Brand Management: What It Is, How to Apply It & Tools to Use

Brand Management: What It Is, How to Apply It & Tools to Use

Mahnoor Sheikh

Written by:
Mahnoor Sheikh

Just like a human being, your brand has a personality and a story of its own. The way you tell that story to your customers is what brand management is all about.

But brand management is more than just maintaining your brand. It's also about growing it, nurturing it and helping it build a relationship with the outside world.

In this post, we'll help you understand everything about brand management.

From the basic definition to the brand management principles, the brand assets to create, and the top brand management software out there, you'll learn about it all.

Let's get started.

 

Table of Contents

What is Brand Management?

4 Brand Management Principles to Consider

12 Types of Brand Assets You Need to Manage

4 Best Brand Management Software to Use

 

What is Brand Management?

Brand management is the process of increasing the perceived value of your product or company in a way that it helps build brand awareness, equity and loyalty.

Most people confuse brand management with branding. The key difference between the two is that while branding involves building an identity and effectively communicating it, brand management involves consistently monitoring and maintaining that identity.

If done right, brand management can help you:

  • Increase your sales
  • Boost customer loyalty
  • Spread positive word-of-mouth
  • Influence purchase decisions
  • Scale your business
  • Survive a crisis

Just like your company, your brand does not function in isolation. It can be affected by various factors, such as changing consumer trends, new technology, competitor advertising and even economic conditions or political events.

Similarly, a brand can’t be managed in isolation. Brand management is not just a “job” for the marketing department. It requires all your departments, from production to sales to marketing to accounting, to be on the same page.

Brand management requires managing two kinds of elements:

  • The tangibles
  • The intangibles

The tangible elements of brand management are what your audience can see from the outside, i.e. the look and feel of the brand. This mainly includes your brand assets, which we will discuss in more detail below.

The intangible elements of brand management are what helps you measure your brand’s success. We often refer to these intangible elements as the “principles of brand management.”

 

4 Brand Management Principles to Consider

Like we discussed above, the principles of brand management are the intangible aspects of any brand. These include brand awareness, brand reputation, brand equity and brand loyalty.

All four of these brand management principles are connected to each other in one way or another. For example, increased brand awareness can help improve brand reputation.

Similarly, higher brand loyalty can have a direct and positive impact on brand equity.

Below, we will discuss the four brand management principles that will help you evaluate and measure the success of your brand.

 

Principle #1: Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is the first step in your customer’s journey. It’s the level of familiarity and recognition your target audience has with your brand’s logo, name and overall identity.

Brand awareness is important for your product’s sales. If people aren’t aware that your brand exists, how are they going to buy it?

Throughout history, there have been some brands who managed to reach such great heights of brand awareness that they became a symbol for the type of product itself.

Think Kleenex for tissue paper. Pampers for baby diapers. Or Coke for cola drinks.

But let’s be realistic — not every brand manages to reach this pinnacle of awareness. And that’s okay, because people asking for similar products by your brand name isn’t the only way to measure brand awareness.

Brand awareness success can be measured in various ways, such as:

  • Customers have knowledge about your business, products or services
  • Customers choosing your brand over other cheaper options
  • The number of monthly searches for your brand name

So, how can you build brand awareness for your own product or business?

Some people think that plastering your logo on billboards all over town is a guaranteed way to increase brand awareness. But that’s not necessarily true.

Exposure is not the only way to build brand awareness. You also need to make sure that customers remember you long after they encounter your brand.

This can be done by crafting a unique brand voice, choosing a distinctive, eye-catching brand identity that resonates with your audience and being present at just the right places.

Content marketing, for example, can help you increase brand awareness by offering customers information about your brand and how it can add value to their lives.

 

Principle #2: Brand Reputation

Brand reputation is how your customers perceive the quality or character of your brand.

Just because everyone knows about your brand doesn’t mean your brand has a good reputation.

You could have high brand awareness and a low brand reputation at the same time — a deadly combination that can have customers proactively avoid buying your product.

Building a strong and positive brand reputation is key to the success of your business. Your brand loyalty, equity and even your sales depend on it.

Brand reputation can be influenced by various factors, both internal and external.

Things like hiring processes, company culture, brand advertisements, customer reviews, product quality and even customer service can impact your brand’s reputation.

Back in 2017, Dove faced a huge PR disaster when it posted a three-second video clip on Facebook that many people deemed “racially insensitive.”

The beauty brand deleted the video and published apology statements across several social media channels, including Twitter and Facebook.

The scandal above was the result of a single social media ad, but it was all it took to tarnish Dove’s brand reputation, possibly forever.

This is why it’s so important for brands to maintain a favorable reputation. Here are some things you can do to achieve that for your own brand:

Brand reputation also ties in directly with brand loyalty. Maintaining a consistently good reputation can help build trust and confidence in your customers, which leads to higher loyalty.

 

Principle #3: Brand Equity

Brand equity is the intangible, perceived amount of value that’s attached to your product, service or company in the minds of the customers.

This mostly results from your customers’ experiences with your brand and the kind of associations they form around it.

Some examples of brands with high brand equity are Apple, Coca-Cola, Nike and Audi.

Positive brand equity makes it easier to charge higher prices. Why? Because customers are willing to pay a premium for products they perceive to be more valuable.

Another advantage of building brand equity is it helps deliver a higher ROI. These brands don’t need to spend as much on advertising as their competitors.

Plus, it helps when you launch a new product. Positive brand equity can often get transferred to a different product line, which results in more sales and revenue for the business.

High brand equity can also put you in a favorable position in front of investors and shareholders.

One of the most popular models of brand equity was introduced by Kevin Lane Keller in his book Strategic Brand Management.

According to Keller’s Brand Equity Model, there are four steps to building a successful brand with positive brand equity.

  • Brand Identity: Establish who you are as a brand by identifying your target customers, crafting your brand story and developing your brand assets.
  • Brand Meaning: Define what your brand means and what it stands for. Identify how well your product meets customers’ physical, psychological and social needs.
  • Brand Response: Identify how customers respond to your brand in terms of judgement and feelings, such as its quality and the emotions it evokes.
  • Brand Resonance: Build deeper customer relationships and emotional connections with your audience.

Now, let’s talk about the fourth principle that connects to all of the above three principles: brand loyalty.

 

Principle #4: Brand Loyalty

Brand loyalty is connected to all the other three principles above. It’s what drives repeat purchases and positive word-of-mouth, and can be achieved with a higher perceived value of your brand.

The fascinating thing about brand loyalty is that it helps you create brand ambassadors — customers who love your brand so much, they’re willing to advocate it and do the marketing for you.

In the smartphone industry, Apple is known to have one of the highest brand loyalty in the world. It’s no wonder then that Apple has an incredibly high brand equity as well.

The key to increasing your brand loyalty is to focus more on customer experience than just the product. This is where your customer service also comes into play.

Consider this. You eat a burger from two fast food chains. In one of the restaurants, you get a warm welcome, extra ketchup and a good seat. In the other one, there’s no one at the counter for several minutes while you wait for some ketchup.

Which restaurant are you more likely to visit again? The first one.

This is exactly how brand loyalty and customer service work together hand-in-hand. Exceptional customer services improves the whole experience of buying from you for the customer, and that leads to repeat purchases and raving fans.

 

12 Types of Brand Assets You Need to Manage

In this section, we’re going to look at the tangible aspects of brand management.

This mainly involves your company’s brand assets — from your logo and typeface to the style of visuals you publish online.

Before you start creating your visual brand assets, it’s important that you establish an identity for your brand. This would stem from your initial brand mission, vision, story and values.

The next step would be to list the characteristics of your brand and decide on a brand archetype.

A brand archetype is one of the 12 brand personalities identified by Carl Jung. Understanding the archetype your brand is closest to will help you better craft the visual elements to reflect that personality.

Once you’ve settled on a brand archetype, it’s time to create the visual assets for your brand.

Below are 12 types of brand assets you need to create and manage for your business.

 

Asset #1: Brand Name

Without doubt, your brand name is one of your most important assets.

A good brand name can make the difference between a customer remembering your name long after encountering it or forgetting it the very next second.

But a brand name does more than just stick in your customers’ minds. It sends a message, which helps form associations with your brand and shapes customer perception.

There are several types of brand names you can use for your business. Below is an infographic summarizing some of them.

Create your own infographic in minutes!Browse Templates

  • Founder: This type of brand name uses the actual name of the founder or owner of the company. You see this type of brand name a lot in the fashion industry. Examples include Louis Vuitton, Warby Parker and Betty Crocker.
  • Descriptive: This type of brand name describes the nature or industry of the business, or the type of product you’re selling, usually in a literal sense. Some examples include Toys “R” Us, General Motors and Bank of America.
  • Fabricated: These brand names are made up names to help represent your business in a completely unique way. Fabricated names are typically catchy and playful, and if successful, are likely to become synonymous to your product. Some examples include Kodak and Xerox.
  • Metaphor: This type of brand name uses a word, such as of a place, thing, person, animal or even an idea, as a metaphor for the business, its products or its personality. These brand names are imagery-heavy and are used to evoke certain emotions or build associations with your brand. Examples include Nike and Amazon.
  • Acronym: These brand names use abbreviations or initials instead of complete words. Businesses may choose to go with this type of brand name to be more unique and easy to remember. Examples of acronym brand names include DKNY and BMW.
  • Magic spell: This type of brand name modifies a real word to form a unique brand name, such as by altering the spelling or through wordplay. Some examples include Flickr, Tumblr and Netflix.
  • Combination: This type of brand name uses a combination of the above brand name types to form something unique. For example, this could be a combination of Metaphor and Descriptive, such as Innocent Drinks, or a combination of Magic Spell and Descriptive, such as Citibank.

Another thing to remember when choosing a brand name is to make sure it’s not already taken or trademarked. Quickly search on GoDaddy to see if a domain for your brand name is available.

You can also look up your chosen brand name on the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to see if it has already been taken.

 

Asset #2: Logo

Just like your brand name, your logo is often the first thing customers see when they’re exposed to your brand. And if you don’t make a great first impression, you might lose out.

A great logo is memorable, meaningful and timeless. It also distinguishes your brand from other players in the same niche or industry.

But remember — your logo is only a part of your brand, not the brand itself.

While it should help communicate your brand’s meaning, it doesn’t need to tell them the whole story. The purpose of your logo is to spark interest and get customers to further engage with your brand.

Here are some logo templates you can customize for your brand.

Logo Templates

Create a stunning logo online quickly and easily by getting started with one of Visme’s premade logo templates. Start a new business or work through a rebrand. Find a logo template that you can easily customize for your own business.

Before you start designing your logo, make sure you fully understand your brand vision, mission and values. Revisiting your identity is key to ensuring you’re able to capture your brand’s essence in a single graphic.

There are several types of logos you can choose to go with for your brand. Each type tells your story in a unique way, so it’s important you choose one that resonates best with your brand.

Here’s an infographic summarizing the different types of logos.

Create your own infographic in minutes!Browse Templates

  • Monogram logos: Also known as lettermarks, these logos are usually initials of relatively lengthy brand names. The purpose of using a monogram logo is to shorten the brand name so it’s easier to remember and pronounce. Examples include HBO, NASA and IBM.
  • Wordmarks: Also known as logotypes, these logos are usually typographic representations of the brand name itself. This works for brands with short and catchy names, and requires careful selection or creation of the brand font. Examples include Google, Visa and Coca-Cola.
  • Pictorial marks: These logos are also known as brand marks and logo symbols. A pictorial mark is probably what pops into your mind when you think of a logo. It’s a unique visual element, like an icon, that represents your brand. Examples include Apple and Twitter.
  • Abstract logos: This is a type of pictorial mark that’s more like an abstract geometric shape than a recognizable icon. Abstract logos are highly creative as they allow you to represent your brand and what it stands for using a truly unique symbol. Examples include Pepsi and Adidas.
  • Emblem logos: These logos consist of a visual element and your brand name bound inside a shape, such as a circle. Emblems tend to look more traditional than other logo types, and are widely used in education and the auto industry. Examples include Harley-Davidson and Starbucks.

 

Asset #3: Color Palette

The colors you choose for your brand are just as important as your logo and brand name. That’s because each color has a personality and exudes a certain emotion.

You need to choose a color palette that helps you convey your brand’s meaning in the best possible way, and evoke just the right emotions in your customers’ minds to help build positive associations.

Here’s a quick infographic on color psychology to help you choose the right colors for your brand.

Create your own infographic in minutes!Browse Templates

Choosing a powerful signature brand color can also make your brand more distinguishable, memorable and recognizable.

As humans, we make associations with brands based on color. According to research, up to 90% of product assessment made by consumers is based on colors alone.

An important thing to remember when choosing your brand colors is to stick to a process. This includes going back to the drawing board, i.e. your brand story, mission, vision and values.

It also involves creating a mood board, and trying out different variations until you arrive at something that fits with your brand.

Below is another infographic summarizing the process of choosing your brand colors. Read more about each step in our post on how to choose the right colors for your brand.

Create your own infographic in minutes!Browse Templates

 

Asset #4: Tagline

Other than the visual elements, you also need to finalize the promise of your brand.

This can easily be condensed into your brand’s tagline, or slogan, which is an important asset to use across various branding channels, including your website, packaging and ads.

A good tagline can help build just the right kind of associations with your brand. For example, Disney’s tagline “Where dreams come true” promises customers to bring magic and happiness into their lives, and help them fulfill their wishes.

Similarly, Walmart’s tagline promises customers a financially secure and satisfactory living standard with Walmart’s low-priced yet good quality products.

A tagline is somewhat like your brand’s elevator pitch. In one quick glance, a reader should be able to understand what your brand is all about and the value it’s promising to offer.

 

Asset #5: Typography

Your brand’s typography forms the backbone of how your brand’s messaging is conveyed in the written form.

It’s easy to confuse typography with typeface, but they are two different concepts. Typography is your brand’s choice of different fonts and type styles and how they are incorporated in your brand’s visual assets.

Typeface, on the other hand, refers to the font family used by your brand, such as Helvetica or Lato.

When deciding on your brand’s typography, make sure you choose a typeface that goes well with your brand identity, logo and colors. You can also modify a font to make it unique to your brand or use a specific combination of fonts in your designs.

In Visme, you can save the fonts you want to use for all future designs in your Brand Kit. So, for example, you can set a certain font for the headings and another for the body.

This means that any design created in Visme would then be within your brand typography guidelines, regardless of who creates it.

Make sure your brand typography is optimized for the best user experience possible. For example, using hard-to-read or small fonts on your website can lead to a bad user experience, which can negatively impact your brand.

Your brand typography should also be memorable and distinguishable from your competitors. It should also help build associations with your brand. For example, a clean sans-serif font can portray your brand as modern and minimalist.

 

Asset #6: Online Graphics

Every single visual that you publish online contributes towards your branding. That’s why it’s so important to keep your graphics aligned and consistent with your brand identity.

From online ads to social media images to the headers in your emails, each visual that represents your brand should follow your color palette, typography and other specifications in your brand style guide.

Publishing inconsistent graphics online can make your brand look low-quality and makes it less likely for people to remember and recognize you.

Below are four main types of online graphics your brand needs to manage.

1. Blog Graphics

To make your blog posts more engaging and fun to read, consider adding visuals. This doesn’t only include screenshots, but also any custom illustrations and even stock photos.

You can easily create original graphics for your blog posts, such as calls-to-action, using Visme’s blog graphic templates.

Here’s a blog graphic template to customize today.

Customize this blog graphic template and make it your own!Edit and Download

Whichever visual you use, always remember to keep it consistent with your brand identity. Yes, this goes for stock photos, too!

For example, if your brand’s personality is fun, carefree and informal, and you want to use a stock image that shows an office setting, avoid using an overly formal or corporate photo.

Instead, try to find an image of a modern, relaxed office environment, possibly with people in smart casual wear instead of a formal suit.

In case of screenshots, you may want to annotate them with arrows, boxes or comments. We recommend using one of your brand colors for these types of mark ups.

2. Social Media Graphics

Social media is a place where you engage with fans of your brand, spread brand awareness, spark conversations and build a community.

Naturally, it makes sense for people to build associations with your brand here. You want to manage those associations by staying consistent with your brand identity.

If you’re using a tool like Visme, anyone on your team would be able to create on-brand social media graphics in minutes.

Here’s an animated Instagram post template you can customize and use.

Customize this social media graphic template and make it your own!Edit and Download

If you’re looking for more social media graphic templates, drop by our template library and browse hundreds of options.

3. Email Graphics

Did you know that 9 out of 10 marketers used email as a content distribution channel in 2020?

Email is here to stay. In fact, it’s going to grow bigger in the coming years. Regardless of what industry you’re in, you’re likely to use email to reach your customers.

Since this channel is such an important touchpoint for marketers, it’s obvious why the graphics inside your newsletters and marketing emails should be consistent with your brand identity.

Here’s an email header template from Visme to give you a head start.

Customize this social media graphic template and make it your own!Edit and Download

An eye-catching, well-designed header can do much more for your business than build a powerful brand image. It can also be used to drive action, generate more leads, and create brand awareness by putting your logo and brand name in the spotlight.

Browse more email header templates in our library.

4. Online Ads

Whether you’re creating display ads, social media ads or native ads, make sure they’re all consistent with your visual brand identity.

Online ads are often the first thing customers see about your brand. These brand assets should be as memorable and meaningful as your brand name or logo.

Visme’s banner ad template library has tons of different options.

Customize these online ad templates for your own brand!Browse Templates

From horizontal to vertical to square ads, there’s an ad template for every need. Simply pick your favorite one and start customizing it in the drag-and-drop editor.

You can also browse a variety of social media ad templates under specific categories, like Facebook ads and Instagram Stories.

 

Asset #7: Website

Your website is your digital storefront.

Not only should it invite visitors to engage and interact with your brand, it should also convey your brand story with its design and messaging.

Your website is often the first touchpoint for your brand that customers come across, and we have already talked about how first impressions need to be more than just ordinary.

To start off, use a nice website header that reflects your brand colors and personality. Furthermore, make sure you use your brand typography across all the pages.

Your brand identity should also reflect in your website copy and messaging. Keep in mind the tone of voice you use to communicate with your visitors.

 

Asset #8: Social Media Profiles

Remember when we talked about social media graphics a few sections ago? This is similar, but it’s about your social media profiles as a whole rather than the specific images you post.

Just like your website, your social media profiles are also digital storefronts for your brand. Customers may come across these instead of your website, and even directly make a purchase from you on social media, such as through your Facebook or Instagram shop.

This is why it’s important to align your profiles with brand identity as well. Use a well-designed and on-brand header for your Facebook page, for example.

Here’s a mockup of a Facebook header template you can customize in Visme.

Customize these Facebook templates for your own brand!Browse Templates

Also, make sure the language you use on your About section and any other area is aligned with your brand personality and values.

 

Asset #9: Packaging

The packaging of your product says a lot about your brand.

If it’s a grocery item sitting next to similar competitor products on a shelf, for example, your product packaging should make your brand stand out and make customers want to grab it over the others.

And when a customer takes your product home, imagine how many other people may come across it and be exposed to the packaging.

If the packaging is attractive and unique, you may even create a lot of brand awareness and pique the interest of potential customers.

Here’s a label template you can customize for your beverage brand.

Customize this label template and make it your own!Edit and Download

Browse plenty of other label and product packaging templates in Visme’s library.

Your packaging can also reflect your brand’s personality through the information you put on it. For example, if your brand values caring for the environment, your product label can reflect that by telling customers it was created with eco-friendly materials.

 

Asset #10: Online Mentions

When customers talk about your brand online in a positive light, it’s a good strategy to leverage those testimonials to build trust with potential customers.

One way to do that is by creating branded testimonial images to share via email, social media and even on your website.

Visme offers a collection of quote templates that you can customize for your brand and showcase customer testimonials.

Customize this quote template and make it your own!Edit and Download

You can also create a dedicated page or section on your website to showcase customer testimonials. Positive word-of-mouth is always good for your brand and helps build all of the four principles: awareness, loyalty, reputation and equity.

 

Asset #11: Speaking Engagements

Whether it’s an internal sales presentation or a webinar for your customers, your brand likely engages in various types of speaking events.

The visual material that you use in these speaking engagements are also a big part of your brand asset management.

Here’s a presentation template you customize with your own brand colors and fonts.

Customize this presentation template and make it your own!Edit and Download

You should make sure your employees create presentations that are aligned and consistent with your branding.

Similarly, the presentations you use in front of customers should also be branded as they can leave a powerful impact on how your customers perceive and remember your brand.

 

Asset #12: Brand Style Guide

Last but not the least, every brand should have a well-defined brand style guide.

Your style guide will provide guidelines for the appropriate usage of all your brand assets, from your logo to typography to the language you use on social media.

You can create your brand style guide in the form of a multi-page document, similar to the customizable template below.

Customize this brand style guide template and make it your own!Edit and Download

Or, you can choose to create a brand style guide presentation or even an infographic. Share it privately with your employees, or embed it on your company website for the press to access.

A brand style guide is key to ensuring your brand’s assets are used the way they’re supposed to be used. It reduces the chances of bad, inconsistent design harming the brand image you worked so hard to build.

 

4 Best Brand Management Software to Use

Now that we’ve covered all the tangible and intangible aspects of brand management, let’s talk about the tools and software you can use to successfully build, maintain and grow a powerful brand.

 

Software #1: Visme

Visme is an all-in-one content creation tool that will not only help you create brand assets, but also manage them properly.

More than just a design tool, Visme also offers team collaboration and brand kit features, which help your entire organization stay consistent with your visual branding.

You can easily create brand style guides, mood boards, social media graphics, presentations, infographics, ads, print materials and more using templates and a drag-and-drop editor.

A GIF screengrab showcasing how to edit a text box in Visme's design editor.

Start creating your brand assets in Visme!Sign up. It's free.

Better yet, you can upload your brand fonts, color palette, logo and images to your Brand kit, and then use them for all your designs.

So, let’s say that your sales manager wants to create a sales presentation. They can easily put one together using a branded presentation template saved in Visme!

 

Software #2: Brand24

Brand24 is a social monitoring and listening tool that you can use to keep track of your brand mentions on the internet.

Whether it’s on a blog, forum, social media page, podcast or a review, Brand24 enables you to track down the latest mentions of your brand so you can take appropriate action quickly in case anything goes wrong.

For example, let’s say someone somewhere posts a bad review about your brand. If you don’t handle that as quickly as possible, you may risk causing lasting damage to your brand reputation.

This is where a tool like Brand24 comes in. Using this tool, you’ll be able to track such reviews as soon as they pop up, and respond appropriately before it’s too late.

The dashboard also gives you an overview of your brand’s reputation and reach online.

 

Software #3: Smile.io

Just like we discussed above, brand loyalty is one of the four major principles of brand management.

So, it makes sense to have a dedicated tool that focuses on just that, doesn’t it?

This is where Smile.io comes in.

The tool lets you create effective customer loyalty programs that encourage repeat purchases and engage your brand’s followers.

For example, you can reward customers with points they can redeem later, or create attractive referral programs that get them to spread the word about your brand.

Smile.io also lets you show appreciation to your most loyal customers with VIP rewards that only lead to more loyalty and higher customer satisfaction with your brand.

 

Software #4: Typeform

Effective brand management requires fully understanding what your customers want and give them just that. But how would you know what your customers want unless you talk to them?

The answer is: customer surveys.

Typeform is a survey-building tool that you can even easily integrate with your Visme designs. For example, you can easily insert a typeform survey into a customer-facing presentation.

Now, there’s a reason why surveys are such a popular and effective tool to gather customer feedback.

Brands can use this feedback to improve their products, services and even messaging to boost customer satisfaction, and improve brand loyalty, reputation and equity in the process.

 

Getting Started With Brand Asset Management

Are you ready to create and manage your brand assets?

Use a tool like Visme to get a head start with pre-made templates across 40+ categories, including logo templates, mood board templates, brand style guide templates and more.

You can also create a Brand Kit in Visme to store all your brand assets and use them each time you create a design. No more inconsistent and unprofessional designs.

Sign up for a free Visme account and take it for a test drive.

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    About the Author

    Mahnoor Sheikh is the content marketing manager at Visme. She has years of experience in content strategy and execution, SEO copywriting and graphic design. She is also the founder of MASH Content and is passionate about tea, kittens and traveling with her husband. Get in touch with her on LinkedIn.

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