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What are the 4 steps of strategic brand management?

What are the 4 steps of strategic brand management?

Brand management features as one of the constant concepts under the umbrella of brand, whose definition, boundaries and methods have been frequently questioned over the years with the new norms brought about by the digital age and the habits shifting to the online environment. Truly, why managers regard brand management still as a critical business process in a world focused on performance and data and develop strategies in this regard? Let's embark on a voyage with us, Online PR Service B2Press, around the basic concepts of strategic brand management and branding with reference to academic references.

The fast-paced digital age displaced the traditional brand conceptions and replaced them with new ones just as swiftly, yet brand management stands out as one of the concepts that marketing professionals and brand managers have not compromised. Well then, what are the characteristics that render brand management processes so strategic in view of the fact that it needs to be designed with comprehensive strategies according to numerous sector experts?  Providing services such as distribution of press releases, content creation, etc. to help brands to reach out to the public to share their messages in line with their brand strategies, Online PR Service B2Press will explain, in this article, the relationship between brand management and strategy after answering the question of "What is strategic brand management?". Under the title of "4 steps of strategic brand management", which have acquired its place in the academic literature and have been adopted throught the sector, we will aim to help you find the optimum route in your journey in the light of concepts such as brand marketing, brand value, brand hierarchy, etc.  

At the outset, we would like to give the floor to Jean-Noel Kapferer, the author of the book The New Strategic Brand Management - Creating and Sustaining Brand Equity Long Term, who is known as one the most prominent figures in the communication and marketing sectors in France. Because, examining behavior, views, and images as an expert in the field of psychosociology, rightly draws attention to the following matter:

"Today, all business managers need to have attended conferences on customer relations management (CRM), relationship marketing, customer database and proximity marketing. All these new tools criticize the old brand concept, claiming that it does not matter to gain new customers and that one should be serving the most profitable customers. However, managers continue to participate in the brand management conferences. Well then, why managers have not been convinced that brand management is an outdated tool? Because they learned that all these useful techniques have the potential to create competitive advantage in a very short time."

It is not truly possible to summarize here all the aspects of this long book. However, we can discern from the introductory paragraph that Kapferer's approach to brand management is as the following: Without brand equity, the functionality of the tools and methods grounding on efficiency and usefulness becomes short-lived. At this point, one needs a more strategic approach to build brand equity, i.e. brand management.

What is strategic brand management?

Strategic brand management is the process of generating, measuring, and managing brand equity, brand recognition, and brand existence to increase revenues, which is the basic objective of a business, and to achieve long-term goals. Transformation of a company into a brand becomes possible by adopting a strategic approach at each and every point of contact with customers or business partners from the quality of products and services to the presentation of these products and services, from pioneering the sector to sales success, and from creating consumer loyalty to development of business processes. On one level, strategic brand management occupies a critical position for ensuring brand recognition and improving customer relations. Because brand management assumes the following functions when considered from a strategic point of view:

  • Determination of factors affecting target market and buying behavior
  • Generation of a brand identity in line with the brand's market image
  • Ensuring compliance of brand identity with new targets while changing business targets
  • Effective reflection of the value offered by products and services to target audience
  • Reaching out to customers with the brand's messages via online PR facilities such as media tools and press bulletins.
  • Generation and measurement of brand equity

Why is strategic brand management important?

According to Kapferer, strong brands stand out with their intense emotional components. The basic objective focused on also by strategic brand management is to develop a unique brand identity and establish a sound emotional connection with customers by drawing the boundaries of distinctive characteristics differentiating the brand from others.

Brands are changeable, marketing and communication methods are changeable, channels and media tools are changeable, customer expectations, demands and needs are also changeable.

At this point, brand management needs to be designed strategically from the first day of initiating the brand management process. Defining a blend of strategic approaches putting forth long-term distinctive characteristics of brands, strategic brand management is crucial to generating dynamic brands in the face of changes and ensuring flexibility and agility.

Basic benefits of strategic brand management may be summarized in a few sentences as the following:

  • It develops the brand's perception, which means increased sales potential and more recognizability.
  • It generates memorability, customer loyalty and brand equity.
  • It differentiates the brand from its competitors by furnishing it with unique characteristics or revealing such characteristics.
  • It enhances the efficiency of brand marketing.
  • It is significant in terms of being an employer brand, strengthens the commitment of employee candidates and current personnel to the company.
  • It strengthens brands in the face of the changes in the market. For example, developments such as the global pandemic may turn the market balances upside-down, or crises targeting companies may threaten all the endeavors carried out for brand perception.  Strategic brand management requires one to be ready and prepared for any crisis situation so that brands may go through every crisis and exceptional circumstance they face with minimum damage.

Four steps of strategic brand management

Boundaries and conceptual solutions of strategic brand management are outlined in the literature in four stages. Consecutive and intertwined steps of strategic brand management are important for the process to be established from scratch and carried out in line with the plans and to increase the effectiveness of such plans' implementation.

1. Brand positioning: Brand positioning is to decide the discourses to be used in order to determine the unique value of a brand and to convince the consumer. The phases implemented in this step are linking the brand with various concepts such as soundness, endurance, and accessibility by using cognitive maps, determining the short sentences and discourses explaining the brand's spirit, and creating a brand hierarchy including the parent brand and its sub-brands.

2. Brand marketing: In the brand marketing phase, the positioning studies and strategic designs are implemented in a way to generate measurable outputs. Brand identity is designed in the light of the determined brand positioning, brand discourses start to be materialized on writen materials. Slogans are produced in the light of the determined brand equity chain, and brand communication studies are initiated.

3. Brand performance: The phase in which brand marketing implementations are measured and where the results which may perhaps require starting from scratch, i.e. from the brand positioning, is called brand performance. As the evaluation of the brand's position in the market in comparison with its current competitors, the brand audit may be considered among the tools and methods that can be used for performance measurement alongside the brand follow-up and brand monitoring studies regarding how the brand is mentioned and discussed in social media or digital environment.

4. Brand equity: As we mentioned earlier, since brands are dynamic structures, volatile market conditions may impact on brand recognition. Brand equity is the phase where the result obtained from the previous three items and the characterized differences are preserved and maintained. Transforming strategic brand management into a growth tool, this step requires making marketing decisions to guide brand equity and to take tactical steps with a view to strengthening brand image in the view of consumers. Today's sensitive customers may swiftly transform their behavior and attitudes toward brands and even a small crisis may be sufficient for occurrence of such a situation. Brands that prioritize transparency and openness in their strategic communication approaches to preserve brand equity may ensure the continuance of the loyalty relationship established with their customers.

A magic tool that may be used in four steps of strategic brand management: Online PR

Even though ages elapse, media tools diversify, and consumers' methods to access content, brands and media transform, some tools succeed in maintaining their initial value. Yes, we are talking about online PR which defines a more dynamic and agile version of traditional public relations adapted to the digital age. Brands may take advantage of the facilities provided by online PR and the tools and methods such as press releases, interviews and content production in all four steps implemented within the framework of strategic brand management studies.

For example, in the brand positioning phase, initial discourses determined for the brand may be contained as studies of press release or private interview in reliable media resources by using leader communication strategies. When implemented consistently, this method is effective in generating cognitive maps for brands, and it may be used in the processes requiring brand marketing such as new product announcement. Brands may reach out to large masses with new products' main characteristics and added value via press releases.

Press releases transform into measurable communication tools with the development of digital media and media monitoring possibilities, and hence how much the press and customers buy such discourses, messages and slogans may be obtained from such brand performance measurements. As a result, press release distribution, special news studies, and content production processes carried out by using earned or owned media channels may be useful for maintaining brand equity in the long term and leaving a memorable image of the brand in customers' minds via various concepts.

Entrust your online PR processes to B2Press

Do you intend to learn more about the topic although this academically intense article has given you an idea about it? With its powerful team, Online PR Service B2Press is ready to answer all your questions on matters such as branding, generating brand strategy, achieving brand visibility and the role of content in strategic brand management.

As Online PR Service B2Press, we carry messages of tens of companies from Turkey and the world to their target audiences via media channels with localized content in tens of languages in more than 30 countries. With our experience in B2B and B2C sectors, we understand the outputs desired to be retrieved from online and print media by brands, and explain brands' stories with carefully selected words. As Online PR Service providing services such as press release distribution, content creation, website text writing, content strategy, and social media content creation, we are cognizant of the DNA of the digital world and the needs of a digital brand.

Having been generated with the understanding that traditional PR approaches remain cumbersome and often dysfunctional in the age of internet and in the face of changing media dynamics, our service model achieves to respond to the common demands of small-scale enterprises, non-governmental organizations and corporate structures with affordable budgets. Pay-per-use model offers an attractive model meeting expectations in the market in more than 30 countries for everyone who would like to improve media relations. Online PR Service B2Press is unique with its broad media network in the markets it operates in and its abilities to ensure visibility in digital media addressing brands' strategic plans via international news agency agreements. Please fill out the form on this page to get to know B2Press better, learn first-hand information about its services, and explore the potential benefits that we can provide you with so that we can contact you in this regard.

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