Brand managers are the guardians of a company’s image. They work hard to preserve the internal and external identity of an organization.
If you are a brand manager, you know just how complex your role can be within an organization, especially when it comes to managing your enterprise’s reputation.
We’ve put together three tips that all brand managers need to do to improve their organization’s external image.
Typically, brand managers will handle multiple marketing and public relations responsibilities within an organization including:
- Online reputation management
- Ensuring marketing messaging is right for the product/business
- Drawstrings marketing activities
- Planning sponsorships and other events
- Driving market growth
- Coordinating with public relations department
With these basic responsibilities in mind, what essential skills and strategies do brand managers need to know in order to be successful in 2019?
Design A Comprehensive Brand Guide
The most important function of brand managers is to ensure communications about a product or service follow established brand guidelines. Whether you’re bringing on new designers within your organization or outsourcing to vendors, the designs your brand uses and the voice of your brand should be consistent across all platforms and collateral.
To become a better influencer within your organization and create an efficient workflow process that is going to ensure consistent messaging, you should create a brand guide and deputize other people within the organization to be holders of that knowledge.
Make sure you are working with other members of marketing, designers, PR and other areas and not just writing the branding guide on your own. Remember, you need their buy-in to convince them to follow your guidelines.
If you haven’t worked hard to build bridges with other departments, look for opportunities for cross-company collaboration before starting a rebranding project. Buy-in from these key stakeholders ensures consistency internally, which will lead to a strong external brand identity.
Understand Your Customers
This one seems simple, but it’s actually one of the hardest elements of being in marketing. Oftentimes it’s easy for marketing professionals to “know” what is right without asking or listening to their customers. You would be surprised how many hundreds of thousands of dollars are being spent each year marketing products the marketplace doesn’t want or need.
In order to be an effective brand manager, you have to know your customer and think more like a product manager. Why do people need this product or service? What fears or worries do they have and how do you provide a solution? How can you set them up to be the hero of the story with your product or service as the guide?
All of these questions are things a good brand manager should be asking. As a brand manager, your role is to make sure you don’t have a product no one knows about or a great product no one uses because it doesn’t deliver on the promise of helping your customer.
This means you need to be heavily involved in your industry and engaging with your audience at all times. Carefully study the different products your customers consume and use them yourself on a daily basis to better understand their mindset. The only way to see if your messaging is going to work is walking a mile in your customers’ shoes.
For example, if there is an important influencer in your industry, follow them and see what they are doing to connect with your customers. Another way to do this is through thorough surveying of your customer base to better understand their goals and intents.
To be a great brand manager, you should be the ultimate fan of your fans.
Watch and Reply to Customer Reviews Online
In addition to studying your audience’s tendencies, you also need to be plugged into what they are saying online about your company or product.
First, you want to make sure your brand is generating the stellar reviews and trusted reputation you are striving to build. There’s nothing better than seeing people leave great reviews and use the same terms you wanted to be associated with your brand. This positive feedback can help affirm your plan or even add inspiration for new marketing plans in the future.
Conversely, if you are getting bad reviews, you need to be on the front lines to provide direction for communication efforts to make sure any responses your team sends out match your guidelines.
For example, if your brand messaging promises an exceptional experience and customers are experiencing a below average result, you need to communicate with the product or service side of your business to figure out where expectations aren’t being met.
Paying attention to online reviews will help you better understand how people see your brand in the marketplace and the action steps your organization needs to take to fulfill your brand’s promises to consumers.
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