What is strategic brand management and why is it important?
Strategic brand management refers to the way brands continuously develop and enhance their identity in order to achieve their long-term business goals. In today’s competitive landscape, consumers are inundated with choices. To stand out, brands must take advantage of every opportunity to position themselves ahead of their competition, from establishing clear brand positioning to cultivating deeper connections with customers.
In this guide, we’ll take an in-depth look at strategic brand management in the digital era and uncover its importance for modern businesses. We'll also take a step-by-step exploration of its process, helping you understand how to apply strategic branding to your own business.
What is strategic brand management?
Strategic brand management, also known as strategic branding or your brand management strategy, hinges on two simple questions: what makes your brand stand out from the rest, and how can you effectively highlight its uniqueness?
Strategic brand management uses a holistic approach to build, maintain, and grow your brand’s identity across multiple channels. It combines aesthetic choices, such as finding the perfect logo and color palette for your brand, with more technical considerations, like developing an interesting and meaningful mission statement.
As customers start recognizing the value your brand brings to their lives, the demand for your products and services will naturally grow. If you continue to refine your brand identity and nurture your customer relationships, you’ll be able to tap into repeat business, loyalty, and a host of other benefits.
Why is strategic brand management important?
No matter the size of your business, you can never go wrong with strategic branding. Here are some ways strategic brand management can shape your business’s success:
- Improved brand perception: Brand management strategies can help you enhance your brand’s perception among both prospective and existing customers, leading to increased trust and loyalty.
- Increased brand recognition: A well-managed brand will garner more positive attention. With increased visibility and global recognition, the process of generating leads and retaining customers becomes noticeably easier.
- Retain a competitive edge: Staying ahead of the competition is crucial in today’s competitive market. Strategic brand management allows you to differentiate your offerings in an effective way.
- Boost customer and employee loyalty: A strong brand will naturally foster a sense of community. Make sure your brand identity resonates with both your customers and employees.
- Mitigate risks: If you have a trustworthy reputation, customers will be much more lenient when you make a mistake. Your branding will act as a buffer during challenging times.
- Ensure consistency: Strategic brand management will help your branding stay the same across all channels and consumer touch points. This not only eliminates confusion but also reinforces trust.
- Long-term growth: What’s growth if it can’t be sustained? With strategic branding, you can reap the benefits of a well-established brand, all while retaining the ability to adapt to changing market conditions.
What is the strategic brand management process?
With so many factors at play, initiating your brand management strategy can feel overwhelming. Let’s take a look at the strategic brand management process step by step, from defining clear values, mission, and vision for your brand to using tools and analytics to measure how your brand is performing to get you started.
1. Define brand values, mission, and vision
To effectively promote your brand, you must first have a clear and comprehensive understanding of its values, mission, and vision. Here’s how these three concepts are differentiated:
- Values: Values are the core beliefs and principles that guide the actions and decisions of your business.
- Mission: Your business’s mission is a concise statement that describes its purpose, primary objectives, and how it plans to achieve its goals.
- Vision: Your business’s vision should detail its long-term aspirations. Where do you want to be in 10 years? What achievements do you want to accomplish?
Once you have a clear understanding of your values, mission, and vision, they should act as the foundation from which you can shape the rest of your brand management strategy.
2. Establish your brand positioning
Brand positioning is the unique value your offerings bring to your customers. It’s what makes your products or services memorable in a competitive marketplace.
To establish your brand positioning, start by getting to know your target audience. Conduct consumer research to better grasp their wants, needs, pain points, and more. How can you make sure your brand resonates with them?
Then, you’ll need to perform market analysis. What offerings are currently available on the market? What are your competitors known for? What are their strengths and weaknesses?
Once you’ve identified your target audience and better understand broader market trends, you can tailor your brand’s messaging and offerings accordingly.
3. Ensure brand consistency
Having a cohesive brand identity is an important part of strategic brand management.
One way to achieve brand consistency across all channels is through the effective use of brand guidelines. Brand guides help teams align on how to use your brand's logo, colors, imagery, and more so everyone is on the same page and adheres to a uniform brand presentation. Looking to automate content creation while staying on-brand? Check out Bynder Studio for quick and easy creation of branded content via templating.
With so many design files, guides, and training manuals to keep track of, it's important to have a reliable way of managing and organizing your assets. Bynder’s digital asset management (DAM) platform acts as a centralized repository for all your brand-related assets, helping you streamline workflows and prevent inconsistencies.
4. Develop a marketing plan
With established brand guidelines, you're ready to create marketing strategies tailored to your target audience. For example, email marketing enables you to provide customized content and offers, boosting conversions. Social media marketing, on the other hand, offers a direct avenue to engage with your audience, building connections and interaction.
No matter which marketing strategy you choose, remember that strategic brand management is a gradual and extensive process. Recognition and trust can’t be built in one day, so carefully plan each step of your strategic branding.
5. Measure brand performance
Lastly, evaluating your brand's performance using key performance indicators (KPIs) allows you to identify your strengths and areas for improvement.
Keep an eye on KPIs such as website traffic, social media mentions, conversion rates, and online reviews. The insights gathered from this analysis can guide you in making informed decisions, enabling adjustments and optimizations to better your strategic brand management.
What are the different types of brand management strategies?
Different types of brand management strategies contribute differently to successful branding. Here are popular strategies to consider for your business:
- Brand extension: Brand extension involves capitalizing on an existing brand’s reputation to introduce new products or services.
- Private labels: Rather than creating products under a manufacturer's brand, private labels use the name of a retailer instead. This builds a sense of familiarity and exclusivity.
- Attitude branding: Attitude branding links a brand to a specific lifestyle or value, making it much easier to forge emotional bonds and cultivate a devoted community.
- Company name branding: Company name branding builds brand recognition around the company's name. This strategy is particularly well-suited for industry leaders.
- Individual branding: Individual branding uses different names for different lines of products, allowing companies to target a range of consumer segments. For example, a company’s organic line may have a different name than its regular line of products.
Wrapping up: Strategic brand management
Overall, strategic brand management involves fine-tuning your brand’s identity for long-term success, from defining your values, mission, and vision to measuring your performance through KPIs.
Bynder's DAM platform further streamlines this process, offering an effective way to centralize and manage all your brand assets. Using strategic brand management alongside Bynder's document management and content management functionality, you can ensure a consistent, impactful brand identity that resonates with your target audience.
The Forrester Wave™ Digital Asset Management for Customer Experience, Q1 2022
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