No matter how skilled and experienced in branding you may be, you’d be forgiven for occasionally mixing up brand management with marketing and vice versa. After all, both inform one another and one can’t be expected to function at its best if the other isn’t as well. With that said, brand management and marketing deserve to be treated with individual respect. Both require different skillsets from the people carrying them out and have different objectives to consider in their creation and delivery.
We know that you already know what great marketing and great brand management look like (and you definitely will after reading this blog.) But today we’ll be giving you a refresher on what they involve, how they differ, and how exactly they can and should be addressed.
Suggested reading: Brand consistency is crucial to brand growth and survival and our latest eBook — The Brand Consistency Toolkit — is the perfect guide to achieving it.
What is Brand Management?
Brand management is all about having a strategy that effectively maintains and enhances the value and reputation of your brand. The ultimate goal is to increase the perceived status of a product or brand over time and have a process. This would involve overseeing and returning to a brand’s assets — basically, the materials that makeup said brand — to ensure that they’re aligned in terms of messaging and delivery. In a nutshell, effective brand management puts you on the right track.
While the relationship between having a brand and the necessity of managing it is obvious, let’s take a look at what EFFECTIVELY managing that brand has to involve.
Elements of great brand management
Impactful messaging: A great brand management strategy is one that leaves a mark. As the ultimate goal is to stand out, impactful messages and ideas are essential to cementing your identity in the market and making sure that others know that your brand is special.
Consistency: Brand management success is defined by consistency. It’s really the make or break when it comes to effectively connecting a company to a wide audience, plus it makes present and future brand management processes all the easier if everyone knows what to aim for every single time.
Positive perception: It’s easy to develop an image of your brand but that image becomes useless, and even harmful, if it’s not a positive one. As a major defining factor on whether or not someone will engage with your organisation — whether it’s as a customer or a partner — perception is key to building trust and desirability towards your brand. It’s a paramount feature of successful brand management, being a great measure on how effective your strategy is and whether any changes would need to be made to perfect it.
How to achieve great brand management
- Brand guidelines: The more detailed a plan is, the better its results will be. Having a comprehensive set of brand guidelines is extremely effective in brand management, by providing your teams with a concise and clear picture of what your final branding should look like. By creating detailed guidelines, businesses can improve the consistency of their campaigns, as well as improve their internal communications and processes.
- Simplifying workflows: Another key path to successful brand management is simplifying the tasks and processes that go into maintaining a strong brand identity. Tools like brand management software make this easy by enabling multi-user access capabilities and intelligent approval processes, so that everyone within a team can work together all the more efficiently.
- Software-enabled management: There are many assets and tasks to consider within brand management and it can get confusing trying to tackle all of them without getting overwhelmed and losing track. This is where brand asset management comes in handy. The right BAM platform will centralise all of your assets, giving you control over your content and how it’s accessed, managed, and distributed. Doing so enables both brand consistency and creativity, ensuring that your brand strategies are optimised from the get go.
- Effective marketing: Like we said, one can’t function without the other. The results you get from your marketing endeavours will help inform your brand management strategies by outlining what works and what doesn’t work for your audience in terms of your branding. By ensuring that your marketing is in top form in terms of its creation and delivery, you further improve and enhance the cycle of both brand management and marketing.
Pro tip: These tips are also helpful in solving a lot of common problems that come up when managing your brand — give 4 Brand Management Challenges Not to Underestimate a read for more detail on that.
What is Marketing?
While brand management is about how a brand sees itself and wants to be seen as such by others, marketing is the channel through which a brand can start projecting that self-image. It’s all well and good to establish and plan for how your branding will be perceived by others, but marketing approaches such as advertising, social media outreach, and general communications are how that branding gets across. It’s also worth remembering that you and your teams benefit from having an interest in and understanding of your brand, and so would need little convincing to get invested. Great marketing convinces others to get interested in and develop that understanding of your brand as well.
Elements of great marketing
Reflective of brand: Marketing has to be accurate to the brand it’s promoting to be truly effective. Doing so keeps your marketing (and brand management) strategies aligned with your brand goals and objectives, so that wires don’t get crossed internally nor externally. This is especially important when it comes to your consumer journeys. Your brand’s audience is much more likely to develop trust in your brand if your marketing is kept consistent across the board so that their expectations can be built up and met every time.
Consistent messaging: Consistency is critical to solidifying your brand in your consumers’ minds and streamlining your marketing altogether. Even as your brand may change and evolve, there should still be a sense of familiarity instilled within your marketing so that the relationship between your brand and your consumer withstands over time.
Attention-grabbing: A great marketing strategy is one that stands out and draws consumers in. At its core, marketing needs to be able to acquire the interest, and ultimately prompt the action of consumers through unique ideas, approaches, and applications.
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How to achieve great marketing
- Templates: Having a set of clear instructions on how to execute your marketing is important in making tasks effective and consistent. Marketing templates serve as a detailed plan that outlines specific goals as well as how your team can and should achieve those goals. They’re not only beneficial in making sure that plans are followed and objectives are fulfilled, but also help in providing examples of what good marketing looks like for existing and future employees.
- Surveying and reporting: Regularly assessing and reporting on key performance metrics can help provide insight into how your marketing teams are functioning and what efforts are yielding the best results. Most brand management software tools have in-built reporting functions that enable data insights and analytics so that you can make informed decisions on your marketing strategies going forward.
- Digital asset management: Marketing channels nowadays are likely to be mostly digital and so are your assets. The problem is that digitising your assets doesn’t necessarily guarantee accessibility or visibility — that’s what a digital asset management (DAM) system does. A DAM platform stores your assets so that they can be easily accessed, distributed, and analysed for your marketing strategies. This is especially crucial to keeping consistency on track in terms of your how your marketing teams do their work and what the final product will look like and achieve.
- Effective brand management: Of course, you can’t have a solid marketing strategy if you don’t have a solid brand identity and strategy to market in the first place. Keep in mind that, since your brand management has (hopefully!) been informed by past and present marketing strategies, paying attention to how it functions is key to adding to and improving your marketing on a constant basis. This ties back to that cycle of brand management and marketing we talked about.
Suggested reading: Your MarTech stack is crucial to your marketing success but can easily go haywire. Check out our article — Is Your Marketing Stack Getting Out of Control? — for guidance on how to manage it.
How they’re different yet related
Though brand management and marketing have their own unique functions and purposes, both are ultimately intertwined and deserve equal attention. They’re both essential to brand success and one cannot function without the other being at its most efficient.
If it feels like we’ve been hitting that point constantly throughout this blog, it’s for good reason. While any brand manager would say that brand management and marketing are important to one another and be able to explain why, existing brand strategies still don’t often take that into account, simply because it can be too complicated to do so. After all, we’re talking about multiple details to keep in mind, such as the plethora of assets, tasks, and team members that would have to be involved in brand management and marketing for both to work to their highest level.
Finding an all-encompassing approach that does understand and utilises the capabilities of both brand management and marketing is the tricky, yet critical part.
How brand management software helps
Brand management software (BMS) accommodates the needs of both effective brand management and marketing through combining an efficient system with advanced capabilities. It provides a powerful all-inclusive platform that can be used to do everything from gaining an insightful picture of the channels you have to compiling comprehensive brand guidelines.
Rather than having to overwhelm yourself by taking up multiple approaches to try to tackle all of your brand management and marketing assets and processes, BMS acts as your one-stop shop. For example, Brandworkz BMS combines its DAM channel with brand management capabilities like web-to-publish templates and advanced data delivery so that you can take control over your brand.
By levelling out and bringing efficiency to the process, BMS can be a valuable resource in ensuring both brand management and marketing efforts go as planned, as well as help you devise ways to take them both to the next level going forward. Want to see the benefits of BMS for yourself? Sign up for a demo of our Brandworkz product to take your brand management AND marketing to the next level.