“Brand: Is not logo, not what it looks like when I look at your product. A Brand is a shortcut, it’s a shortcut for all the expectations I have for what you’re about to do for me. It’s a shortcut for trust, for promises, for conversations. A brand that’s worth something, is worth something either because you can sell more of it or make more of a profit for each one you sell. That’s it. If you can’t sell more, or can’t get a premium, you don’t have a brand. Cause people aren’t showing up investing their emotion in what it is you sell.” Seth Godin
Many people will have a very simplistic notion of what a ‘brand’ is. Some people may think that a brand is merely a logo or a tagline. Yes, these elements do play a very key role in how a customer recognises a product and/or service. However, these are not the be-all-and-end-all of what a brand actually is. And it is the task of the brand manager to make sure that the brand is managed correctly.
What is a brand?
A brand does indeed consist of what a product and/or service looks like. However, a brand is also about the feelings and associations that a customer has about the particular product and/or service that the product covers. Let’s take McDonald’s, as an example. Yes, the golden arches are an iconic symbol of this fast-food chain. However, the McDonalds brand also consists of what its customers think about the brand and why – when they want a particular food – the first place that they think of is McDonald’s.
A brand manager protects a brand’s reputation
A brand is nothing unless it can maintain – in the minds of their customers – the reputation that they will deliver on the promises that they make to their target audience. If the customers begin to feel that the company is no longer delivering on the services that they promise to offer, they will soon go elsewhere. And, it’s very likely that once this happens that the customers will stay here depending on whether your competitor ends up impressing them and meeting their needs.
A good example of this is a car. If a person has a particular make of car, and this vehicle constantly gives the individual problems – so much so that the car spends months upon months at the mechanic – it is very likely that the person will be turned off that particular brand of car and may even try to convince his or her friends and colleagues not to buy that particular brand of car. Now, this problem may just have been inherent in the particular car that the person had but, as a result of the inefficiencies of that particular car, the individual will never buy the brand of car again.
If a brand’s reputation is damaged, can it be rescued?
So, if it happens that a brand’s reputation is damaged is this tickets? Does it mean that the business must pack up shop and try something else?
Absolutely not! Sometimes things do happen and that a brand takes some hits to its reputation. A recent story springs to mind of a well-known South African retail chain. An entrepreneur had presented their product to them, in the hope that the chain would start to stock the particular product. The chain decided against stocking the product however, a couple of months later the entrepreneur found a product – which was almost identical to hers – being stocked by the retailer. What’s worse is that the product was branded as an in-house product of the retailer.
This action sparked a major outcry in the media – especially from other small medium enterprises (SMEs). This could have caused a major loss in profits for the chain; however, their brand management team handled the situation in a way that the company’s brand did not suffer catastrophic damage.
Brand management is a skill that everyone in business owner needs to have – and not just those who work for big corporates. The Digital School of Marketing’s Brand Management Course will teach you how to manage a brand and make it succeed. For more information, please visit our website.
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