, or a parent company with many brands under it.
A brand manager will take into account the intangible properties of a brand in order to analyze how it is being perceived in the market. This means determining consumer experience with the brand and their emotional connection to the brand’s products or services. The consumer perception of the brand is incredibly important to brand management because it builds brand equity. Brand equity drives consumers to pay more for a brand than a competitor or generic products and services, so is incredibly valuable to the company behind it.
Brand management creates a brand and establishes the products and services that fit under that brand. It bears in mind the target market whenever new products or services are conceived of in order to ensure that they will fit well with the company’s brand. It can even include analyzing other companies in order to determine whether it would be profitable to merge with or acquire these companies. Once a brand has been established, brand management must maintain it through actions that increase brand awareness, measure and improve brand equity, support a consistent brand message that speaks to consumers in the target market, identify and accommodate new products or services, position the brand effectively in the market and much more.
Success or failure in brand management is determined by whether new, innovative ways to maintain the quality of a brand are conceived of so that the brand can not only retain its current loyal consumers but also acquire new ones. This obviously requires that a brand pays very close attention to what target consumers need and want so that they are able to cater to and fill these needs and wants. Brand management fails when consumers are just as comfortable and happy purchasing products or services from a competitor or with generic labels because it means that the brand has failed to impress itself upon the consumer as valuable and trustworthy.
The Benefits of Successful Brand Management
Consider strong brands like Coca-Cola, Microsoft, Disney, Nike, Ford, and others and it’s easy to understand the power of proper brand management. What is not as easily visible is the fact that not only does it take years to establish strong brands, it takes continued hard work to maintain them through innovative and creative management strategies. The benefit of doing so lies in the fact that consumers grow intimately familiar with strong brands, recognizing their products over their competitors’ products, and establishing loyalty toward the brand.
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