How much time do you devote exclusively to brand management? Whose job is it to ensure your entire company is effectively delivering a consistent brand image? In a recent Forbes article, contributor Lois Geller questioned whether it was worthwhile to focus heavily on brand management. After all, the Forbes list of the world’s most valuable brands is just short of written in stone – think Apple, Google, Coca-Cola and IBM. Essentially, if you want a list of household names, you don’t really have to look much further. The space between these brands and an entrepreneur getting his or her business off the ground is vast.
Many business owners are left wondering just how much time and resources should they devote to brand management.
What is Brand Management?
The first hurdle you have to get over is understanding what goes into it. According to Geller, the premise of any brand rests on the company’s ability to create and maintain a client experience that meets or exceeds expectations, which is in a sense a promise to your clients. From this perspective, your brand perception is the extent to which you deliver on these promises.
Managing this is where it gets complicated. Why? Think of the multitude of ways that a client can interact with a brand at any given moment every day. A financial institution’s customer can access his or her account online, through a mobile app, in the drive-thru lane, an ATM and in person at the teller’s counter. And that’s just looking at transactional situations. There’s still social media and any number of online experiences that influence a customer’s perspective of your brand. All of these can potentially meet, exceed or fall short of the client’s expectations, which then govern how he or she views the brand.
The culmination of these touch points are important. They also make it so difficult to manage your brand. Kevin Keohane, managing director of BrandPie and author of “Brand & Talent,” wrote on customer analytics news source MyCustomer explaining brand management isn’t a matter handled by a specific department. Because there are so many factors that can influence the way clients interact with your company, it truly requires an enterprise-wide effort. All company stakeholders – from management to client-facing staff – are responsible for maintaining a consistent experience that delivers on what the brand promises.
The short answer to the initial questions: It’s a full-time job for your entire organization.