Brand building is a very tough job and hence it requires a solid plan in advance. This is where Strategic brand management steps in. The role of strategic brand management is to take the brand equity of the company to new heights through sequential steps which add value to the brand and ultimately position the brand strongly in the mind of the customers.
Thus, you will find that there are 4 steps which are the most important in strategic brand management and these steps give the maximum effect over a long period of time to build a brand.
1) Brand positioning – The number 1 step in strategic brand management is to decide the brand positioning which the firm wants to achieve. This in itself is a humongous task. The marketer has to research the positioning of each brand in the industry and then find out differentiating factors. Using these differentiating factors, the brand can find a unique position in the mind of the customers. This unique positioning will give the brand a boost and consequentially will affect the overall performance of the brand. Hence, the first step of strategic branding starts with defining the positioning that the brand wants to achieve.
2) Brand marketing – Once you have decided on the brand positioning, to implement the positioning, you need to carry out brand marketing. This involves marketing through various media vehicles as well as implementing ATL and BTL strategies so that you reach the end customer. Besides using media vehicles, building value through brand marketing activities is also important. And value can be built through a lot of research and creativity in your marketing communications. Brand marketing is an important middle step in strategic brand management because it covers the gap between planning and implementation.
3) Brand Performance and analysis – Once you have determined the brand positioning that you want to achieve, and once you have marketed the brand accordingly, it is important that you analyse the brand and its performance in the industry. Brand audits can be conducted on a periodic basis to find out the real performance of the brand and how it has benefited the company. When compared to competitors, is the brand on top of the mind positioning or 2nd or 3rd in positioning? Accordingly the right measures can be taken.
4) Building brand value – The last step in strategic brand management is when you build value for your brand by taking various necessary measures. Brand building takes decades. And it is the role of strategic brand management to plan for decades and not for months. A company which is one or two year old, will not be able to offer too much of value to the customer. It has to make do with whatever it has. So to increase the value of the brand, the company has to enter new products and possibly new markets. It is the work of the brand manager to keep adding value and repeat the previous steps to keep changing the brand positioning as per the market demand or the demand of the customers.
Thus, as mentioned at the start of the article, you will find that brand management is a long term journey, and the results can be achieved if you plan decades in advance.
If we compare it with real life, who would you rate has higher brand equity? Hermoine Granger (Harry potter series) or Bella swan (twilight). I am sure people across the world will relate more to Hermoine granger just because of the sequential value addition of Harry potter over a period of a decade in its seven parts. If someone knows the importance of building a brand, then it is J K rowling who is still going strong with various tie ups at Warner Bros and Universal for the series of Harry potter. That’s how you keep adding value to the brand so that ultimately it becomes an ageless brand.