Strategic Brand Management – Meaning and Its Importance
You can hear a lot of stuff around the office. Although watercooler talk isn’t what it used to be, chatter around the office can always prove insightful. Remember, it isn’t eavesdropping if you can apply it in business.
So the other day, two gents from the office were talking by the imaginary watercooler. It was lunchtime, and Matthew and Alec were discussing their options. Matthew was hungry but didn’t really have the time for a full meal, since he was waiting for a conference call. So they opted for a quick lunch — burgers and chips. Alec suggested burgers and Matthew immediately said: “Yeah, let’s do McDonald’s”.
While Matthew and Alec’s conversation might seem uninteresting to most, marketers recognise insightful information. Let’s get into it a bit deeper. In the conversation, you can identify the need for a “quick meal”, the solution, or the generic product “burger” and an instant brand choice — “McDonald’s”. But what makes that brand the ideal, or at least the first choice? Why is that the first name that pops up in Matthew’s head?
The answer lies in the depths of strategic brand management. To understand Matthew’s response, we first have to look at these words carefully — strategic brand management.
How We Define a Brand
The term “brand” has a relative definition. When you ask someone to define a “brand”, some people go straight to describing the characteristics of products and services. In other words, they would list what makes that brand special and different from others. Meanwhile, others choose to define a “brand” in regards to its place in the market. In both cases, the crucial information is the value of a product or a service, because the value is what makes a brand identifiable.
Branding is equally vital for consumers as it is for companies. There are various reasons for that. For the average customer, brand means commitment and convenience. When they know that a particular brand offers a specific level of quality, that shortens their decision-making time.
From the company’s point of view, branding is not only a quality criterion but also a specific level of expectations that the customer has, and the company has to deliver. It is also the identifier that differentiates one company from the rest of its competitors.
Branding in the B2B Market
Typically, we associate a brand with labels on products in supermarkets and malls. Branding isn’t crucial in your life — you’re loyal customers, but that’s as far as branding matters to you. However, in the B2B market, branding is essential.
Corpora branding entails raising brand awareness and brand image and marketing your product to other companies instead of individuals. Developing a branding strategy for corporate branding isn’t the same as developing one for individual consumers.
Branding has never been a piece of cake. However, with modern technologies revolutionising the market, it’s become harder than ever. With more access to information, customers can make educated decisions and loyalty is no longer what it used to be. Nowadays, consumers have specific expectations, and if a brand doesn’t meet them — they will perish. The bar has risen, and companies respond to this challenge in different ways. Innovative marketing campaigns and chances to showcase the product are one of the ways to keep a firm hold on the market. Sponsorships and social cause marketing were once scarce, but now you can see every significant brand implementing them in their marketing strategies.
Consumers have endless options of brands and products to choose from. A brand is the image, the impression, and the identity of a company that is built with combined efforts of brand marketing and quality performance. The highest peak any brand can achieve is to become synonymous with the product. Let’s get Starbucks means: “Let’s get coffee”; but no one says coffee anymore, do they? Strategic brand management is how you get a brand from zero to Starbucks.