Brand management: closing the gap between belief and experience

| 8 May 2015

For most organisations, brand management starts with formulating a relevant, distinctive and authentic brand promise. Often it is an intensive and lengthy project, making its delivery to the organisation already a victory. After a campaign to get the brand promise in the minds of internal and external stakeholders, active brand management stops in most organisations. Our Brand Management Model provides a structure for brand management in the long term.

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Time to start using brand management

The discipline of brand management is still relatively new and broad. Because the brand should play a role in every layer of an organisation, the role of the brand manager can be enormously complex. There are no textbooks (yet), and there are only a handful of organisations who can lead by example when it comes to brand management. So the question is: how and where in the organisation do you begin forming a structure for brand management?

Identify and evaluate the condition of the brand

Begin with an analysis among internal and external stakeholders: what is their perception of the brand? To what extent are these perceptions consistent with the brand promise? And more importantly, which brand experiences have influenced this? Then categorise the brand touch points (moments when one comes into contact with the brand). For example, experiences with the product or service, or experiences and communication with employees of the brand. Together, these experiences form the basis for how the brand is perceived, both by staff and by (potential) customers. Next, analyse key brand touch points: to what extent do they deliver the brand promise? And to what extent do they jointly contribute to a consistent brand experience?

Create an internal brand organisation chart

Connect the findings mentioned above to the internal organisation: how do they contribute to a consistent and fitting brand experience? With the Brand Management Model you can structure your analysis, by making distinctions between internal organisation, brand strategy, brand development, brand implementation and brand evaluation.

VIM Group Brand Management Model

Internal organisation

Define who should play a direct and indirect role in developing, managing and implementing the brand and at what levels in the organisation these roles are placed. Measure how well the organisation is oriented around the brand, and use the brand as a starting point for action.

Brand strategy

Map out if the brand promise is still relevant, authentic and distinctive. Check also to see if it is developed enough to serve as a basis for the development of products and/or services for managing employees and for creating communication.

Brand development

The brand promise is made viable and visible by establishing principles for symbolism (corporate identity), communication (content) and behaviour. These principles form the basis for all brand touch points. Therefore, it is important to check whether these basic building blocks of the brand are fully developed and still represent the brand promise.

Brand implementation

Clearly define which departments influence which brand touch points. Determine as to what extent the brand is included in processes that contribute to these brand touch points, and are there (a sufficient amount of) tools to facilitate a change? In addition, do not forget to evaluate the policies around essential customer processes. For example, how are complaint procedures following the brand promise?

Brand evaluation

Consider whether the brand (e.g. persona, reputation, customer satisfaction and employee engagement) is included in regular research, and – more importantly – what is done with this information. Also look at how well the brand is legally protected, and how abuse of the brand is prevented.

Let the brand promise do its job

By connecting cause (brand management) and effect (manifestation of the brand and brand perception), the basis for a structured roadmap is created, with short- and long-term improvements for a more professional brand (management). The brand is therfore not only the basis for communication and campaigns, but also serves as a starting point for the entire organisation. The best way to prove internally and externally what the brand promises in its communication.


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