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What is brand management?


As marketers, understanding the basics of brand management is imperative. Brand management is the strategy and analysis behind how the public perceives your brand.

It is a challenge to stay true to your product, mix it up with the consumer insights about the brand, and to ultimately come up with the right formula for your brand’s perception.

To illustrate, I’ll use the data and insights I’ve gathered for an Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) Campaign I designed for a (fictional) airline company.

This data and the details about the airline are examples to help you better understand this concept.

Know Your Product Truth

Product truth is the basic essence of your product. It is the need your product answers. As the brand manager, you should know the intrinsic value and overall makeup of the brand you manage.

After all, how can you sell something you don’t understand? Here are a few sample questions you should be able to answer: Why should consumers buy my product? What is the main competitive advantage that sets my product apart from similar products? What need does my product satisfy?

I’ll explain more using the IMC campaign I’ve created for our airline brand.

All airlines have a similar job – to transport a passenger from point A to point B.

So the main challenge is we want to set our airline apart from the rest. First, we identified the niche we wanted to target. Since we were able to identify early on that we are a luxury airline, and not a budget airline, our main competitive advantage is that our airline provides luxury, premium services to its passengers. We provide gourmet snacks, unlimited champagne onboard, and VIP customer service. Usually, a vacation starts when you reach the destination right? But we want our passengers to immediately relax and enjoy, the moment they step on our plane.

Usually, a vacation starts when you reach the destination, right? But we want our passengers to immediately relax and enjoy the moment they step on our plane.

I have formulated a statement to encapsulate this truth:

Airline XYZ is a leisure airline that provides premium customer service throughout a convenient and stress-free journey. 

It is on point, states what the brand is, what need it answers, and the competitive advantage the brand has that sets it apart from its competitors.

Defining this truth for your brand is just the first step. Next, you need to integrate it with how your customers perceive your brand.

Get In-Depth Consumer Insight

To know how customers perceive the brand, we’ve ‘conducted’ research to understand what their insights are about our made up airline. Here are some of the findings:

  • Even though the airline brand is the newest in the market, 60% have awareness of the brand
  • 46% fly with our brand because of its premium customer service
  • 92% of those who have not tried our airline brand are willing to try

We wanted to measure the level of awareness the consumers have of our brand. And, at least 60% of polled consumers had heard of our brand! As a new airline, with competitors who have more than 10-40 years in the market, this is a good measure of how well the brand can penetrate the airline industry.

46% of the airline’s passengers choose to fly with us because of the premium customer service that we provide. This is consistent with the product truth stated above – that the airline brand provides premium customer service.

Another promising consumer insight is 92% of the respondents are willing to try the airline, which is very reassuring, and motivating, to say the least. It also poses a very good metric of how well the market can be penetrated.

Now that we know how the public views our brand and how we want to portray our brand, we need to put these two together.

Formulate a Clear ‘Big Idea’

The Big Idea is the product truth + consumer insights. Based on the product truth and consumer findings above, we can then come up with our Big Idea that should be the driver behind how we portray ourselves.

Airline XYZ takes you to your dream destination through a guaranteed stress-free journey.

Our big idea states what our brand is, and combines that with how the market perceives it. This Big Idea will then be mirrored in all marketing communications, and should consistently be conveyed in the product positioning, and messaging.

Roll Out Cohesive IMC Recommendations

The Big Idea will then be rolled out to various communication channels where the target audience is. Based on the initial research, the target market’s media profile are in the tri-media, and new media channels. Traditional advertising media should be included—print, tv, and radio, together with new media channels such as social media, and online digital marketing activities.

Traditional advertising media should be included in this—print, tv, and radio, together with new media channels such as social media, and online digital marketing activities. Both old and new channels should echo the same, consistent message.

What is Brand Fascination?

Formulating an integrated marketing communications for a brand, like the one I laid out here, requires extensive research. A proper and effective strategy should also be employed. One good measure is to assess how your product or service is most likely to captivate customers is through brand fascination.

If you can find a way to make your brand fascinating by hooking people’s attention so they can’t stop thinking or talking about your brand, then you have a massive competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace.

Marketers must realize that, as Sally Hogshead says, “Being different is better than being better.” The brands that are most successful are those who are different. That difference is the greatest competitive advantage you can have.



by Meg Cabrera

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