Brand management-the creation, development, monitoring and/or researching of the iconic symbols and designations for any given product, service or line-can take two forms: management of a pre-existing brand or control of all stages of branding, including creation of a brand. It is an essential aspect of marketing required to not only enable consumers and clients to identify a product or service, but also, in some sense, to identify themselves or the satisfaction of their needs or wants with it.
It is a multidimensional and multi-factor process, comprising elements as diverse as literal and figurative "packaging", focus-group testing of name recognition and responses to them, product and service placement differentials and deep conscious or unconscious associations of the brand images, names, etc., in the minds of consumers and clients.
To be effective, brand management should, as a minimum, ensure the branding prevents confusion with competing products and services, ideally also predisposing end-users to favor the managed brand.
Brand management applies marketing techniques and psychological principles and research to create and oversee a specific product or service, in terms of its identifying image or brand. The process is one of maintaining and upholding the company name that is associated with positive results. Brand management begins with having a thorough knowledge of what is being sold and how the name of the product fits into the overall marketing idea.
It includes ensuring the product or service meets consumer "wants/needs" to win and sustain trust. Brand management also involves consideration of cost-for value, customer satisfaction, in-store placement, and ways to counter any competition. It is built on a marketing foundation, but focuses directly on a single brand and ensuring it is viewed favorably by customers. Done correctly, this can result in higher sales of not only one product, but of other products associated with the company. Developing a strategic plan to maintain brand equity or gain tangible brand value requires an understanding of the brand equity, the company's target market, group psychology, and the company's overall goals and market for its products.
Brand management includes managing both the concrete and emotional associations of a product, service or line. In the case of products, the concrete characteristics include the product performance and design, price, packaging, etc. As for services, the germane parameters include the customer's experience with the service received, the presentation and communication of the service features, and the utility and reliability of the service.
The psychological associations include emotional connections with the product/service; the positive or negative feelings associated with the brand or its advertising; how the consumer perceives the product or service as a fit for them. The aim of branding is to convey the message vividly, create customer loyalty, and persuade the consumer to not only just want that particular product, but to need the product in preference to other similar products, as a key aspect of forming and maintaining consumer perceptions about the product.
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