In today's fiercely competitive market, companies are known by their brands. McDonalds, Coke, Toyota, etc., are just few of the examples of how branding can change the fortune of a company. Brand management should be a high priority for every company that aims to develop a brand identity and create a loyal base of customers. With the advent of social media, new avenues of brand management are available to companies, and today, there is an increased interaction between consumers and companies. Several researchers who have followed the right way of brand management, have stressed on the need for investing time, effort, and capital to create a unique identity for itself.
Initiatives for Effective Brand Management
Know your strengths and capitalize on them
Every company is unique and has its own strengths and weaknesses. It is very important for a brand to know its strengths - the qualities that set it apart from others. Rather than embarking on a holistic approach towards brand management, a company should pitch its products in such a manner that it reflects the company's outlook. For instance, Adidas, one of the largest footwear companies in the world, goes by the tagline - "Impossible is nothing". Given the fact that the company mainly caters to the sportsperson, its brand is built on a strong message of perseverance, determination and positive attitude. This is one of the prime reasons why its adverts feature top sportspeople.
Deliver on your promises
It is very important that you deliver on what you promise to your customers. Advertisements, marketing campaigns and promotions would be of no good use if your product is not up to the expectations. It takes a lot of time for a company to build a brand and leniency on your part can seriously hamper all the efforts. It is important that you as a company stay true to your word and deliver quality products to your customers.
Be consistent with your quality
One of the biggest mistakes that companies make is taking the customers for granted. A brand which has created a niche for itself can't rest on its past laurels to sustain in the marketplace. It has to ensure that the quality of its products does not deteriorate over the years. A classic example of this is the denim brand Levi's Strauss & Co. They have been credited with being the founding fathers of denim, and were the first ones to make the first pants out of denim way back in 1853. Since then, a lot of denim-making companies have come up, but Levi's has stood rock solid, and continues to be one of the major players in the world.
Keep reinventing your brand
As a company, you have to always keep in mind that the world does not need to fall in place with your brand, rather you need to be innovative by gauging the mood of the consumers and the changing trends in your domain. Resistance to this can harm your company as the makers of Nokia, the Finnish company that makes the most number of mobile phones in the world, would tell you. It could not keep itself in sync with the changing trends in the smartphone industry, whereas the likes of Samsung, HTC, Motorola and LG, embraced Android, one of the popular operating systems to witness a boost in their sales. Nokia still is the world leader in the cell phone market, but many believe that it is a sinking ship, something which even the leaked memo of Stephen Elop, Nokia's CEO, acknowledged by telling his staff that we were "pouring gasoline on our own burning platform".
Ensure a great customer experience
For a brand to be respected, the after-sales experience of a customer is vital. Most companies spend a fortune on promoting their product and getting new customers on board, but fail miserably when it comes to after-sales experience. Retaining customers is as important as acquiring them and even today, people have the power to hail or harm a company through word-of-mouth feedback. It becomes imperative for a company to train their support staff and customer service efficiently to ensure that the brand image doesn't take a beating, and their loyal customers don't take their business elsewhere.
Companies should always remember that the future of brand management lies in innovation and maintaining an open and honest relationship with the consumers. To sum up, as Kenneth Blanchard opines..."A brand for a company is like a reputation for a person. You earn reputation by trying to do hard things well."