Why Branding & Brand Management Are a Must-Have for Your Business

A laptop with a pink colourful background
A laptop with a pink colourful background

From your brand's logo to your website, your social media presence to your customer support—these elements combined are what constitutes a brand in the minds of customers. But, there are thousands of other businesses that have a logo, website, social media presence, and website. So, how can you position your business on the market and make it stand out from the competition?

The key to success is ….drumroll... branding & brand management!

In this post, we will tap into different topics, such as:

  • Branding definition,
  • The importance of branding & brand management,
  • Branding examples,
  • Advantages of brand management (e.g., Branding),
  • and many more. 

Table of Contents

Let’s get started by defining the three most important terms that you will encounter throughout this post. 

What Is Branding?

Branding is the totality of all thoughts, feelings, and opinions that customers have towards a brand or product.

Branding is much more than just the brand. In a sense, it is the social footprint of a brand, consisting of pre-planned designs, concepts and products. A brand can be easily created, but successful branding takes years or decades to develop. 

It takes a lot of resources, but in the end, the effort pays off, because a company can only build and maintain an emotional relationship with the customer through branding.

Key Elements of Branding

Branding consists of the following important elements:

  • Brand names – No name, no brand...simple as that. The name of your brand should be memorable, unique and evoke pleasant feelings. So you should carefully consider the brand name, because it will be there forever. In digital business, for instance, the URL of your website should match your brand. Therefore, check its availability beforehand.
  • Design – Every brand needs consistent logos, product designs and brand assets. Because this process is so important, it has its own term—Brand Design.
  • Products – It goes without saying, but your products need to be branded in a qualitative and, above all, consistent way.
  • Customer service – The people behind the products are also part of the brand. When communicating with customers, the same value proposition should apply as for the products themselves.

Together, these elements form your brand identity. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos once said that the brand is everything that is said about you when you are not in the room. You can create the best possible conditions, but your brand only comes to life outside the company, in the lives of your customers.

That said, let's move on to another important term connected to branding...

What Is Brand Management? 

Brand management is the realization of branding within the companies. This is the part of the customer journey that you can and should control in-house. Brand management is a continuous process. It plays a key role in determining the success of your brand. 

What Does Brand Management Include?

One thing you can’t do without when implementing brand management are brand managers

Today, many companies have their own brand managers who follow branding guidelines, and only focus on brand management. 

There are many aspects that influence the reputation of a brand and the brand value. Consequently, the range of tasks related to brand management is broad.

  1. Development of the brand strategy (e.g. a brand extension)
  2. Positioning the brand in the market segment
  3. Brand management and brand monitoring
  4. Advertising, social media & content marketing

Now that you know the difference between branding and brand management, it remains to clarify what defines a brand.

What Is a Brand?

A strong brand is a prerequisite for any branding process. It consists of more or less fixed elements that trigger a desire

The aim is to motivate the customers to buy a product or inform themselves about the offered services. 

A good brand is perceived as respectable and at the same time makes it easy for customers to decide in favor of it.

Orange halves

© Engin Akyurt / Pexels

We have covered the basics, let’s move on to the benefits of branding and brand management.

The Importance of Branding & Brand Management

There is no denying that every business needs branding. Below we have listed a few of the many advantages of branding and brand management, among which are:

  • Customer loyalty – strong brands have loyal customers
  • Visibility – well-managed brands attract customers, even without investing a lot into advertising 
  • Price policy – popular brands have the privilege to sell their products at a higher price and thus, increase turnover 
  • Planability – brand management makes is possible to see and measure the success of your brand 

The next chapter will shed some light on the importance of branding in corporate marketing.

Branding in Corporate Marketing

Once a brand is established, the actual branding process takes center stage. It plays a key role in marketing, as it builds customer relationships and brand loyalty.

Branding is the process of connecting good strategy with good creativity. (Marty Neumeier)

Marty Neumeier is a renowned branding expert who addresses these two things in his quote:

  1. Brand Strategy – Trust doesn’t happen overnight. Only when you set long-term goals and your value proposition is well thought out as part of a branding strategy...only then you can be successful. This also includes an exact idea of who your target group is and how you can reach it. 
  2. Brand design – A brand is not set in stone. Even established brands have to reinvent themselves again and again in order to remain competitive. Therefore, visual adjustments, reformulated wording or digital enhancements are also part of branding.

However, it is important to note that real branding is only possible when both parts are combined. You have to make the desire for your brand calculable. Only then can you actively manage your branding.

To do this, you need to understand the different forms of branding.

What Are the 4 Branding Strategies? [Types of Branding]

Four pineapples

© Pineapple Supply Co. / Pexels

There are different types of branding which can be applied in various business areas. Your company doesn’t have to use all these branding strategies to be successful. Just choose the ones that would work best for your brand and are reflecting the values of your company. 

1. Product Branding

Product branding is essential. Whether in-store, online, or in advertising, we are constantly surrounded by product branding. Therefore, it is important to give it some thought. Ask yourself the following:

  • How does your product branding stand out from the competition?
  • What is special, unique about it?
  • What qualities and customer needs have shaped the product and make it valuable?

2. Corporate Branding

Corporate branding refers to the image of your entire company.

These are some of the questions you need to ask yourself when it comes to your company's corporate branding.

  • What values do you represent?
  • Do you have a corporate culture, focus on employer branding or live corporate social responsibility (CSR)?
  • Are you high-priced or affordable?
  • How do you communicate successes, deal with criticism or manage crises? 

3. Personal Branding

Often, a specific person is at the center of a company. Or the person represents the entire company, as in the case of influencers, for example. The personality and the story of this person then determine the entire branding process. Personal branding can be used to tell great stories—human stories that provoke feelings of admiration and the desire to imitate.

4. Geographic-Cultural branding (Geo-Branding)

Sometimes a location or a place becomes the brand. If you are the founder of a digital start-up in Berlin, for example, you build up certain expectations and can use these to your own advantage in the branding process. 

So here, a very specific lifestyle, language or landmark can support your brand and make you more credible. However, you should not rely too much on this.

As a Cherry on Top: Co-Branding

Co-branding is a special form of branding in which two brands cooperate with each other. Either it is about combining a certain advantage of one brand with the product of another brand...or two brands decide to launch a completely new product on the market. 

Co-branding is therefore particularly worthwhile for larger, already well-known brands. But a large company that helps a fast-growing small start-up can also be a successful form of co-branding.

Exploring New Opportunities: Brand Extension

Your branding efforts are already paying off and your brand is well-known and has a high reputation? At this point, you could consider a brand extension to go above and beyond your existing market. Read more about this strategy in our blog about brand extension and learn how to include it into your strategy.

Examples of Successful Branding

Now, we'll show you how diverse good branding can be. Get inspired 😊

Muji: No Branding Is Good Branding

Screenshot of Muji homepage

Muji is a Japanese retail company having stores in large cities all over the world. Their branding became famous as it doesn’t use many visual components but focuses on the products itself. There’s no real Muji lifestyle or identity but the pure simplicity of everything. 

But: as this simplicity fits the image of Japanese culture, Muji makes a smart connection between their heritage and their business. Even on the English homepage, they showcase their logo in Japanese letters introducing a very clear geo-branding. Yet there’s no real outspoken identity behind it, which makes Muji appealing for globalized consumers.

The term MUJI is based on the Japanese expression of “Mujirushi Ryohin”, literally meaning “no-brand quality goods.” So this very unique way of branding by not branding is even part of the company’s name itself.

Uniqlo: Successful Co-Branding 

Screenshot of Uniqlo's cooperation with Jil Sander
Screenshot of Uniqlo's cooperation with Fergus Purcell

Uniqlo is a Japanese clothing brand with numerous stores all around the globe. Their approach to fashion is highly functional offering quality garments for reasonable prices.

Yet Uniqlo has many partnerships with famous designers who create their own collections for the brand. This is a prototype of co-branding: The exclusiveness of designer fashion combined with the mass production and affordability of a global fashion brand.

In the first example, the purist style designed by the 20th century German fashion icon Jil Sander works well with Uniqlo’s contemporary minimalist approach. 

The tees designed by British artist Fergus Purcell are all classic Uniqlo shirts with an iconic signature print. The quality remains Uniqlo, the style belongs to the designer.

These examples show the variety of the co-branding concept which Uniqlo uses to amplify their own reach and branding. 

Dritan Alsela

Dritan Alsela calls himself Il Barista and runs a café in Düsseldorf as well as his own roastery with an online shop.

Dritan Alsela aka Il Barista

For Dritan, the person is the brand and vice versa. His personality is what sets the company apart, He relies on very simple branding. All products are branded only with Dritan's signature as a visual code.

Dritan Alsela branded products

Dritan is very active on Instagram, his branding on social media platforms is well thought out and witty. For him, coffee represents pure lifestyle and enjoyment. The location doesn't matter, consequently, the cosmopolitan Dritan has fans all over the world. This strategy works perfectly for Il Barista and is a prime example of personal branding.

Kivamo

Kivamo is a small roastery in Wuppertal. The brand name is quite complex, composed of the old Turkish word "Kiva" for coffee and the Italian "Ti amo". The two owners are referring to their origins, however, the brand essence is clearly the love for coffee.

Website header of the Kivamo brand displaying the phrase "Kaffeerösterei aus Wuppertal"

Already the website header is displaying geographical branding ... "Kaffeerösterei aus Wuppertal". The local reference is clear and the brand is associated with the branding of the city, although there is also an online shop. On their blog, it is written:

That's why I dreamed of starting my own coffee roastery with a coffee school, offering fresh coffee, roasted with love in small batches, for Wuppertal and the surrounding area."

Photo of the inside of a Kivamo Cafe with the owner family.

At Kivamo, you can choose among 13 coffee varieties with detailed information on origin and processing. The quality of the coffee plays the key role—a strong, familiar corporate branding with local roots has proven to be a success. 

Branding Terms [Top 5]

By now, you know what branding is, why it is important and what forms it can take. To complete your journey, we have prepared a brief branding glossary with the five most important terms.

1. Corporate Identity

Corporate Identity (CI) are all the characteristics defining the image of a company and setting it apart from the competition. 

CI consists of three important elements:

  • Corporate Design - The visual appearance of the entire company.
  • Corporate Culture - A certain set of values and rules that the company embodies.
  • Corporate Communication - The communication style with which a company presents itself. The term tone of voice has become established here.

Branding is a formative part of corporate identity, however, the two terms are not interchangeable. Branding emphasizes products and customer experience, while corporate identity also focuses on self-image and internal corporate culture.

2. Brand Ambassador

A brand ambassador is a person who promotes a brand. The difference between a brand ambassador and a testimonial is that a brand ambassador does not engage in staged, bold advertising. The brand is naturally integrated on social media and shown in its everyday use.

There are three different types of brand ambassadors:

  1. Paid – Celebrities are engaged in a paid partnership to promote the brand on social media platforms.
  2. Unpaid (Voluntary) – Influencers or die-hard fans speak up for your brand on social media, generating value.
  3. Internal – Internal team members publicly promote the brand, e.g. from management. Here it is particularly important to follow binding social media guidelines to ensure a consistent brand presence.

Another term worth mentioning here is brand advocacy aka. the promotion of a brand through word-of-mouth marketing. Fact is that consumers trust the opinion of other consumers, therefore, you need to ensure that your brand, products, and services are being positively perceived by others. 

A phone on a pink stripped background with speech bubbles popping out.

3. Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is the brand recognition of a company. It can be measured and is calculated by the percentage of respondents who can remember a particular brand. After a targeted (digital) branding campaign, for example, it can be useful to measure the success or failure by means of brand awareness

4. Brand Asset Management

Today, companies need to be present on as many channels as possible at the same time, both online and offline. This requires many different digital assets, such as images or videos, which are organized as sensibly as possible. The technical term for this is brand asset management. Here, all assets relevant to branding are stored and structured centrally, for example with a media asset management software.

5. Brand Equity

Brand equity is the brand value of a company. It is important because a brand has an intangible but very important share in the company's value creation. For this reason, brand equity is also expressed in a monetary value

It enables you to compare the branding campaigns of different companies. You have to keep in mind that there are many different approaches on how to evaluate a brand and that brand equity can differ greatly depending on the calculation model.

The key component of brand equity is brand credibility. It can provide significant value to your business, as credible brands have more chances of building loyal relationships and bouncing back from a crisis.

Protecting Your Brand

Unsurprisingly, due to the monetary importance of brand management, executives are becoming increasingly concerned with this practice. The challenge is, managing the complexities of a brand, particularly on a global scale, isn’t an easy task.

The combination of 24/7 news cycles and always-on social media channels have created a noisy and volatile landscape. We now live in a world where brand reputation can be made or slayed in a tweet, causing reputational events to become twice as costly for companies.

Today, even the smallest friction can spark and grow into a crisis as millions can view, comment, and share conversations brands and customers are having.

Being able to respond to a crisis effectively is crucial for companies to maintain a positive brand image, reputation, and of course, to not lose their customer base. The speed at which you respond to an unfolding crisis situation will shape how the media and consumers perceive your brand, this is when social listening becomes so important.

Crisis Identification

It’s worth keeping in mind that while things may look bad for your brand at face value, they might not be as rough as you think. For example, not every customer complaint made on Twitter or every rumor speculated on constitutes a crisis.

A pink bomb with a pink background

Let the data guide you before choosing if and what you respond. Thankfully we have plenty of tools at our fingertips that can be used to keep up with what’s going on and tell us when it’s time to shift into crisis mode. The Meltwater platform is one tool that can be used to help us identify crises, providing insight into key metrics such as:

  • Influencer Participation
  • Trending Keywords
  • Sentiment
  • Duration
  • Engagement

Learn more about protecting your brand in our latest whitepaper, The Social Media ROI Playbook!

Managing Your Brand On A Global Scale

Global brand management is built around the idea of creating a single global strategy that can be replicated across local markets. Companies with an international presence have long discussed whether to localize or adapt strategies, but global brand management stretches far beyond the “glocalization” debate.

Global brand managers are responsible for the concept and execution of strategy, coordinating processes by ensuring alignment and integration of countries, vendors, and partners, and creating organizational structures that support collaboration.

Data Integration

Data integration can be a headache for global teams using multiple vendors across geographically dispersed environments. Brands often pay the ultimate price for lack of integration: siloed data.

Data silos have a negative knock-on effect on alignment, collaboration, productivity, and the ability to gain a single and holistic view of campaigns and the customer experience. In fact, Forrester found that the number one factor preventing marketers from capturing a single source of truth for their marketing and media campaign performance was the lack of integration of global marketing analytics tools. The same Forrester study found that twice as many marketers outperformed revenue goals by more than 10% when their marketing analytics tools were said to be well-integrated.

An example of a data visualisation dashboard

To help drive data integration, many organizations lean on APIs. An API is used to transfer data from one application to another. In short, it helps tools to talk to each other without the end-user having to code anything extra. For example, Meltwater’s API helps brands extract, contextualize, organize and integrate information from across social media and blend this with their internal data (sales, customer insights, etc.). The result? A 360-degree overview of their business and ecosystem, the ability to map out customer journeys, and the insights needed to enhance customer experience and brand perception at their fingertips.

Learn more about driving data integration for your global brand in our latest whitepaper, The Social Media ROI Playbook!

How to Measure Your Brand's Success

Last but not least, you should get familiar with the common methods that can be used to measure brand awareness.

  1. Opinion Research - Surveys conducted by phone, mail, or directly on websites can be used to measure brand awareness as part of a statistical survey.
  2. Website data - Tools such as Google Search Console can be used to measure how many users land on your website via Google and how you rank for specific keywords on Google. SEO tools like ahrefs also allow you to compare your performance in search engines with that of your competitors.
  3. Search volume - With the Google Ads Keyword Planner you can analyze how many times people are searching for a certain term in Google (on average and per month).  This makes it easy to determine the overall search volume of branded keywords.
  4. Social Listening - Especially on social media, people talk a lot about brands and you can use this to your advantage. With social listening tools such as the one from Meltwater, discussions can be tracked and summarized depending on the social media platform. This creates a meaningful picture of your brand on social media.

If you want to learn more about the Meltwater Brand Management Solution and about how it can help you improve your branding efforts, below and get a free tour.

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