Why Brand Management is the Insurance Your Company Needs
Imagine that you’ve invested millions of dollars and hundreds—if not thousands—of hours building your brand. Your logo is perfect, your website is flawless, and your physical and digital ads earn millions of impressions. You think that you’ve ticked off all the boxes for brand success now, right? Wrong. In fact, now is when your brand is at its most vulnerable, because it has a long way to fall. What you’re missing is brand management.
What is brand management?
Brand management is twofold: it is the active monitoring of conversations surrounding your brand and the interaction of your brand with key stakeholders like customers and influencers. When it comes to the first component of brand management, brands should constantly listen to comments about their brand across the positive to negative spectrum in all forms of media. The more you know about what stakeholders are saying and sharing about your meticulously-built brand, the more intel and context you’ll have to respond to challenges. Once you identify a conversation—positive or negative—that needs to be addressed, it needs to be your brand’s voice that addresses it head-on, instead of getting drowned out or pressured by others.
For example, if you spot a negative review of your product online, you should respond directly to the reviewer with an apology and an actionable solution to remedy the situation. If you address the problem transparently, quickly, and effectively, a bad review can easily turn into customer service praise. On the flipside, if you spot a positive review, it can present a great opportunity to partner with the reviewer and amplify their positive influence.
Why is it important?
Think of brand management as insurance for your marketing and advertising efforts. You wouldn’t buy a home without homeowner’s insurance, would you? Same goes for your brand. We’ve seen time and time again how one brand experience can go viral and subsequently spiral into a full-blown PR disaster.
Remember the Lululemon sheer yoga pants fiasco? When customers complained that their expensive pants became embarrassingly sheer when worn, the company’s founder responded by blaming it on his customers bodies. Instead of recognizing a product defect, Lululemon fat-shamed its customers, earning a “mean-girl” reputation it has struggled to shake. The response was quickly and harshly met by a barrage of negative media attention. Not only was Lululemon’s product viewed as defective, but its company culture was defined as exclusive and cruel. Before the scandal faded from the spotlight, Lululemon’s founder was forced to step down and a third of its market value was lost.
Brand management could have prevented this. Instead of going on the defensive, the customer’s concerns should have been met with recognition, an apology, and an option for refund or replacement. This kind of humble and humanizing response surely would have been met with more forgiving attitudes.
How is it done?
A consistent outperformer in the brand management game is L.L. Bean. Thanks to quick, consistent, and meaningful customer service efforts, L.L. Bean has earned—and continues to earn—a legendary reputation. This reputation helps insulate the brand from any poor product reviews it may receive. L.L. Bean meets customer concerns with an immediate apology and solution—a formula that keeps customers coming back, even after an initially poor product experience.
L.L. Bean and other well-protected brands work hard to make customers and influencers feel like they’re dealing with an empathizing human instead of an untouchable—and unaccountable—big brand. By using humility and friendliness, brands can communicate in a more human way with their stakeholders. This type of communication builds trust, a must for any successful brand.
In the age of social media, consumers are more empowered, knowledgeable, and influential than ever. The question your brand faces: what will you go viral for?
The Moak Group is here to help your brand create and implement a brand management strategy that will protect your investment in your brand. Want to learn more? Contact us at email@example.com.