What Is Brand Management?

Brand management is a function of marketing that uses techniques to increase the perceived value of a product line or brand over time. Effective brand management enables the price of products to go up and builds loyal customers through positive brand associations and images or a strong awareness of the brand.

Developing a strategic plan to maintain brand equity or gain brand value requires a comprehensive understanding of the brand, its target market, and the company's overall vision.

How Brand Management Works

Brands have a powerful influence on customer engagement, competition in the markets, and the management of a company. A strong brand presence in the market differentiates a company’s products from its competitors and creates brand affinity for a company’s products or services.

A brand that has been established has to continually maintain its brand image through brand management. Effective brand management increases brand awareness, measures and manages brand equity, drives initiatives that support a consistent brand message, identifies and accommodates new brand products, effectively positions the brand in the market, etc.

[Important: A brand manager’s role is to analyze how a brand is perceived in the market.]

It takes years to establish a brand, but when it finally occurs, it has to still be maintained through innovation and creativity. Notable brands that have established themselves as leaders in their respective industries over the years include Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Microsoft, IBM, Procter & Gamble, CNN, Disney, Nike, Ford, Lego, and Starbucks.

Examples of Brand Management

Seeing a gecko reminds one of Geico Insurance which uses the reptile in most of its advertising campaigns. Similarly, the Coca-Cola jingle "It’s the Real Thing," which first aired in 1971 as a TV commercial that featured people of different races and cultures, is still branded on the vocal cords of Coca-Cola consumers.

A brand does not only need to be tied to one product. One brand could cover different products or services. Ford, for example, has multiple auto models under the Ford brand. Likewise, a brand name can take on multiple brands under its umbrella.

For example, Procter & Gamble has multiple brands under its brand name, such as Ariel laundry detergent, Charmin tissue, Bounty paper towels, Dawn dishwashing liquid, and Crest toothpaste.

Benefits of a Brand Manager

A brand manager is tasked with managing the tangible and intangible properties of a brand. The tangible aspects of a company’s brand include the product(s), price, packaging, logo, associated colors, and lettering format.

A brand manager’s role is to analyze how a brand is perceived in the market by taking the intangible elements of a brand into account. Intangible factors include the experience that the consumers have had with the brand and their emotional connection with the product or service. The intangible characteristics of a brand build brand equity.

Brand equity is the price above the product’s value that consumers are willing to pay to acquire the brand. Brand equity is an internally generated intangible asset in which its value is ultimately decided by consumers’ perception of the brand. If consumers are willing to pay more for a brand than a generic brand that performs the same functions, the brand equity will increase in value. On the other hand, the value of brand equity falls when consumers would rather purchase a similar product that costs less than the brand.

Brand management involves not only creating a brand but also understanding what products could fit under the brand of a company. A brand manager always has to keep its target market in mind when conceiving new products to take on the company’s brand or working with analysts to decide what companies to merge with or acquire.

The difference between brand management success and failure comes down to ongoing innovation. A brand manager that continuously seeks innovative ways to maintain the quality of a brand will retain its loyal consumers and gain more brand affinity, compared to one that is content with the current good name of the company’s brand.

Key Takeaways

  • A brand manager ensures the innovation of a product or brand, creating brand equity via the use of price, packaging, logo, associated colors, and lettering format.
  • Brand management is a function of marketing that uses techniques to increase the perceived value of a product line or brand over time.
  • Brand equity makes the difference between a consumer purchasing a known brand's product over a generic brand product that carries a lower price point.