The efforts involved in creating a powerful brand do not end with a successful market launch. Rather, building a strong brand – and leveraging it to maximize competitive advantage – is an ongoing strategic process that maintains the brand’s health and position in the marketplace, and keeps the organization aligned with brand strategy. To be effective, Brand Management must be viewed as a core strategic function – the owner and steward of the brand, impacting not only “traditional” branding and communications efforts, but also the corporate mindset, organizational structure and strategic management processes across the entire enterprise. We work closely with our clients to ensure that they have the right organizational structures, capabilities, leadership, and processes in place to carry out effective brand management – and to establish, maintain and grow brand strength, both internally and externally.
Some of our brand management services include . . .
Brand Management Organization
Brand management organizations vary considerably in their scope, size, autonomy, and structure. However, because branding is such a powerful driver of strategy (and how it is executed), it is critical that the brand management function align with the company’s objectives, business model, and culture. We help our clients create the right structure, charter, responsibilities, and reporting relationships for the organization, instill the proper interface and collaboration across key business functions, and ensure that the required resources and expertise are in place. And as required, we often sit on our clients’ “brand advisory boards” during the early stages of implementation to ensure seamless handoff and knowledge transfer.
Brand Management Processes
Building and sustaining brand health requires establishing the right quantitative performance metrics, and tracking and updating them over time. These metrics can include indicators of brand health (brand awareness, esteem, preference, uniqueness, substitutability, strength of key attributes), brand performance (brand loyalty, switching, segment penetration, price sensitivity), and marketing effectiveness measures (advertising recall, response rates, site visits, conversions, ROI, etc.). We help our clients establish brand tracking systems and processes based on the metrics that make sense, given their specific objectives, and the stage of development of their brands and businesses. As needed, we also assist with the implementation of those processes, including selection of vendors, research and analysis design, report design and data interpretation.
The Brand Bible
Maintaining a strong brand also requires codification of the brand strategy, providing everyone who interacts with, or impacts the brand experience with rules and guiding principles to keep their activities “on brand.” This “Brand Bible” or (“Brand Playbook”) must be maintained and updated by the Brand Management organization. It must also be socialized throughout the organization on an ongoing basis to ensure that all forms of communication align with and support the brand promise. Typical contents for an effective Brand Bible include a communications platform (establishing and detailing the brand positioning, personality, tonality, key messages, differentiators, etc.), brand rules, brand architecture frameworks and protocols, cobranding and naming protocols, as well as visual style guidelines.
Brand Literacy & Training
Branding is both a science and an art. It involves and impacts a wide range of disciplines and business functions, and brings together both the “hard” and “soft” sides of business. Accordingly one of the key responsibilities of the Brand Management function is to ensure that people across the organization have a strong “brand conscience” – including not only a deep understanding of the brand promise, but also how that promise should shape the work they do. This goes far beyond communications – and serves as a set of guiding principles regarding what kinds of products, services, initiatives and customer experiences are in bounds, and which ones are out of bounds. In addition to our “traditional” consulting services, our firm offers a range of branding seminars and workshops designed to help our clients achieve brand alignment and brand consciousness, and to gain the strategic clarity, inspiration and momentum they need to maximize the strength and impact of their brands.