An Overview of Strategic Brand Management (Part 1)

25 February 2021

What is Brand Management?

Most people will be familiar with the term ‘brand management’, thinking of companies such as Apple®, one of the most widely known brands in the world, whose products are synonymous with desirable and high-quality products.  Having a strong brand brings major advantages, such as differentiation from other products or service, nudging consumers to purchase decisions based on trust of the brand and its values.

The source of the word ‘brand’ may surprise some people – it is a noun from some European/Nordic languages that translates directly into English as ‘fire’, forming the name of some fire fighting services, such as the Brandweer of the Netherlands.

But how did this become used to refer to the management of the image of products or services?  The unusual answer is that when the word became associated with the marking of cattle by using a metal rod with a distinctive design on the end, heated in fire.

The word has crossed over into everyday use and we use brand to describe the distinctive logos, designs and colors that are used by firms to help consumers recognize their products in often crowded marketplaces. Thus, brand management describes the activities in creating, maintaining, extending and retiring brands.

What is Strategic Brand Management?

Strategic brand management is a term used to describe the performance of brand management in a way that links to the firm’s strategic management, aligning with and supporting the choices made, such as the markets and segments targeted.

Brand versus Products

Brands have values (what they stand for) and these differentiate them from other brands – for example a Rolls Royce motor car is perceived very differently to a Chevrolet, with the former representing luxury and the latter value for money.  Whilst brands are associated to products or services, they are not the same, for example the cars must perform a clear function and meet consumer needs and often have specifications that specify their performance.

Why do Brands Matter?

Brands are important, as they differentiate products or services from competitor’s offerings and build customer loyalty, resulting in repeat business and increased share of the consumer’s wallet.  They may also generate license or other fees from other firms who would like to add the brand to their products or services – for example, Teflon® coatings for pans or GORE-TEX® as part of outdoor coats.

What can be branded?

Pretty much anything can be branded, including, physical goods, intangible goods (e.g. software), arts companies, sports clubs, charitable causes, cities, regions or countries and many more.

Brand assets, brand values and brand value

Brand assets are elements that are unique and associated with the brand, for example, the Virgin logo, McDonald’s ‘Golden Arches’, Apple’s logo.

Brand values represent what the brand stands for, for example luxurious, innovative, reliable, safe or trustworthy.

The similar sounding brand value has an entirely different meaning, as it is the extra amount that people will choose to pay over a competitor brand, based on their experiences, perceptions and emotional connection to the brand – which may be expressed as the aggregate revenues in a time period, for example, $50 million per annum.

The Oxford Management Centre portfolio of training courses covers, Strategic Brand Positioning and MarketingStrategic Brand ManagementStrategic Brand Development and Performance ManagementDeveloping Brand and Reputation through Strategic Engagement, that will provide participants with the fundamental understanding of how to manage brands strategically, as well as providing a useful set of tools and techniques to help you achieve their goals.



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