As a professional brand manager, you already understand the importance of developing a strong relationship with your audience.
But, in addition to planning, managing, executing, and analyzing your brand within its market, the journey of brand management is a constantly evolving one.
Therefore, we’ve asked some branding professionals to share their tips on some of the key skills they believe every brand manager needs to have.
7 Expert Branding Tips for Brand Managers
1. Start In-house
Sometimes the best brand resources are directly in front of you. Empowering and educating your team members to be your top brand advocates is a key part of being an effective brand manager.
As Director of Brand Marketing at Blinkist, Sarah Moriarty is a firm believer in getting team members to champion the brand.
"The key to building a cohesive brand is starting with your own team! If you can get every team member in your company on the same page when it comes to what your brand is, how it feels & sounds, and why they should believe in it, then this understanding will trickle into every project that's built and developed.
You can achieve this through clear brand guidelines, interactive brand workshop sessions, and practical toolkits that speak to real tensions and challenges. This is the fundamental first step in translating your brand vision to all customer touchpoints.”
— Sarah Moriarty, Director of Brand Marketing at Blinkist.
2. Embrace Your Inner Project Manager
As an experienced freelance communication consultant, Rose McCullough knows what it takes to wear multiple hats and draws upon project management principles — such as planning and working collaboratively in order to bring products into line with one’s brand promise.
This means engaging multiple stakeholders, thinking quickly and creatively, and using her external consulting experience to cast fresh eyes over the brand for her clients.
"In FMCG, working on brand fundamentality means aligning product with promise. This means that you are often in a Project Manager position, working with a variety of departments in the company to adjust the voice, design, or strategy for the customers' needs. Here are my three pieces of advice to become a successful brand professional in this space:
Apply limitless creative thinking - There are ways things have been done and there are ways things could be done. Don't be limited by the 'norm'.
Plan meticulously - Kick-off meetings, project timelines, meeting minutes, and regular check-ins should all be part-and-parcel of your project management to ensure timely execution and smooth coordination.
Create a collaborative work environment - Working across departments requires diplomacy, compromise, and transparent communication. Be the voice of the customer within the business and foster strong relationships with colleagues to filter that through to all aspects of it."
— Rose McCullough, Freelance Communication Consultant
3. Develop a Thoughtful Brand Strategy
Investing time to really develop your brand strategy is key to building a successful brand. A successful brand strategy encompasses the long-term plan for the brand and defines the how, where, what, when, and to whom you are communicating your brand message.
Simply put, it’s the foundation on which you build upon the brand.
Just take a look at what Tom Livingstone of Talentful has to say:
“Understanding what makes good brand strategy is key. A lot of people go wrong by going straight into execution/creative - always start off with the basics like WHO you appeal to, WHY you exist as a brand, WHERE your brand might get traction, before jumping into picking the perfect color or writing the perfect tagline.”
— Tom Livingstone, Head of Marketing, Talentful
4. Deep Dive into the Customer Experience
As marketing manager at travel company AirHelp, Felix Ecke spends a lot of time thinking about the ideal customer experience.
AirHelp helps millions of customers obtain compensation for delayed or canceled flights, so understanding their customers’ behavior and needs is critical for AirHelp brand management.
“When building a brand, analyze everything around your customer and the customer journey. Find out when they would buy and/or use your product, why they do it, and how your brand can fulfill those needs. Designing a nice logo is easy, but working out the basics is the hardest part.”
— Felix Ecke, Marketing Manager Germany, AirHelp
5. Sustain a Solid Core
With so many markets available across the globe, brands have a multitude of choices regarding where to make their mark.
However, Marius Holletzek, Senior Brand Strategist at Nio, believes that brands must do all they can to sustain a strong, clear, and solid customer core.
“Today, great global brands need to be able to sustain a strong, clear, solid core, while activating their brand in all those multiple different contexts their micro-audiences live in. Those contexts are faster changing and more fluid than ever before. There cannot be one fits all solutions anymore and thus it is not about being omnipresent, but omni-relevant with the messaging and offering.
This requires constant monitoring of the world around: new brands, technologies, and behavioral patterns arise on a global level. Due to globalization, geographies matter less and less, while brands, sub-culture, and shared similar interests become more and more important. It’s also important to look beyond traditional same-industry benchmark sets and observe the trendsetting brands in any market. It’s about having always a finger on the pulse of the micro-audiences the brand is trying to create a meaningful, value-adding (for both sides) relationship with.
My top 5 principles in a nutshell:
1. Know who you are.
2. Be different or better (or both).
3. Tell an authentic story.
4. Be always contextually relevant.
5. And execute consistently."
— Marius Holletzek, Senior Brand Strategist, Global Brand Design, Nio GmbH
6. Establish a Style Guide
With so much content being published internally and externally, it’s important to have one unified brand style guide. This guide will not only encourage consistency across your brand but will also define your brand’s unique tone of voice.
Investing in high-quality content marketers, UX Writers, and documentation experts also builds trust with your target audience, as they will naturally engage with clear and concise copy.
“A style guide is a powerful tool for your brand. It helps you write clear, consistent content for your organization across teams and channels. This way, marketers, web developers, and community managers all stay on the same page, and present a unified vision of the brand to the public.”
— Teresa Sousa, Founder, TAGS-Language Solutions
7. Quit Trying to be Everything to Everyone
Brands can polarize, and that’s okay! Not everyone is going to like or engage with your brand — it’s a waste of time and energy to try and be all things to all people.
Instead, focus on finding the best consumers to amplify and engage with your brand. What are their needs and can your brand solve them? Freelance Brand Strategist, Ruth Chadwick shares her branding tips:
"If some people don't like you it's a good thing. You can't be for everyone. Find your people, work out what they want or need, and then only talk to them.
Forget everyone else. You will be a more powerful brand with the love of a few than you will be with the mild indifference of everyone.”
— Ruth Chadwick, Freelance Brand Strategist
When it comes to brand management, there’s always room to think outside the box.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these insightful branding tips from our expert brand managers.