A business owner, you know that it’s a priority to offer valuable products and services to clients and customers. But that’s certainly not all you have to do to be successful at serving your target market. If you look at the products and services you offer to your client as the “what” of your company, things like branding and marketing can be seen as the “how” of your company.
But just what is brand management? And even more than that, why is it important? These are two great questions we’re going to be tackling in this article. But first, let’s look at a more basic question that allows us to set the stage for answering these other two.
What is branding?
Branding is controlling multiple facets of your business to present the particular company image you want to portray. You can think of branding as doing your best to create, shape, and control the way people think of your company.
Obviously, visuals have a lot to do with this. So, choosing what kind of label you have on product packaging could factor into the branding equation. Similarly, ad campaigns (whether on TV, on billboards, or in print or online publications) could function as another part of your branding.
One thing that is intimately connected to your brand is your logo. Your logo makes you recognizable to your customer or client. And by using your logo on your products (if you’re a product-based business, for instance), you’re encouraging your customer to choose your company and your product instead of choosing another company and its product.
One of the best examples of branding comes from a fast food restaurant we all recognize. Imagine you’re driving along the highway and you see an exit nearby, populated with gas stations and restaurants. You spot a pylon sign stretching to the sky, topped with an enormous, yellow “M.” You don’t need us to tell you that that “M” is otherwise known as “the golden arches.” And you also don’t need us to tell you that it stands for McDonald’s.
But here’s another instructive thing to pull from this example. You also don’t need us to inform you what McDonald’s is (a fast-food restaurant) or what they’re best known for (burgers and fries). And that is an excellent example of business branding. McDonald’s has established itself as an instantly-recognizable provider of burgers and fries.
Now that we know what branding is, it’s time to dive into our second question: what is brand management?
What is brand management?
Simply put, brand management is the process of ensuring that your company brand is consistent across all channels. And we think it includes any and all ongoing maintenance and upkeep required to keep your branding consistent. So, if you have locations spread across the nation or the globe, brand management is the process you use to make sure they all present a unified front.
As a company, you want to be spottable, recognizable, and of course preferable. When potential clients or customers see your signs, billboards, or marketing flyers, you want them to know who you are.
In fact, consider it this way—you’re aiming to be the master of subconscious “Aha” moments. So you want clients and customers to spot something that represents your company and instantly recognize it. Plus, you want them to know immediately who you are, what you do, and how good you are at it.
In fact, it’s not just the recognition you’re after. It’s also the positive perception of clients and customers. So it’s not enough that they simply see you and know you. You want them to go a step further—you want them to like you.
Why is brand management important?
Now it’s time for the next question we promised we’d answer. Once you establish that you want to be seen, known, and liked, it makes sense to note that this isn’t going to simply happen. No, there will absolutely need to be effort on your part.
In other words, “ya gotta earn it.” Establishing a cohesive face for your company through managing your brand is part of the work we expect you’ll need to put in.
You want to be seen
Once you know that you want your business and your brand to be seen, you naturally have to address some follow-up questions. Where will customers and clients see your business? What particular marketing and advertising channels will you use to be seen? And when you are seen, what should your image look like (for instance, what graphics should you choose?)
You want to be known
Of course, there are follow-up questions you can ask once you know you want to be known, too. For instance, what do you want to be known for? What key concepts do you want to be associated with your brand?
You want to be liked
And there are even questions you can ask yourself once you’ve identified that you want to be liked. Questions such as—What do you want to be liked for? Do you want to be liked because you’re familiar and comforting? Or do you want clients and customers to like you because you’re fresh and unexpected?
An example for perspective
Now that we’ve identified what it is you want as a company—to be seen, known, and liked—let’s dive into an example that will help illustrate why brand management is important to you. Imagine you’re a restaurant that offers a top-quality dining experience for hungry travelers (usually motorists traversing busy highways).
Drivers see your company’s sign as they’re growing every hungrier while driving along 2-lane divided highways. When they do decide to take the nearby exit and pull into your parking lot, they’re going to be face-to-face with your branded storefront. Even before they pull off, they’ve spotted your branded pylon sign stabbing away at the nearby sky.
Hopping out of the car, they pull open a door spread with graphics that represent your company—a logo and tagline, perhaps. Once inside the restaurant, they see your employees adorned with company logos on their shirts. And once they sink into a chair at a nearby table, they pick up a menu emblazoned with your logo on the front.
What you offer
What your patron soon discovers is that the food is delicious. And perfectly well-suited for satiating tremendous appetites created by hours spent behind the wheel. The table service offered by your smiling waitstaff is friendly. And the location is clean as a whistle.
Plus, speed is the name of your game. And your hungry travelers clocked it at 7 minutes from placing their order to receiving their plates. All around them, they discover a calm, yet energizing environment. Lighting is well-placed and the color scheme is peppy without being garish. And when the bill finally arrives, the price is (surprise!) actually reasonable.
You’ve just enabled depleted travelers to rest, refresh, and refuel before accelerating into the rest of their journey. Well done! It’s just another day-in-the-life for you and your talented support staff.
Following this imaginative story a bit further, let’s imagine that your restaurant continues to perform like this for years running. Naturally, you mull over your success quite a bit. And finally, you decide it’s time to take this idea to the streets. Or rather, to take your excellent model and duplicate in other locations across the country. After all, if it works here, it makes sense it should work elsewhere.
But in taking this great idea to the next level, you want to be careful that you don’t lose any of the elements that make you great. While each new location may not be a carbon copy of the original restaurant, you know that you need to establish a sense of consistency. Why? Because you need customers to be able to recognize you.
Wherever your customers are in the nation (or in the world, if you’re spreading that far), you need them to see your branding, realize that they actually know your company, and remember that they already like what you do.
Consistency and repeatability
This is why you need brand management. Because you want customers to be able to recognize and like you anywhere in the world that they happen to find you. Of course, it’s easy to see why establishing a consistent logo across all your locations could help with this. But establishing consistency in other areas could be helpful, too.
Marketing campaigns might be basically the same across different areas, tweaked somewhat to appeal to particular target markets if necessary. Public relations might also be set up to operate by the same guidelines with the same procedures—establishing a unified company front. And company signage and branding, of course, is another area where consistency and repeatability are key.
How to make it happen
Now, it’s easy enough to establish what you need to do—create a consistent brand, or company image. Exactly how you make that happen, well that’s another question. However, we’ve taken a big step toward simplifying this process for you when it comes to your company signage.
Thanks to our BrandBoss app, we’re making it possible for you to manage your brand from a centralized location. And beyond making it possible, we’re aiming to make it simple. As a franchise owner, you can use our app to let us know about your locations, have your branch managers upload photos, and request replacement signs within the app.
The BrandBoss way
It works like this. We help you launch rebranding projects to get all of your company’s locations standing together—establishing that unified company image. But we don’t just pick up the projects and leave you behind, wondering about the progress of your rebranding campaigns. No, we involve you every step of the way. After all, this is your company, and we know you care.
We want you to stay plugged in throughout the entire process. When you need to make design tweaks, you simply let our design team know—right in the app. For projects that need approval from you, the place to give us the go-ahead is again provided right in the app. Keeping up with the projects you have underway couldn’t be easier with our timeline reporting, which lets you see your project’s history and its related documentation.
As industry experts, we get that managing geographically-dispersed projects and keeping the branding cohesive is a little bit like trying to corral a roomful of energetic toddlers who’ve missed their naps. Or leading a herd of wild horses into separate stalls. Or directing a roomful of opinionated computer engineers toward a general consensus. Sometimes, it feels impossible.
But it isn’t.
Brand management is a big undertaking, with a lot of moving parts. It’s our job to help you cut through the clutter and access what you need to know about your projects when you need to know it. We created BrandBoss to make that possible. It’s time to level up brand management.
Setting yourself up for success
As a business owner, you probably already know that the groundwork for success is often invisible to outsiders. Clients and customers may not see your late nights or your accounting processes or your strategy sessions, but they happen nonetheless. And these “invisible” parts of your company make it possible to smash through obstacles and provide the products and services you specialize in.
This is where BrandBoss fits into your brand management. We exist to make a lot of the invisible aspects of branding visible to you—the owner, manager, and problem-solver extraordinaire. What your customers and clients will never see, you need to see and to manage. And we’re making that simpler than ever.
Building a brand you can stand behind
Part of crafting a winning company is surrounding yourself with tools well-suited to the work you do. If you were a doctor, you’d need medical instruments. A dentist also needs his tools. People who work in construction wouldn’t be caught dead without the tools they need to create small buildings or vast skyscrapers. The same is true of you. To do great work, you’ll want great tools.
Building a brand you’re happy to stand behind takes hard work and time. But it also takes strategy and thought, and finding great tools can make your brainpower go farther. Supporting yourself with the right tools at the right time is an investment in your company—and, ultimately in the people you serve.