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6 Major Principles of Brand Management

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If you have a business, whether you know it or not you’re engaging in brand management. Your brand is everything your customers know about you, and managing that brand involves making sure that what you’re communicating is what builds your business’s reputation.

If you have a business, whether you know it or not you’re engaging in brand management. Your brand is everything your customers know about you, and managing that brand involves making sure that what you’re communicating is what builds your business’s reputation.

So whether or not you’re creating a brand and managing its perception isn’t really a question; how purposefully and well you’re managing that brand absolutely is. These tips will help you make sure you’re both aware of what your brand is and how it is perceived by your customers.

Clear, Strong Definition

When you think of really powerful brands in the marketplace – Apple, Starbucks, and Target, for example – you most likely have a very strong image of what those brands stand for, and who they’re for. Whether you have a positive or negative reaction to those images tells us something about whether or not you’re the brand’s target customer.

But part of the reason these businesses have been successful over time is that strong brand identity. People think of Starbucks, and they know what experience they will (or should) have at a location.

Highlight Differences

Every business has competition, and one way to create a brand identity is to highlight some of the key differences between you and your competitors. Think of the commercials that are released when top phone brands are about to release new flagship phones; they constantly highlight how their products are superior to the competition.

This can be about more than just products, however; if your business is the only one in your niche to offer free shipping, easy returns, or free samples with a purchase, make sure to highlight that information as part of your company’s service promise.

Consistency

Businesses are visible in more ways than ever before. Companies have their own websites, and then often have social media presences spread across several different platforms. Thought leaders from within the company may be posting blogs on other, external websites.

While approaching each of these venues with specific strategies to maximize appeal in the area is important, businesses should also be aware of maintaining a consistent brand identity whether manually or by using a brand management software. If a company creates a casual appearance, then has very formal language in blogs and on the website, the difference can be jarring. Instead, strive to give all communication a similar tone and feel.

Empower Influencers

Customers love talking about great experiences, and strong brands don’t just let them do that, they encourage it. They make it easy to share reviews and purchases to social media, for example, or invite customers to share their stories on social media with hashtags and links. Several great brands include small cards with purchases that specifically ask for customers to discuss their experiences or share photos of their products and include the official company hashtags.

Building this kind of positive conversation can be a great way to get a brand’s identity noticed.

Be Fluid

We are at a point in time when the business world around us is in rapid flux. Companies are finding old methods of business disrupted and needing to manage the kinds of changes that come from new supply chains and communication methods.

One of the areas where this is most obvious in relation to branding is social media. New social media platforms are continuing to arise, and companies need to decide if the platform fits with their brand identity. For example, not every company has the kinds of products and stories that are going to work well on Pinterest. A solid brand identity helps companies know where to spend their time and efforts.

Build a Community

Successful companies work with niche customers and build a sense of community. This can be done with some of the tricks used above – social media and hashtags, for example – but this is also about responding to customer feedback, both positive and negative, and doing so quickly. When a customer has a negative experience, reach out immediately to try and resolve it quickly and competently. But when a customer shares a positive story or complements your company, make sure that gets shared as well.

At times, your customers can be your best tech support with products; they use them every day, and have hacked, repurposed, reused, transported, and done things with your product that your beta testers never even considered. When your customers can talk to each other and share their stories, they will often help each other through problems – and associate that successful moment with your company.

Building a brand identity and managing that brand is key for any company that wants to thrive in the new marketplace. By consciously determining what your brand will be and then devising a strategy that supports that brand, a company is more likely to find long term success.

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