Brand management has always been a complicated concept, even for those who have had the chance to work on it themselves. Some reasons are its ever-evolving nature and complex tasks like defining organizational values, brand vision, and influencing customers’ perceptions of your brand.
It might seem an overwhelming aspect of marketing, but really, which isn’t? With brands overseeing and managing their brand’s voice and reputation round the clock on social media platforms, marketing has become the most crucial and hardest function of running a business.
That being said, strategic brand management can turn into a competitive advantage that can help your brand reach its new height.
What is Strategic Brand Management?
Strategic brand management can be defined as a brand strategy that supports your company’s goals and processes, from brand recognition to boost revenue. While crafting the brand strategy, make sure that there’s room for your brand to grow and evolve alongside your business.
If you are wondering what brand strategy is, then here it is. A brand strategy combines a few methods to define the uniqueness and personality of your brand, using which you can improve the quality of all your customer touchpoints and communications for a better brand image and selling power. In other words, it means providing a value-driven and positive experience to your customers whenever and wherever they interact and engage with your brand.
The success of a brand strategy lies in its ability to maintain consistency in the customer experiences across various platforms, from web pages to social media accounts to customer support.
Remember: Your brand strategy should be agile, beneficial for your brand, and add value to your brand’s overall perception.
Why is Brand Management Important?
- Firstly, brand management strengthens your selling power and improves your brand’s perception in the minds of your target audience.
- Because brand management revolves around providing positive customer experiences, it increases customer retention, loyalty, and the overall value of your brand.
- With brand management, you can communicate the uniqueness of your brand to your customers.
- Through the practice of brand management, you can understand your target audience better, which means your brand’s communication strategies and methods become more impactful than ever.
- Lastly, it increases your employees’ internal and external engagement, which makes them feel closer to your company, thereby reducing the overall attrition rate of your company.
The Art of Brand Management
Now that we’ve established a proper understanding of brand management and its importance, let’s explore the art that is brand management. Here we are going to explore the important actions that combinedly make the art of brand management.
1. Positive brand perception
Many businesses operate under the wrong impression that brand management is limited to having a recognizable custom logo design, a catchy tagline, or a viral campaign. But it’s much more than that. It is the cumulation of every customer’s experience with your brand based on which they form a perception of your brand.
Now, it’s not quite possible to control your customers’ perception, but you can always influence them by means of creating positive experiences and associations with your brand.
To come across as a genuine and positive brand, you must:
- Always, always deliver on your promises
- Define, communicate, and behave with integrity
- Craft and deliver unique customer-centric experiences
- Invest in understanding your customers’ needs and deliver value accordingly
- Provide consistent multi-channel support
- Seek feedback from customers and work on them
2. Brand positioning and value
Your brand’s positioning in the market should always be aligned with your brand’s values. Brand positioning is one of the most important aspects of the art of brand management which includes identifying the positioning of your brand and what you want to achieve. This stage of brand management will take time, effort, a lot of brainpower, and coffee.
The first step in identifying your current brand positioning is to research and understand the brand positioning of your competitors and industry market leaders and look for the differentiators. This will help you define and create a unique position for yourself in the market to resonate with your target audience.
- Understand your current brand positioning – Make use of surveys to understand your customers’ current perception of your brand.
- List down your direct and indirect competitors – In the beginning, you will compete with the direct competitors but sooner rather than later, you will have to position yourself uniquely against indirect competitors as well.
- Know your competitors – Try to understand who your competitors are, their offerings, their differentiators, etc.
- Look inside to know what makes your product/brand unique
- Define your positioning statement to communicate the unique value of your brand to your audience
- Analyze if your positioning statement works by gathering feedback from your customers
- Humanize your brand to establish an emotional connection with your customers
- Redefine your sales process to reinforce and highlight your brand differentiators
- Create, communicate, and deliver value
- Train your customer-facing employees on your brand’s values
3. Reputation Management
Once you’ve defined and implemented your brand positioning and values, pay attention to your brand’s reputation.
Keep a close eye on what’s being said about your brand, who’s saying it, and where they are saying it. Media monitoring and social listening tools will ensure you know every conversation, mention of your brand. The chief aim behind constantly monitoring your brand’s reputation is to stay one step ahead. If you know what’s coming, you will be able to steer the conversation in the right direction; hopefully, a direction that doesn’t hurt your brand’s reputation.
The role of brand reputation management is to take ownership and accountability of your brand’s perception and dictate it according to your defined brand and organizational values.
Here are the top 5 best practices for effective brand reputation management:
- Focus on content marketing
- Invest time, resources, and efforts to improve overall customer satisfaction
- Actively use social listening tools to manage and revert to negative comments
- Personalize your customers’ interactions with your brand
- Quality online and search presence
Pro Tip: Centralize your brand’s assets, definitions, essentials, creatives, and more to keep your brand’s communication on point. Also, make sure all the digital assets are easily accessible by all the stakeholders.
4. Brand performance and analysis
Once your brand management strategy is off-the-ground and active, start analyzing its performance and optimizing it for better impact. You can perform brand audits in-house or outsource them to an external agency based on the time and money you have.
An ideal brand audit should cover the main three areas:
- Internal branding – values, brand positioning, company culture, etc.
- External branding – advertising, marketing materials, PR, social media, website, content, etc.
- Customer experience – sales process, customer support – both online and offline
If you decide to do it in-house, here’s how you can go about auditing your brand:
- Start by creating a framework of the audit
- Center your brand audit around questioning your customers and getting feedback from them
- Dig deep into your web analytics
- Review your social data
- Review your sales excel sheets and CRM
- Evaluate your competitors and their brand management strategies using competitor analysis tools
Pro tip: While evaluating your brand management strategies, make sure the assets, brand’s voice, and customer experience are consistent throughout.
Create a schedule for brand audits to keep your brand management strategies effective and impactful.
The more you pay attention to brand management, the greater return on investment you will get on your marketing budget.
Image Credit: from the author; thank you!
Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending
London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.
According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.
The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:
“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”
The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:
“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”
The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.
The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.
Featured Image Credit: Photo from Kennek.io; Thank you!
Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs
As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.
Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI
In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.
According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.
One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.
To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.
Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Google DeepMind; Pexels; Thank you!
UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations
As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.
Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation
To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.
The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.
Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Jonathan Borba; Pexels; Thank you!