Think back to when you started your business… the excitement, the planning, the passion, and the energy that you put into turning your dream into reality. One of the elements that you probably put time and energy into was your logo – that element that would become the recognizable element of your business. During this initial process, did you put additional focus on other aspects of your brand, more than just your logo? If not, don’t feel bad – many business owners develop a logo, think they’re done, and call it a day. But your brand is so much more than your logo. It’s never too late to step back and take in the big picture of your brand. Or, now that you have spent time building your business, you may have a clearer picture of what you want your brand to be or how you want to shift or refine its focus.
Why is managing your brand important? It’s that element of your business that fully defines who you are, what benefits you bring to your clients… the personality of your business that makes you unique. Let’s take a look at the different elements that you should think about.
What is a Brand?
In order to see the big picture of managing your brand, you need to understand what it is…
How would you describe yourself? It might involve tangible things – height, the color of hair, eyes, etc. But you’d also talk about being friendly, outgoing or shy, practical or artistic.
In the same way, your brand will include some tangible things – like your logo. But, the bulk of your brand is the intangible – the personality of your business. It includes your tagline and your brand story. It identifies the problems you solve for people, how you solve them, and the success they enjoy after. It expands to cover the culture of your team because it is your team/employees that are going to be touching your clients.
So, while you may not have had a formal definition of Brand Management, you’ve probably developed bits and pieces of it over time. Let’s take inventory. For the following, just answer a simple yes or no – don’t worry about additional details.
- Do you have a tagline?
- Do you have a logo?
- Do you have a mission statement and/or vision statement?
- Have you created a brand story (formally or informally)?
- Have you identified your market? What problem do they have? And, how does your service/product solves their problem?
- Have you identified the fonts and colors that should be used on any piece of marketing (print or digital)?
- Have you identified the type of images that should be used in your marketing?
- Have you identified your messaging? How do you speak to customers or convey your message online? Part of your message should include the 5 stages of awareness that people go through.
How’d you do in the review? If you fell short, don’t feel bad – many people do. The bright side is now you know what is needed to strengthen your brand and business!
What is Brand Management?
Brand Management goes beyond making sure you can put a checkmark beside each of the items above. It has to start with an audit of what you have in place and extends to how the market perceives your brand/business. The results of your audit are the baseline, showing what needs to be improved & managed long term.
Brand Management is the activities that you do to build the awareness and perception of your business within the market so that you can meet your business goals.
But, Brand Management doesn’t equal marketing. There is a difference. Frontify gives us this very simple explanation of how Brand Management and marketing fit together.
“If brand management is the blueprint…, marketing is where that plan is put into action.”
The Difference Between Marketing and Brand Management by Frontify
Why Brand Management is Important
If you look into the theory behind the elements of your brand, you can take a solid guess at why it is important to manage your brand. IF you pull all of these elements together and make them an integral part of your business, the following will happen:
- You’ll stand out from the competition because people will clearly see what sets you apart.
- Customers will be loyal to you because you’re taking care of them.
- Your team will strengthen because when you take the personality of your brand and infuse your team with it, they will be empowered and know why they do what they do.
- You’ll leave less money on the table… improve your ROI.
How to Manage your Brand
MBASkool.com has a good article that outlines 4 steps to Brand Management. We’ve summarized the points below… check out their full article.
- Identify Brand Positioning and Value
- Brand Marketing Planning
- Measure Brand Performance
- Growth and Sustainability
To expand on those 4 tips, here are a few more to consider:
Create processes and SOPs for your team to follow that are in line with your brand. This simplifies the process of making sure that everyone is on the same page in bringing your brand to the world. And, when you bring on a new team member, it makes it easier for them to come up to speed, not with technical skills, but how you “do things”.
Keep your customers first! The way that Apple, Starbucks and other companies impacted our world is by making sure that experience was a key element for all of their customers. Know their language, pain points, how they want to take in information, how they make decisions, and what makes them feel warm and fuzzy.
Create a “Brand Library”, a place where all of your brand assets – tangible and intangible – are organized. Intangible assets are explained and outlined in documents. These are just as important as your logos, fonts, and colors.
Be willing to stay current. Pick a large brand… any brand that has been around for a long time. How have they adjusted their brand to stay fresh and relevant? It’s just as important for you to be aware of shifting trends (remember when phone books died and everyone “Googled” information?) and be ready to make changes.
Most of all, let the passion that you have for your business completely hang out in your brand. And, let your brand be the spotlight that draws attention to your business!
Your Online Partner… for Success
How do you feel about your brand? If you feel stuck or overwhelmed at any of the steps, Book a free session with Christy. Come with focused questions and we’ll help you get answers!