Viewing a brand as an asset is the first step to embracing the idea of brand equity. In the past, most brand managers sought out immediate gratification with promotional strategies that would garner instantaneous, quantifiable results. For example: marketers favored price promotions for packaged goods in the early 1980s, with immediate success in generating sales for the company. But the promotions based on price resulted in an unforeseen consequence: reduced brand differentiation.
Consumers’ focus on price eliminated their ability to differentiate products based on the qualities of the brand. Large companies, such as Kraft, took years to recover from their lost brand equity and gain back their former loyal customer base. This misstep spurred a dramatic shift in how marketing managers define their brands. Learning from their mistakes in the 1980s, companies started to implement their branding efforts on a larger scale, with a shift from tactical to strategic brand management.
Here’s how you can learn from the legacy brands’ mistakes and increase your company’s brand equity.
Move focus from tactical to strategic
Brand managers need to plan ahead and strategize how to best leverage their brand equity, rather than being reactive. Strategizing on a broader scale allows brand managers to take into account growth strategies, potential market insights, and plan for brand portfolio strategies. Don’t jump to discounting or coupons when times get tough. Step back and see the larger picture.
Elevate the marketing role
To successfully improve brand equity, marketing managers need to become an active participant in generating the business strategy. If marketers are able to plan ahead on the large scale, they are able to take the time to consider the desired business strategy and implement customer opinions and any potential branding issues.
Make brand equity top priority
Create a marketing plan that looks past immediate sales goals and plans for the future. This type of plan allows your brand to gain long-term equity. Placing just as much emphasis on awareness, customer loyalty, and brand associations as you do on sales goals will increase your brand equity.
Make branding a family affair
A brand cannot stand alone in the sea of products available today. It is important to build a family of branded products that support one another to exponentially grow brand awareness and equity for all brands involved. The brands need to have clearly-defined variances between them, so as not to cannibalize one another. It is also important to allocate resources appropriately, making sure to fully support the star-brands, and ensure sufficient resources for the future.
Avoid communication issues
To ensure effective communication across the organization, it may be necessary to implement a centralized means of communication to ensure your brand’s success. A lack of communication within the organization can create brand confusion, which will, of course, confuse the consumers. Communication errors can also result in lost opportunities and inefficiencies.
Build the brand from within
The brand must represent the organization and the organization must represent the brand. From the warehouse manager to the CEO, each member of the organization must wholly support and represent the desired brand image and values. Be sure to put the time and energy into onboarding and training employees that share the brand goals and live and breathe the mission.
Making brand equity top priority is no easy feat. The instant-gratification of sale-boosting promotions is very tempting. Likewise, brand equity is very difficult to monitor or quantify. But nevertheless, brand equity is a brand’s most important asset. The answer lies in the brand manager’s ability to effectively plan for the future, implement the vision, and effectively communicate within the organization.