Understanding How Brand Works
Managing a brand is as important as managing any other asset of an organization. However it is often overlooked under the assumption that as long as the logos are consistently used it’s being well attended to. Brands, of course, are much more than logos. Brands are a strategic asset that shape the internal culture as well as market perceptions, reputation, and distinction. They need attention. Unfortunately there are some pretty common mistakes that quickly erode brand equity and value as a result of under-management.
One of the most common brand management mistakes is the lack of will, discipline and commitment to manage the brand. Building a brand requires a tremendous amount of investment and resources. All that effort can quickly be jeopardized if there is not the will to adhere to brand standards and principles. It’s not easy. But it starts with everyone in the organization understanding and embracing what the brand stands for and living it out in all they do.
All companies operate through an organizational structure of roles, responsibly and accountability to manage all aspects of the business. What’s often missing in that structure is a role for brand management. Quite often brand is simply considered marketing. That’s the second most common mistake. Granted market expression is a very visible part of the brand. But brand crosses over many other aspects of the company including business strategy, HR, finance, strategic partnerships, facilities and more. Brands need organizational responsibility that will ensure that its promise is fulfilled at every point of contact.
Managing a brand is not just for management or leadership to worry about. Employees are essential in bringing the brand to life that shape the corporate culture. Among customers they are seen to be one of the most trusted sources of what the brand stands. The third most common mistake is overlooking how important it is to ensure that your employees understand your brand. And it’s more than just mimicking a slogan and reciting the vision statement. It is understanding how they can live the brand personality and deliver on the brand experience in everything they do.
Companies often confuse brand performance with advertising and other marketing initiatives performance. But brands have deeper and longer-term value implications. Brands should be measured on awareness, perception, distinction, resonance, relevance, value and many other metrics. These all factor into ensuring sustainable market advantage and value building.
It is interesting that many companies resist investing in their brand even though it is one of their most valuable assets. Brand is a long-term investment in building value, equity, and loyalty but that doesn’t necessarily result in an immediate revenue spike. It’s important to maintain a long-term perspective and avoid letting immediate gratification become the investment driver. Brand, like any long-term investment, requires patience and perseverance.
All of these mistakes can easily be avoided regardless of whether you are a multi-national corporation or a start-up small business. It just requires awareness and a plan. That’s how good brand management works.