In marketing, brand management is the analysis and planning on how that brand is perceived in the market. Developing a good relationship with the target market is essential for brand management. Tangible elements of brand management include the product itself; look, price, the packaging, etc. The intangible elements are the experience that the consumer has had with the brand, and also the relationship that they have with that brand. A brand manager would oversee all aspects of the consumer’s brand association as well as relationships with members of the supply chain.
In 2001, Hislop defined branding as “the process of creating a relationship or a connection between a company’s product and emotional perception of the customer for the purpose of generating segregation among competition and building loyalty among customers.” In 2004 and 2008, Kapferer and Keller respectively defined it as a fulfillment in customer expectations and consistent customer satisfaction.
Brand management is a function of marketing that uses special techniques in order to increase the perceived value of a product. Based on the aims of the established marketing strategy, brand management enables the price of products to grow and builds loyal customers through positive associations and images or a strong awareness of the brand.
Brand management is the process of identifying the core value of a particular brand and reflecting the core value among the targeted customers. In modern terms, brand could be corporate, product, service, or person. Brand management build brand credibility and credible brands only can build brand loyalty, bounce back from circumstantial crisis, and can benefit from price-sensitive customers.
The following definitions are important to understand to make an approximation to the Brand Management:
Brand associations refers to a set of information nodes held in memory that form a network of associations and are linked to a key variable. For example, variables such as brand image, brand personality, brand attitude, brand preference are nodes within a network that describes the sources of brand-self congruity. In another example, the variables brand recognition and brand recall form a linked network that describes the consumer’s brand awareness or brand knowledge.
Brand attitude refers to the “buyer’s overall evaluation of a brand with respect to its perceived ability to meet a currently relevant motivation.”
Brand awareness refers to the extent to which consumers can identify a brand under various conditions. Marketers typically identify two distinct types of brand awareness; namely brand recognition and brand recall.
Brand equity Within the literature, it is possible to identify two distinct definitions of brand equity. Firstly an accounting definition suggests that brand equity is a measure of the financial value of a brand and attempts to measure the net additional inflows as a result of the brand or the value of the intangible asset of the brand. A different definition comes from marketing where brand equity is treated as a measure of the strength of consumers’ attachment to a brand; a description of the associations and beliefs the consumer has about the brand.
Brand image refers to an image an organisation wants to project; a psychological meaning or meaning profile associated with a brand.
Brand personality refers to “the set of human personality traits that are both applicable to and relevant for brands.”
Self-brand congruity draws on the notion that consumers prefer brands with personalities that are congruent with their own; consumers tend to form strong attachments with brands where the brand personality matches their own.
Brand preference refers to “consumers’ predisposition towards certain brands that summarise their cognitive information processing towards brand stimuli.”
Brand orientation refers to “the degree to which the organization values brands and its practices are oriented towards building brand capabilities”. It is a deliberate approach to working with brands, both internally and externally. The most important driving force behind this increased interest in strong brands is the accelerating pace of globalization. This has resulted in an ever-tougher competitive situation on many markets. A product’s superiority is in itself no longer sufficient to guarantee its success. The fast pace of technological development and the increased speed with which imitations turn up on the market have dramatically shortened product life cycles. The consequence is that product-related competitive advantages soon risk being transformed into competitive prerequisites. For this reason, increasing numbers of companies are looking for other, more enduring, competitive tools – such as brands.
Brand management aims to create an emotional connection between products, companies and their customers and constituents. Brand managers may try to control the brand image.
Brand managers create strategies to convert a suspect to prospect, prospect to buyer, buyer to customer, and customer to brand advocates.
Even though social media has changed the tactics of marketing brands, its primary goals remain the same; to attract and retain customers. However, companies have now experienced a new challenge with the introduction of social media. This change is finding the right balance between empowering customers to spread the word about the brand through viral platforms, while still controlling the company’s own core strategic marketing goals. Word-of-mouth marketing via social media, falls under the category of viral marketing, which broadly describes any strategy that encourages individuals to propagate a message, thus, creating the potential for exponential growth in the message’s exposure and influence. Basic forms of this are seen when a customer makes a statement about a product or company or endorses a brand. This marketing technique allows users to spread the word on the brand which creates exposure for the company. Because of this, brands have become interested in exploring or using social media for commercial benefit.
Brands with heritage are not simply associated with antiquated organizations; rather, they actively extol values and position themselves in relation to their heritage. Brands offer multiple benefits to organisations at various market levels, reflecting the entire experiential process afforded to consumers. In the case of voluntary organisations if they can unlock their brand heritage and it will improve volunteer engagement, to the extent that organisations ‘with a long history, core values, positive track record, and use of symbols possess, whether consciously or not, an inherent advantage in an increasingly competitive landscape’. In the context of tourism preconceived notions of brand heritage stimulate the increased experience of existential authenticity, increasing satisfaction with the visitor experience. For consumer goods the communication of continuity of the brand promise can increase perceived brand authenticity.