4 Steps of Strategic Brand Management Process

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The strategic brand management process involves the design and implementation of marketing programs and activities to build, measure, and message brand equity.

Developing a strategy that successfully sustains or improves brand awareness, strengthens brand associations, emphasizes brand quality and utilization, is a part of brand management.

What is Brand Management?

Brand Management is the function of marketing techniques to a specific product, product line, or brand. It seeks to increase the product’s perceived value to the customer and thereby increase brand franchise and brand equity.

Strategic Brand Management Process

Strategic brand management process is important for creating and sustaining brand equity. Developing a strategy that successfully sustains or improves brand awareness, strengthens brand associations, emphasizes brand quality and utilization, is a part of brand management.

Strategic Brand Management Process has four main steps

  1. Identify and Establish Brand Positioning and Values
  2. Designing and implementing brand marketing programs
  3. Measuring and interpreting brand performance
  4. Growing and sustaining brand equity

Identify and Establish Brand Positioning and Values

The first step of the strategic brand management process starts with a clear and concise understanding of what the brand is to represent and how it should be positioned with respect to competitors.

Brand Positioning is defined as “the act of designing the company’s offer and image so that it occupies a distinct and valued place in the target consumer’s mind.”

Philip Kotler

Brand planning uses the following three interlocking models

  1. Brand positioning model: describes how to guide integrated marketing to maximize competitive advantages.
  2. Brand resonance model: describes how to create intense, activity loyalty relationships with customers.
  3. Brand value chain: means to trace the value creation process for brands, to better understand the financial impact of brand marketing expenditures and investments.

Key Concepts

Mental Map

Mental map is a visual depiction or point-of-view perception of the various associations linked to the brand in the consumer’s mind.

Points of difference

It convinces consumers about the attributes or benefits that consumers strongly associate with a brand and believe that they could not find the same in a competitor’s brand.

Points of parity

A product offering that is largely similar to the offerings of like competitors, leading consumers to believe that brand is “good enough” to be included in the category.

Core Brand Associations

Subset of associations i.e. both benefits and attributes which best characterize the brand.

Brand Mantra

Brand mantra is a short, three- to five-word phrase that captures the irrefutable essence or spirit, of the brand positioning. It’s similar to the brand essence or the core brand promise also known as the Brand DNA.

Frame of reference

Identifying the target market and the nature of competition.

Plan and Implement Brand Marketing Programs

Building brand equity requires creating a brand that consumers are acceptable aware of and with which they have favourable, strong and unique brand associations.

Key Concepts

Mixing and matching of brand elements

Brand elements, also known as brand identities, are those trademark that serves to identify and differentiate the brand from its competitors. Different brand elements here are brand names, URLs, logos, symbols, logos, images, packaging, slogans, etc.

Brand elements help to facilitate the formation of strong, favourable, and unique brand associations, enhancing brand awareness and elicit positive judgments and feelings about a brand.

Integrating brand marketing activities

Marketing program activities and product, price, distribution, and marketing communication strategies make the biggest contributions and can create strong, unique and favourable brand associations in a variety of ways.

Leveraging Secondary Associations

Marketer tries to associate a brand with certain source factors such as countries, characters, sporting or cultural events in the mind of the consumer and leveraging these associations for the brand to improve its brand equity.

Different source to leverage secondary brand associations by linking the brand are:

  • Companies (through branding strategies)
  • Countries (through the identification of product origin)
  • Channels of distribution (through channel strategy)
  • Other brands (through co-branding)
  • Characters (through licensing)
  • Spokespersons (through endorsements)
  • Events (through sponsorship)
  • Other third-party sources (through awards or reviews)

Measure and Interpret Brand Performance

To understand the effects of brand marketing programs, it is important to measure and interpret brand performance.

Key Concepts

Brand Audit

Brand Audit is a comprehensive examination of the brand and uncovers its sources of equity to suggest ways to improve and leverage it.

  • Brand inventory (supply side): A current comprehensive profile of how all the products and services sold by a company are branded and marketed.

  • Brand exploratory (demand side): Provides detailed information as to how consumers perceive the brand.

Brand tracking studies

Collect information from the customer about brand performance on a number of key dimensions marketers can identify in the brand audit or other means.

Brand Value chain

A brand value chain is a structured approach to assessing the sources and outcomes of brand equity and the way marketing activities create brand value. It helps to better understand the financial impacts of brand marketing investments and expenditures.

Brand Equity Measurement System

A Marketer’s tools or set of research procedures designed to provide, accurate, actionable and timely information to make the best possible tactical decisions in the short and long run.

  • Brand equity charter: It formalizes the company view of brand equity into a document and provides general guidelines to marketing managers within the company as well as key marketing partners outside the company.

  • Brand equity report: Assembles the results of the tracking survey and other relevant performance measures.

  • Brand equity responsibilities:  Senior management must be assigned to oversee how brand equity is treated within the organization.

Growing and Sustaining Brand Equity

Maintaining and expanding brand equity can be quite challenging.

Key Concepts

Defining the brand Architecture

Captures the branding relationship between the various products /services offered by the firm using the tools of a brand-product matrix, brand hierarchy and brand portfolio.

  • Brand portfolio is the set of different brands that a particular firm offers for sale to buyers in a particular category.
  • Brand hierarchy displays the number and nature of common and distinctive brand components across the firm’s set of brands.

Managing Brand Equity over time

Marketer’s ability to take a long -term perspective as well as a short-term perspective of marketing decisions as they will affect the success of future marketing programs.

  • Reinforcing Brands: Brand equity is reinforced by marketing actions that consistently convey the meaning of the brand to consumers in terms of brand awareness and brand image.
  • Revitalizing Brands: Revitalizing a brand requires either that lost sources of brand equity are recaptured or new sources of brand equity are identified and established.

Managing Brand Equity over Geographic boundaries, Market segments and Cultures

Marketers need to take into account international factors, different types of consumers and need to build equity by relying on the specific knowledge about the experience and behaviours of the new geographies or market segments when expanding the brand overseas or into new market segments.

Recommended:

  1. Brand Management – Importance, Definition, Challenges, Functions
  2. Customer Based Brand Equity | Keller’s brand equity model
  3. What is Brand Equity? Components, Importance, Examples
  4. Consumer Behaviour – Classification, Importance, Stages
  5. Marketing Mix – 4ps: Definition, Example, Importance
  6. Why Entrepreneurship is Important – Function, Types

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