What is Brand Management, Branding

Brand Management

Brand management is related to defining, positioning, and delivering the brand. Branding is related to increasing loyalty to a specific good or service. Brand management includes managing the tangible and intangible characteristics of a brand. The tangibles include the product itself, price, packaging, and customer / user experience. The intangibles include emotional connections with the product / service. It is all about capturing a niche market for your product / service and about creating confidence that you are the unique solution to a specific problem.

What is the Definition of a Brand

A brand is the name given to a product or service from a specific source. It is similar to the current meaning of the word “Trademark.” A trademark includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods / services of one provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods / services. A strong brand differentiates your products from your competitors. It reduces a customer’s perceived monetary, social and safety risks in buying goods / services. A brand is a promise that the product will perform according to customer expectations. It also shapes a customer’s expectations about a product / service. Some examples of brands are McDonald’s, Mercedes-Benz, Coca-Cola, Google and CNN.

Brand Management Improves User Experience Optimization (UXO) and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Certain branding components and tools are designed to improve the UXO and SEO values of a website, including:

– Bookmarking / Sharing
– Comments
– Forums / Message Boards
– Newsletters
– Podcasting
– Polls
– Reviews
– Social Media Marketing
– Surveys
– User and Mobile Friendly Websites
– Videos / Images
– Website Analytics

Brand Management, Brand Awareness and SEO

Search engine optimization (SEO) is the implementation of strategies that improve rankings and visibility in search engines like Google, Bing and Yahoo. Good user experience optimization (UXO) promotes good SEO and vice-versa. Great CMS software is designed to improve the SEO value of a website through the following:

– Adaptive / Responsive Design
– Content Development
– Domain Choice
– Good Navigation Structure
– Image and Video Integration
– Load Speed
– Niche Marketing
– Page Comments
– Page URL Structure
– Rich Snippet Integration
– RSS Integration
– Search Engine Pinging
– Searchable Website
– Social Media Integration
– Statistics / Reporting
– Website Title and Meta-tags
– Writing for the Website

How to Come Up with a Brand Name

A brand name helps the customer identify and differentiate one product from another. It should be chosen very carefully as it captures the uniqueness of a product. It should be easily noticed, and its meaning should be stored and triggered in the memory instantly. Choice of a brand name can require a lot of research. Brand names can be associated with places (Air India, British Airways), animals (Dove soap, Fox News), and people (Louis Vuitton, Michael Kors). A brand could be a specific product line (Sports Illustrated magazine, DieHArd battery) or represent the entire company (General Electric, LG).

Features of a Good Brand Name

– A Brand Name should be unique and distinctive (Bank of America).
– A Brand Name should be extendable (Bic disposable razors).
– A Brand Name should be easy to pronounce, identified and memorized (Tide).
– A Brand Name should give an idea about a product’s qualities and benefits (Swift).
– A Brand Name should be capable of legal protection and registration (Starbucks v Coffee Shop).
– A Brand Name should suggest product / service category (Newsweek).
– A Brand Name should indicate concrete qualities and characteristics (Chili’s).
– A Brand Name should avoid bad / wrong meanings (NOVA is a poor name for a car to be sold in Mexico because it means “doesn’t go”).

Process of Selecting a Brand Name

1) Define the Objectives

Determine the role of the brand within corporate and marketing strategies. Develop a detailed description of the brand’s niche market.

2) Generate Multiple Names

Utilize any potential source for names: organization, management, employees, potential customers, agencies and professional consultants. Eliminate some names that do not follow corporate objectives, marketing considerations, and Features of a Good Brand Name.

3) Conduct Extensive Research

Gather more details on each of the names that has not been eliminated. Determine potential legal infringements of these names. Conduct consumer research to confirm management expectations as to the remembrance and meaningfulness of these potential brand names. Digital and physical prototypes should be developed for potential names on the short list.

4) Finalize Development of the Brand Name

Management selects the brand name that maximizes the organization’s corporate and marketing objectives and then formally registers the brand name with local, state and / or national authorities, such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Brand Attributes and Identity

Brand attributes portray characteristics of a specific product or service. They are a group of features that highlight the physical and personality aspects of a specific product or service. Brand attributes are developed through images, actions, or presumptions. Brand attributes help in creating brand identity.

A strong brand must have following attributes:

Appealing – Customers should be attracted by the promise you make and by the value you deliver.

Consistency – The message and product / service should not deviate too far from its core characteristics.

Credibility – A strong brand fulfills it promises to generate trust. Create realistic goals and expectations and do not fail to deliver.

Inspirational – A strong brand should positively transform the category it is famous for.

Proper Positioning – The brand has a specific target audience and purpose. It fulfills a specific niche in the marketplace.

Relevancy – It must meet people’s expectations and should perform the way they want it to.

Sustainability – A sustainable brand drives an organization towards innovation and success.

Uniqueness – A strong brand is different and unique. It is set apart from other competitors in market.

What is Brand Positioning: Definition, Strategy and Examples

Brand positioning is the target consumer’s reason to buy your product or service in preference to others. The Brand positioning statement identifies the brand, its target audience, the business category it occupies, its uniqueness in the marketplace and its value to the consumer. In order to create a distinctive place in the market, a niche market has to be carefully chosen and a differential advantage must be created. The positioning you choose for your brand will be influenced by the competitive stance you want to adopt.

Brand positioning must answer the following questions:

Is the brand unique as compared to its competitors?
What is the brand’s niche market?
Does it provide value to the niche market?
What is the extent of the brand’s appeal: local, regional, national and / or international?
Is the proposition validated with unique, appropriate and original products / services?
Is it sustainable? Can it be delivered consistently across all points of contact with the consumer?
Does it help the organization achieve its financial and corporate goals?

Avoid brand positioning errors, such as:

Under positioning – The customer has an unclear idea of the brand.
Over positioning – The customer has a limited awareness of the brand.
Confused positioning – The customer has a confused opinion of the brand.
Double Positioning – The customer does not accept the claims of a brand.

Brand Positioning Examples

Duracell Batteries: No battery is stronger longer.
Federal Express: When it absolutely, positively, has to be there overnight.
Subway: Eat fresh.
WalMart: Save Money. Live Better.

What is Brand Identity Design

Brand identity is the unique characteristics of a specific product or service. It is how the brand seeks to identify itself, and how it wants to be perceived in the market. Brand identity includes the following elements: vision, culture, positioning, personality, relationships and presentations. Brand identity is the promise that a brand makes to consumers. Brand identity is the noticeable elements of a brand (trademark color, logo, name, symbol, slogan, jingle, etc). Brand identity is the aggregation of all the brand’s organization does. It is an organization’s vision, mission, personality, promises, customer support, distribution, etc. It should reflect the durable and sustainable qualities of a brand.

Brand Symbols, Logos and Trademarks

Brand Symbols provide visual cues to a brand. They help correlate brand attributes to our personal experiences and perceptions. When experiences and perceptions are positive, symbols are a key component of brand equity and differentiation. Symbols are easier to memorize than brand names. These can include logos, people, animals, geometric shapes and cartoon images.

A Brand Logo is a unique graphic or symbol that represents a company, product, service or other entity.

Features of a good logo are:

It should be simple.
It should be unique.
It should be functional so that it can be used at different sizes on different materials.
It should have a positive impact on the intended audience.
It should be memorable.
It should be easily identifiable in full color, limited color palettes or black and white.
It should portray the company’s values, mission and objectives.

The elements of a logo are:

Logotype: – The brand name in text (American Airlines).
Icon – A visual symbol that communicates a market position or niche (Eagle).
Slogan – Text that communicates a market position or niche (Fly the American Way).

Brand Image v. Brand Identity

Brand Image is the cumulative perceptions of current customers. Brand image conveys emotional value and not just a mental image. Brand image is the overall impression in consumers’ mind that is formed from all personal experiences. Volvo is associated with safety. Toyota is associated with reliability. The idea behind brand image is that the consumer is not purchasing just the product / service but also the image associated with that product / service. Brand images can be strengthened using brand communications like advertising, packaging, word of mouth publicity, social media, public relations, other promotional tools, etc. Positive brand image is exceeding customer expectations consistently. Positive brand image enhances the goodwill and brand value of an organization.

Brand Identity is developed by the organization. Brand image is consumer perception. Brand message is tied together in terms of brand identity. Brand message is untied by the consumer in the form of brand image. Brand identity is enduring and looks ahead. Brand image is superficial and looks back. Focus on shaping your brand identity and brand image will follow.

What is Brand Personality?

Brand personality is the way a brand speaks and behaves. It means assigning human personality traits and characteristics to a brand so as to achieve differentiation. Brand behavior is developed through the cumulative actions of employees and contractors. Harley Davidson represents fierce individuality. Apple is passionate about creativity and innovation. Brand personality is the emotional character of a brand.

What is Brand Awareness?

Brand awareness is the probability that consumers are familiar with the life and availability of a specific product or service. Brand awareness includes both brand recognition and brand recall. Brand recognition is the ability of a consumer to recognize prior experiences with the brand. Brand recall is the potential of a customer to recover a brand from his memory when given the product’s category. Building brand awareness is essential for building brand equity. It includes use of advertising, word of mouth publicity, social media, sponsorships, marketing events, search engine optimization, etc. To create brand awareness, it is important to create reliable brand image, slogans, taglines, color schemes, etc. The brand message to be communicated should also be consistent. Strong brand awareness leads to high sales and high market share.

Brand Loyalty

Brand Loyalty is related to the trust a customer invests into a specific product or service. It is measured through methods like word of mouth publicity, repetitive buying, price sensitivity, customer satisfaction, etc. Brand loyalty is the extent to which a consumer constantly buys the same brand within a product category. Loyal customers buy a specific brand as long as it is available. They do not buy from other suppliers within the same product category. Even if the other brands are available at a cheaper price or superior quality, the brand loyal consumer will stick to his brand. Brand loyal consumers improve the value of its organization. Greater loyalty levels lead to less marketing costs and increased sales.

Measuring Brand Equity

Brand Equity is the value and worth of the brand. Brand Equity exists as a function of consumer choice in the market place.

Brand Equity can be determined by measuring:

– Share price and returns to share-holders.
– Evaluating brand image and customer perceptions.
– Evaluating the brand’s long-term earning potential.
– Evaluating pricing and sales volume compared to other brands in the same category.