A guest blog

Mention the term ‘Brand Management’, and most busy business owners will probably groan at the thought of yet another ‘ball’ to juggle. But what exactly is it, and how important is it for the success of your growing business?

Brand management is about maintaining and developing your products and services, with the goal of improving how your brand is viewed by your customers.

Done well, effective brand management increases customer loyalty and raises awareness of your brand. It helps to create a relationship with your customers, which invariably increases your bottom line as a result, and helps your brand to scale up and grow.

When initially setting up a business, a lot of focus is directed at creating your brand – but this is just the first part of an ongoing process of brand management.

So to have continued success and growth, a business needs to ensure that they consistently deliver powerful and effective branding.

Here’s my top three strategies to help you do just that – and their associated principles that you absolutely need to know:

  1. Get organised

One crucial element of brand management taps into the philosophy of brand recognition – specifically, how easy it is for audiences to identify your brand without actually hearing or seeing the brand name itself?

Brand recognition is super important, as it signals to your customer when they see one of your products or services – resulting in a higher chance for purchase. If you’ve ever seen an advert on the TV and instantly knew what brand was behind it without seeing the name, then you, my friend, are experiencing brand recognition in action! It’s a very powerful thing to create that connection with your customers, and something all brands should continually strive for through organised and consistent use of the visual elements of their brand.

A brand can have a huge number of visual assets including logos, colour scheme, packaging, layouts, slogans, typography and more. For a consistent approach that leads to that Holy Grail of brand management – instant customer recognition – it’s essential to use your business’s visual assets correctly, and without exception.

A set of guidelines and rules to ensure that they stay relevant and consistent across different mediums and challenges is vital here, as is an easily accessible library where your brand assets are listed and organised. I promise you that the list of brand elements will only grow as your business does, so it’s never too early to get on top of this one! There are so many useful apps and platforms to help with this, all whilst backing-up your most valuable files (another key thing to consider!). Our personal favourites here at Paper HQ are Trello and Google Docs.

Check out C is for Consistency for more practical ideas!

  1. Messaging on point

Brand reputation is another vital element to growing a notable and profitable business. A highly regarded brand has increased value, since customers learn to trust the brand over their perception of the goods or services themselves. A solid reputation gives businesses the opportunity to increase their prices with confidence, knowing that their customers will still be more likely to buy from the brand than not.

An effective brand’s messaging influences and inspires their customers, giving them good reason to purchase over perceived ‘lesser’ competitors. Ensure that the words you use tell a story, generating customer excitement and making them an ally. Figure out your product’s USP (Unique Selling Point) and turn it into a powerful key message to use as the backbone of all your marketing activities. You’ll need to understand your audience wholeheartedly to do this well, and once established, remember to continually evaluate new projects and campaigns to ensure that the messaging is on point – in the correct tone and in-line with your brand’s personality. Make sure ‘It’s the Real Thing’, as our refreshing, favourite soft drink brand might say!

  1. You don’t earn loyalty in a day

How would you currently describe your customer’s loyalty towards your business? Are they a devoted bunch, faithfully aligned to your particular brand over your competitors? Or are their heads likely to be turned by a better price or alternative service? Brand loyalty is a powerful tool that must be carefully nurtured at all times, and ensures that your customers prefer to buy your products and service based solely on their allegiance to your brand.

“You don’t earn loyalty in a day. You earn loyalty day-by-day.” – Jeffrey Gitomer

Don’t forget, your adoring fan-base often will become your biggest brand supporters, leading to other associated benefits such as word-of-mouth advertising. Nowhere is word-of-mouth more prolific than on social media – these people can become some of your most influential (yet often underestimated) brand assets.

Build a strategy to nurture and engage with your brand’s fans regularly across your business’s social platforms, helping to build that elusive and hard-won customer loyalty. As with all things brand management and social media, a consistent approach is essential; remember to regularly and reliably show up for your customers, all whilst ensuring that your messaging and visuals demonstrate your brand’s personality, and reflects your company ideals and values. Is your brand known for its humorous and laid-back TikTok videos? Then creating a new serious YouTube channel could be inappropriate, and alienate your fanbase.

Keeping the above tips in mind will serve your brand’s development and growth well. It is, however, only one piece of the puzzle; a successful brand manager will also continually evaluate their branding endeavours, assessing their success in engaging with their audience, and being prepared to change it when necessary. Only this will ensure that you aren’t left behind with a formally successful brand – while your competitors enjoy connecting to your potential future customers as a result.

A huge thank you to Cara Green, Creative Director at The Little Paper Shop for this blog.

Do check out The Little Paper Shop online, our favourite place to go for stationery, gifts and creative courses!