State of Brand Management Tools 2024

What is Brand Management: Definition, Strategies, and Examples

Discover what is brand management. Learn and understand the concept of brand management, the strategies involved, and see examples of brand management.

Cliche as it sounds, it’s true – Brand is your company’s greatest asset.

After all, it’s what helps customers distinguish you and your products from the competition. Your brand also explains to them what your company stands for and will affect your customers’ perception of your company and products.

But for that to happen, your brand must remain clear, consistent, and cohesive.

And that’s no small feat when you have team after team pulling brand elements together, using any brand assets they can find, or creating their own.

Well, that’s where brand management comes in. The process helps you ensure brand consistency by providing the whole organisation with easy access to your brand assets, parameters, and guidelines.

However, there is far more to brand management than just having all logos, colours, and fonts in one place.

Keep reading to learn more about it and discover how to execute a brand management strategy within your organisation.

Table of Contents

What is Brand Management: A Definition

I have to be honest about it. It’s so much easier to describe the benefits of brand management or specific activities involved in the process than to explain what the term actually means. 

But I’ll do my best to do that, too. 

So, in essence, when we use the term – brand management – we mean all the activities you take to ensure that:

  • Your brand presents a consistent image across all channels. No matter what assets a customer encounters, they immediately recognize them as part of your brand. 
  • It also resonates with customers. Once again, no matter what brand asset they come across, they immediately know what you stand for. 
  • Your brand helps to increase the awareness of your company and its products. 

 

But note that I said “all the activities” in the definition above. That’s because brand management isn’t a singular process or framework. Quite the contrary, in fact. A brand management strategy would involve various objectives and activities ranging from brand positioning, identity development, and brand communication to brand asset management, to name just a few. 

Even those activities can be broken down into several other activities, each brimming with projects and other tasks—from monitoring market trends to continuously adjusting the brand accordingly, understanding customer behaviour, creating brand loyalty, and much more. 

In other words, brand management isn’t a singular process. Instead, it combines various processes leading to similar goals: Increased brand awareness, loyalty, or greater market differentiation.

A brand is more than a logo or corporate colours

One of the biggest challenges companies face when implementing brand management is the misconception of what a brand actually is. 

To many employees, it’s nothing more than a logo, a set of branded colours, and fonts. 

Such misconceptions lead many to develop their own brand assets. Granted, these assets do incorporate the logo and correct colours but fail to align with what the brand stands for.

What’s more, these assets can often hinder the company’s positioning and marketing efforts.

  • They send the wrong message about the brand and its values. 
  • These assets can confuse customers about what the brand and its products are about, too. 

 

For that reason, I think it’s worth to review all typical assets and elements the brand management strategy would include:

  • Brand name.
  • It’s logo and identity.
  • Tagline. 
  • Brand colours and typography. 
  • Imagery and style. 
  • Voice and personality. 
  • Brand positioning. 
  • Brand promise. 
  • Brand values. 
  • Brand mission statement. 
  • Assets, visual and non-visual, such as images, videos, audio, text, and more. 
  • Brand experience
  • Identity guidelines, and more. 

 

Note how many of the items on this list feel intangible. 

Brand values, personality, voice, promise… We rarely consider those actual aspects of a brand. 

After all, we can’t see or touch them, and we can’t physically include them in product content or an ad.

Consider these iconic Apple ads (found via CultofMac.) 

You cannot pinpoint which of their sparse elements is the brand voice. Or positioning. Or the brand promise. And yet, you know they’re there. 

A brand is more than a logo or corporate colours

That’s because these elements have been first clearly defined by the company and then used meticulously in every brand asset they’ve created. 

So, intangible or not, these are some of the most crucial elements of a brand, and they must be well-defined for the brand management process to work. 

Two types of brand management

Another important aspect of brand management is the fact that there are actually two different aspects to it:

Strategic brand management – The process of overseeing and developing a brand to ensure it aligns with business objectives and resonates with the target audience. 

Strategic brand management involves creating a unique brand identity, communicating it effectively, and consistently monitoring and adjusting strategies to maintain a strong brand reputation and competitive advantage.

Digital brand management, on the other hand, is the process of maintaining and enhancing a brand’s presence in the digital realm. 

This process involves using online marketing channels – social media, website, online advertising, content, and more – to communicate the brand’s identity effectively, engage with the target audience, and manage its reputation. 

Brand Management Examples

A client of ours, a manufacturing company in Austria, needed to provide its retail networks with manuals, marketing material, newsletters, printed leaflets, etc. for at least four different brands, and they need to do it quickly. They use a digital asset management system to organize all their assets, make sure they always have the latest version, organize marketing campaigns and deliver all this material through powerful portals. The advantage of these portals is that they easily reflect their complex product structure and the variety of product content: multiple brands and design families product content ranging from training material, guides, infosheets to assembly and handling instructions, marketing campaigns and contracts. The portal also facilitates the search for the right content in different languages and through different content types (video, image, document, etc.).

Another client, a food company with a wide range of products, employed a brand management platform to ensure brand governance, making sure that all employees use the brand consistently across all channels and that the CI is used correctly.

Why Implement Brand Management?

We’ve covered quite a lot of the theory behind brand management, and you must have noticed that it is not a simple process. In fact, it takes time and effort to implement a brand management strategy and even more effort to maintain it. 

So why go through all this trouble? What could you gain from having a brand management strategy in place?

Let’s discuss what you gain from implementing brand management in your organisation.

You create a single source of truth

Let’s be bluntly honest about it—brand management strategy ensures that no stakeholder is ever confused about how to use brand assets or where to find all that information. 

Without brand management, everyone can develop or interpret brand guidelines as they wish. We already discussed how serious this challenge is to organisations. 

However, with the strategy in place, everyone will work using a unified set of rules – a single source of truth about the brand.

Granted, this might seem a subtle benefit, a shift from divided or scattered brand guidelines to a more centralised repository.  

In practice, however, it means that once you’ve implemented brand management, the entire brand becomes unified with little to no possibility of anyone creating something that’s not following the guidelines. 

You also ensure creative consistency

Having a unified set of brand rules and guidelines and a single source of truth about how to use them will increase the creative team’s output quality. 

Just think about it. 

  • With a single source of truth, creatives will know exactly how to convey the brand visually. And in doubt, they’ll have access to all the information and assets they need.
  • As a result, projects will include fewer mistakes than before. 
  • And they’ll get completed much faster, too.

Brand management prevents brand misuse

Brand management also creates a protective barrier preventing brand misuse. 

  • Guidelines ensure that all brand elements are used correctly. 
  • Asset management prevents wrong files from being used when creating artwork.
  • Finally, brand rules prevent anyone from interpreting the brand as they wish and creating their assets.

It will also boost the strategic approach to brand positioning

It’s a fact – It’s almost impossible to be highly strategic about positioning your brand when you don’t have clearly defined guidelines or your guidelines aren’t centralised.

Everyone involved is open to interpreting the brand as they wish. Different teams can present the brand differently on the marketing channels they support. Your social media campaigns might use one type of imagery, and ads can feature something completely different. 

There might be no rhyme or reason across it all.

It’s true; this is an extreme example but not an unlikely one. 

In fact, in February this year, Forbes collected an expert panel to discuss mistakes that make brands seem inconsistent

The number one mistake experts agreed on was not having clear brand guidelines

Interestingly, of the other 15 mistakes listed in the article, six related to brand management:

  • Siloing marketing channels (3rd spot)
  • Not backing up values with real actions (5th spot)
  • Having an inflexible brand ecosystem (7th spot)
  • Not carrying the brand into all areas of the business (12th spot) and so on.

You’ll immediately make any marketing campaigns more effective

This benefit results from a combination of factors. But overall, with brand management, you will strengthen your brand awareness, recognition, and more. In turn, this will immediately increase the results of every marketing campaign. 

After all, your target audience will already be familiar with your consistent brand. They’ll recognize it, have good associations with it and its products, and more. 

In other words, your marketing campaigns won’t have to achieve those benefits, and they will focus on delivering the results that matter – Sales. 

Why Is Brand Management So Challenging to Implement?

One answer to this question hides in the Forbes report quoted earlier. 

For many organisations, brand assets are often siloed. Teams have access to a selection of guidelines and rules, but also actual assets. 

Often, internal company dynamics make teams become protective of their brand elements. 

  • Designers protect logos and other brand visuals, fearing what other teams might do with them. 
  • Managers can’t let go of guidelines and protect them to the point where no one actually knows what the brand is or stands for anymore. 
  • Copywriters block access to the tone of voice, fearing that others won’t understand how to use it correctly, and so on. 

 

The result is that no one uses the brand correctly. Moreover, everyone becomes protective of what they consider the most relevant assets to them, blocking others from using those correctly. 

Another reason is a lack of a system to develop and maintain brand best practices. 

This is somewhat connected to the problem mentioned above. 

With assets siloed across the organisation, and the resentment to share them with others, it’s almost impossible to start building best practices on how to utilise the brand fully.

However, the biggest challenge preventing many companies from using brand management is the lack of a dedicated resource to centralise the brand. 

It’s true – Much of the problem could be blamed on siloing brand assets or lack of dedicated processes. 

But the problem has another side. 

Many organisations lack a centralise resource to collect it all together – A brand management platform

How easy would it be to break silos if there was a single repository to hold all brand assets, guidelines, rules, etc.? Or to convince departments to release brand elements they control if they had one place to store and control them?

These are just some of the benefits of using a dedicated brand management platform:

  • Ensuring brand consistency
  • Providing a single source of truth about the brand
  • Central storage for all brand assets
  • Effortlessly managing where your assets are being used.
  • Collaborating more efficiently when creating brand assets and marketing materials. 
Discover what is brand management. Learn and understand the concept of brand management, the strategies involved, and see examples of brand management.
CELUM Brand Management

How to Get Started with Brand Management

Please note – Typically, brand management starts with identifying a brand, what it stands for, and so on. However, for the purpose of this overview, we are going to assume that your organisation has already gone through that process. As a result, you’ve established what your company stands for, you understand your brand, and have all the critical brand elements in place:

  • Brand image and voice
  • Brand values, purpose, position
  • And you know what differentiates you from your competitors.

 

At this stage, you can begin implementing brand management, and the process starts with benchmarking.

Define brand management benchmarks

This will help you assess how effective brand management strategies are and make more informed decisions about improving your brand and its positioning. 

Here are the most common brand management benchmarks organisations use for that purpose:

Brand Awareness: This benchmark measures how well your target audience recognizes and recalls your brand. So, any positive changes in brand awareness will likely come as a result of strong brand management processes. 

Naturally, brand awareness isn’t easy to measure, much like many other benchmarks on this list. 

Many techniques and metrics help evaluate changes to brand awareness, from branded website traffic, social media reach, and online mentions to actively surveying customers to establish aided and unaided brand recall.

Brand Equity: Brand equity is the commercial value that derives from consumer perception of the brand name of a particular product or service. With this benchmark, you can measure your brand’s strength on the market. 

And again, any positive shifts can likely be attributed to brand management. 

Brand Loyalty: Brand loyalty indicates the degree to which customers consistently choose your brand over others.

So, brand management will likely increase repeat purchases, customer retention, and lifetime value, decrease churn rate, and boost customer satisfaction survey results (like NPS or CSAT).

Identify people responsible for brand management

For the strategy to work, you need someone to oversee it. 

Typically, organisations employ a brand manager to develop and oversee brand strategies. Their main goal is to enhance the brand’s identity, awareness, and reputation. 

And so, a brand manager would conduct regular market research, analyse customer behaviour, and collaborate with other teams to ensure brand consistency across all company’s operations. 

But they aren’t (and nor should they be) the only people involved in the process.

  • Marketing managers are responsible for how their teams’ activities – from ad creative to complete campaigns – utilise and affect brand awareness.
  • Product managers ensure that the brand’s positioning and messaging align with the product’s features and benefits.
  • Creative teams would develop brand assets, and so on. 

 

Naturally, your organization’s team responsible for brand management might look different. 

However, it is crucial to identify who those people are and get them involved in the process as early as possible. 

Identify your complete asset portfolio

This step includes identifying and cataloging all existing brand assets. 

These would include logos, taglines, product content, and all digital assets like photos, images, videos, etc.

This step aims to help you understand the scope of your brand portfolio and know what assets need to be centralised within the brand management platform. 

Implement a dedicated brand management platform

A brand management platform is a tool designed to centralise and streamline the use of brand assets, guidelines, and marketing materials. 

Or, to put it differently, it’s a single repository for anything brand-related, so the organisation could boost brand consistency and efficiency across all its communications channels. 

Typical brand management platforms focus on providing five core capabilities:

Brand guidelines management: First and foremost, the platform serves as a single source of truth for all brand-related content, containing all the information about how the brand is to be presented to customers. 

Portals: With Portals, you can create curated collections of branded assets, sales enablement content, marketing campaigns, and more. But more importantly, you can also use them to deliver brand guidelines to partners, creating a single source of truth on how they should be using and presenting your brand in their marketing campaigns.

Brand templates: With this capability, stakeholders can access pre-approved content templates and swap images from a library of pre-approved assets, change branded colors, adjust the copy, etc. without ever breaking the brand guidelines. 

Brand asset management (BAM): The platform helps create a brand library, bringing together all brand assets like logos, images, videos, documents, and more. 

Digital asset management (DAM): This capability helps companies store, manage, and organise all digital assets and not just brand assets to use for marketing campaigns, product content, and more. 

RECOMMENDED READING: BAM vs. DAM

Creative collaboration: These features help facilitate teamwork and collaboration, including capabilities like Kanban boards, online proofing tools, and more.

Brand performance analytics: A brand management platform will also provide data and insights to help companies measure the strategy’s impact on brand awareness, loyalty, sentiment, engagement, and more. 

Conclusion

As cliché as it sounds, it’s true—a company’s brand is its greatest asset. That’s why processes like brand management are critical to ensure brand consistency across every touchpoint.

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