September 17, 2022 | Samuel Chapman
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When building a brand, consistency and clarity are essential. Messaging, brand assets, and marketing strategies all combine to create cohesive alignment results.
When done well, a successful brand delivers outstanding customer experiences, increases awareness, and builds long-lasting customer loyalty.
But building a brand is about more than fonts and color schemes. It requires collective strategies that ensure customers not only recognize but prefer your brand. This is why 70% of brand marketers cite awareness-building as a top priority for their products.
The key to increasing awareness—and keeping customers interested in your product long-term—is brand management.
What is brand management? What techniques do brand managers use to raise the profile of their products?
Let’s look at the basics of brand management. We’ll discuss:
Brand management increases a product’s perceived value by driving omnichannel messaging, improving market positioning, expanding desirable features, and building identity.
The work of creating a strong, desirable brand image never ends. Brand managers are responsible for the strategy and blueprint used to achieve results.
But the work of building brand value is cross-departmental, too. Strategic brand management incorporates product, marketing strategy, sales communications, and customer service.
Successful brand management delivers unified and cohesive communication to customers. From the first customer touchpoint through the entire customer lifecycle, management matters.
Yet keeping track of customer relationships is no simple task. There are several stages of the customer lifecycle that brand managers must keep in mind. At each point, messaging must be consistent with the brand mission.
Often, brand managers use tools to streamline this process—for example, a Digital Asset Management (DAM) platform coordinates and delivers assets and strategies appropriate to each stage of the customer journey.
With expert strategies, brand managers guide customers through awareness, consideration, decision, and loyalty.
Let’s walk through the actions a brand manager takes in each phase of the customer lifecycle.
Pre-purchase: The manager handles interactions with the customer before the purchase. This includes marketing, social media posts, advertising, and sales interactions. They use touchpoints to build awareness and move potential customers toward a decision.
Purchase: The brand manager distributes promotional offers and messaging, sales, and point-of-purchase conversations. This includes customer onboarding and customer service support.
Post-purchase: The company delivers after-purchase messaging (e.g., thank you and welcome communications). This messaging provides post-purchase customer service and education, issue resolution, upgrades, and offer communications.
Loyalty: The brand manager continues customer support and engagement delivery to ensure repeat business and promote brand evangelism. Referral programs, sharable content, and offers contribute to customer retention.
Using metadata can further enhance this progression of the customer journey by enabling audience segmentation. This transforms your investments in content operations into profit for brands by unlocking new methods of activation, measurement and insights at the intersection of campaigns, content, and branding.
Content operations is the other half of the brand manager’s role. To drive the customer experiences described above, brand managers must establish production timelines, brand guidelines, and delivery schedules for the creative assets used to convey the brand message. Using the right tools, brand managers can enable stronger governance and end-to-end content lifecycle management.
A DAM is the best tool for this job. It serves as the foundation for effective content operations by enabling the use of modular content, digital governance features, taxonomy, and metadata to get the most out of the assets in hand. Using digital asset management to drive these activities has powerful results:
Faster production timelines: Centralized access to brand guidelines, assets, logos, and templates allows teams to create campaign assets and messaging more quickly, with less guesswork. This ease of access speeds the development time for new campaigns.
Streamlined creation of content: Technology creates access to a well-organized repository of assets, enabling teams to create and repurpose content more easily. Automation and dynamic search features enable faster iteration, edits, and approvals.
Increased brand consistency: With technology, stakeholders deliver a cohesive, on-brand experience that meets both brand standards and the needs of the individual campaign. Non-creative users independently personalize the content with confidence, giving creative teams more time for high-value tasks.
Better customer communication: With well-managed, need-specific brand messaging available on demand, customer-facing teams access and deliver the most effective assets and content to engage prospects and serve customers.
Well-executed brand strategies drive top-line growth, increase market share, and strengthen target audience relationships. They also enable the entry of new products and services into the market.
Using an effective brand management strategy:
Solidifies brand personality and identity: Once you have the essential components of the brand, cement the brand’s message by delivering regular, on-brand touchpoints. This commitment to consistency can boost revenue by 10-20%.
Brand management reinforces what a brand communicates to its customers. For instance, a brand that promotes its reliability will bring strong customer service into its brand strategy.
Boosts brand awareness: Well-executed brand management delivers effective messaging across all relevant channels. When done well, brand awareness benefits both current and future product offerings.
Highlights differentiators: Effective brand management sets you apart from competitors. Clear messaging provides context for customers to opt into a specific product or brand based on the non-tangibles. This creates an emotional connection, on-brand and persuasive messaging, and a positive customer experience during and after the purchase.
Increases loyalty and retention: Good brand management through the buyer journey increases loyalty. Customers come for the brand identity but stay for the long-term experience. How a brand manages customer messaging, service, and roadmap profoundly impacts customer lifetime value (CLV).
Mitigate Risk: Effective brand management tools also help marketers deliver the right assets by geographic location, region, language, etc. Organizations that operate in multiple markets must tailor the imagery and messaging to comply with both the customer’s expectations and local customs and/or laws. Segmenting and managing brand assets using an effective brand management software tool can reduce the risks associated with multi-market branding.
A brand manager may use one or more of the following tactics to coordinate their marketing communications. These strategies each work to further cement the brand image, communicate the values and attitudes set out in brand guidelines, and help customers build stronger brand associations over time.
The decision to pursue one type of branding strategy over another depends on the brand recognition, product stage (new versus established), the total product portfolio, or market objectives of the organization.
Iconic/Attitude: This approach focuses on the emotional value proposition, customer experience, or vibe you convey to customers. Is your brand adventurous and rebellious, or trustworthy and reliable? Young and hip, or timeless and sophisticated?
Good brand management projects a certain image. This includes crafting how the customer perceives themselves when using the product.
Individual: This method uses product-specific messaging and visual marketing, where a parent company delivers an individual brand experience for each product in its portfolio. The customer perception of the brand may be a stand-alone product, even if the reality is part of a broad product offering.
Multi-product/Umbrella: This approach is the opposite of the individual branding approach. In this case, many products benefit from being marketed under a single brand.
Brands use this approach when they offer an array of related products. This works because the total power of the logo is more recognizable than its portfolio products.
Sub-branding: This method succeeds by delivering similar items under different logos and price points to take advantage of a broader potential market. Car companies and airlines use sub-branding to deliver products across different price points.
Co-branding: In this method, two brands combine their respective brand equity in a joint venture or product launch. Often, this type of brand management unites a product line with an iconic or attitude brand to appeal to a wider target market.
Some products rise above the rest in conveying intangible elements with bold, consistent branding. Here are some examples of iconic brands across several industries. They demonstrate real-life examples of brand initiatives outlined above.
Few brands achieve a level of attitude branding such as this classic motorcycle company. The Harley brand name has long been synonymous with the independent spirit, a disregard for convention, and even a bit of danger.
Harley cultivates this iconic message through its branding: product styles, larger community aesthetic (leather, skulls, flames, and roses), and general biker culture.
As one of the largest consumer product brands in the world, few consumers are aware of the full Mondelez portfolio in daily life. The maker of Cadbury, Oreo, Ritz, Trident, and Wheat Thins holds direct competitors within its portfolio. Intentional branding choices separate competing brands to appeal to different audience segments.
This power tool brand succeeds by marketing its wide array of home improvement products under a single brand with high recognition. The company offers everything from power drills and chainsaws to ride-on mowers and trimmers. All products work on a proprietary battery, boosting brand loyalty by systematizing the products.
In addition, the brand offers a good example of co-branding. The Ryobi line is available exclusively through the Home Depot chain of home improvement stores.
Automaker Toyota diversifies its brand marketing strategy by offering buyers product lines at several price points across various markets. Though Toyota is the most recognizable brand in the portfolio, it also offers the luxury-focused Lexus brand and several brands within foreign markets.
All of the Toyota lines enjoy a loyal customer base of repeat customers. They stand out due to their perceived reliability and brand reputation as high-mileage, dependable commuter cars.
An immersive brand experience begins with well-managed brand asset creation and delivery. DAM tools are one of the best ways to upgrade this process.
Using DAM to coordinate your content and marketing efforts allows brand managers to control the entire branding process, from concept to campaign delivery. It gives your brand access to the data and metrics that enable better decision-making and centralizes your assets for easier production.
Aprimo offers brand managers powerful features for driving brand messaging:
A free trial of Aprimo’s digital asset management tool can show you the benefits of DAM firsthand.