From James Bond’s favorite Bollinger Champagne to Nike’s famous “Just Do It” slogan, powerful brand marketing is all around us. Ideally, as a business, you want people to feel positive about you and the value of your products or services. One of the best ways to foster this connection is through strategic brand management.
Brand management is all about using smart marketing strategies to manage how your target audience perceives your brand. It’s a long-term approach to marketing that creates and nurtures an emotional connection with consumers. In turn, raising awareness of your brand, cementing its value, and improving your reputation over time.
Sound exciting? Let’s dive in and discover more about brand management in marketing, why it matters and how studying a Master’s in Luxury Brand Management can set you up for brand management success.
What is brand management?
Brand management involves using various marketing techniques to enhance the perceived value of your products, services, and brand over time.
By curating a strong and consistent identity through advertising, packaging, design, logos, and pricing, you can create strong brand awareness and reputation.
Effective brand management builds a bigger and more loyal customer base, ultimately driving up profits and brand equity. Today’s most iconic and credible brands are masters of brand management and know the value of investing in great branding strategies and marketing managers.
How brand management works
A brand’s identity is made up of many elements, from typography and graphics to tone of voice and color palettes. There’s a lot of thought and work that goes into creating a strong brand image and making sure it’s properly represented across all channels.
If you consider all the touchpoints of a brand, you’ll find there are numerous people that will come into contact with – or be involved with – your brand. They include salespeople, social media execs, designers, and partners. This goes for corporate branding as much as independent companies.
Brand management works by ensuring that a company has control over its brand across all of these touchpoints to retain a positive brand image and consistent brand identity.
This means having the right tools, processes, and safeguards in place to control your brand strategy across every single channel and customer contact point.
Examples of brand management in hospitality
As a highly competitive, customer-focused sector, brand management is critical in the hospitality and hotel industry. Some brand management examples include luxury hotel brands and high-end restaurants.
Luxury hotels, like Four Seasons or Shangri La, have some of the most prominent brand images in the world. This isn’t just down to a few logos; it’s every detail of the hotel’s aesthetic and customer experience, from the décor to uniforms, tone of voice, marketing ads, hotel locations, celebrity endorsements, and more.
These hotels have used brand management highly successfully and built their reputation over decades. By simply seeing their name or logo, you instantly associate it with a luxury, high-quality experience that’s worth the price tag.
Similarly, iconic restaurants like The Ritz or The Ivy haven’t landed a high-end reputation by accident. The décor, ambience, location, design, quality food, and famous clientele of their restaurants have all been carefully curated.
This has created a positive perception of these eateries over the years and encouraged customers to come back and pay for the luxurious experience time and time again.
The difference between marketing and brand management
Although brand marketing and brand management are closely connected, there is a distinct line between the two. Brand management focuses on creating the brand itself, while marketing focuses on individual marketing activities and campaigns that foster engagement and promote the brand.
Some see marketing as the “push” element, for example offering happy hour cocktails or running a “good night’s sleep” hotel campaign. This pushes the specific product (cocktails or a hotel room) to potential customers.
On the other hand, brand management is considered the “pull.” It focuses on your brand identity behind the scenes, for example, a steady stream of social media posts to build a following that indirectly draws customers to your venue or products.
Brand management is more strategic than individual marketing campaigns and should be in everything you do — from how your staff greet customers, to the suppliers you choose, the typography you use, and the photos you share.
What are the benefits of effective brand management?
Brand management does require some time and effort, but you only have to look at recognized brands like Apple, Disney, and Coca-Cola to see how it pays off. Let’s take a closer look at some of the key benefits.
1, The ability to stand out beyond the competition
Effective brand management catches attention and makes a memorable impression on consumers. It tells them what you offer and why you’re different while building credibility. In a competitive business world, it’s important to stand out. After all, you want consumers to choose you and not your competitors.
2. An increase in pricing and the value of the product
Recognized brands can charge a premium for their products and services because their customers see the value and believe they’re worth it. When your brand has a positive reputation and is associated with high-quality, trustworthy products and services, people will be willing to pay more.
3. New revenue channels
The stronger your brand identity and story, the more you’ll keep your audience engaged. This means turning more leads into paying customers and existing clients into return visitors and ambassadors for your business.
Principles of brand management
Although every company, its brand, story, and identity are unique, the same general principles apply to any brand management strategy. You’ll need all of these elements to be successful in your brand management efforts.
Brand awareness is vital if you want new and existing customers to become familiar with your brand and what you offer. Services and products that generate and maintain high levels of brand awareness are much more likely to see increased sales.
Put simply, consumers don’t like to have to think too hard when they make purchase decisions and are much more likely to buy a branded product they are familiar with.
A huge part of creating brand awareness is through social media presence. This might mean targeted ads on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, as well as using influencers and organic forms of consumer-led promotion — essentially word-of-mouth promotion in the digital sphere.
Brand awareness is also about responding well to negative reviews online (these do inevitably happen from time to time). As well as using other forms of advertising, like newspapers, magazines, billboards, sponsorships and point-of-sale marketing.
Brand equity is all about creating value through your reputation and perceptions of your brand. When customers trust your brand, they’ll see your products and services as more valuable. In other words, if people think highly of your brand, then it has positive brand equity.
This gives you the opportunity to increase your prices because customers are willing to pay for the value you bring. That’s why a consumer would be willing to pay twice the price for a recognizable branded product, for example, Evian water, compared to cheaper, nameless bottled water.
Loyalty involves devotion and brand loyalty is no different. With brand loyalty, customers are dedicated to your brand and will continuously choose your products and services over your competitors.
Unlike customer loyalty, brand loyalty doesn’t mean your customers are loyal to any particular product or service because of its quality, it means they’ll buy any of your products or services based solely on their devotion to your brand.
For example, a traveler needs a place to stay and chooses a Hilton Hotel because of their dedication to customer service over the years. This has nothing to do with the quality of the particular hotel itself but is related to the loyalty a customer can feel to a familiar and trustworthy brand.
Brand recognition focuses on how easily identifiable your brand is without hearing or seeing its name. Typically this might be a logo, slogan, color scheme, audio sound, or even a jingle.
Think of the Nike tick, the Netflix intro noise, or Disney’s mickey mouse ears. These are all instantly recognizable. If what you’re selling is physical, product branding is also key to the success of your efforts;
Brand recognition is crucial because it signals familiarity when consumers see or hear your product, making it more likely that they’ll make a purchase. Brand recognition can be an incredibly powerful tool that creates a connection with your customer base.
It’s no surprise that brand reputation is a vital component of any company’s success. Your reputation is how your customers, stakeholders, competitors, and the general public perceive you.
A positive brand reputation comes from all of the associations people make with your brand and their experience with it. This includes the perceived quality of your services and products, customer reviews, positive (or negative) experiences shared on social media, how you treat your employees, media coverage, and public relations.
When you have a positive brand reputation you’re generally thought of as an honest, trustworthy, credible, and desirable company. Customers, clients, and employees who interact with you feel positive about it and good about being associated with your products and services.
Gain real-world marketing experience with a Master’s in luxury brand management
At Les Roches, we believe in fully preparing our students for the real world. That’s why we invest in on-the-job training through our international work placements and internships.
You’ll gain all the academic theory and practical skills needed to work effectively in any high-end hospitality and marketing setting – things like leadership, business strategy, people management, and digital marketing skills.
As a program that teaches theory and practical know-how applicable to many industries, it also offers great flexibility to pursue many business-related and hospitality careers. So, whether you head into luxury management, hotel management, or another hospitality management role, you’ll have the first-rate marketing skills to help any business grow and succeed.
With a master’s from Les Roches, you’ll learn all the essential management skills and marketing techniques to help any business reach its full potential.