Working as a branding manager and reporting to a boss can be tough. Even the great ideas suggested by you in the past might have been swept under the rug. You might even start to believe that it is because the boss does not understand the importance or true meaning of brand management.
However, most of the time, your branding boss does not see it, because you have not presented the brand in the right way. Here are some things that your boss wants to know from you about brand management, and also about how to put it across, so that he or she will listen.
- How it drives to company goals
Like it or not, every strategy, tactic, and decision made by your boss will be driven by the sales figures. It is ultimately why companies build a brand, and want to cultivate loyalty. If your brand management strategy is not a clear step towards reaching that goal, it won’t cut it with your manager. That is a fact.
If you really do want your boss to listen to you, then identify:
- How your branding strategy will help get more customers
- How it can increase your profit margin
- How the strategy can be made sustainable over a long period of time, so that it keeps bringing profits.
- What customers want
Every marketing brand management expert out there will tell you that, there is no value to your brand, unless you have something that your customers really want. It is quite possible that as you delve deep into your branding strategies and their intricacies, you lose sight of the big picture.
It is here that you need to come back to the question: ‘What do customers really want’.
Your boss wants to know exactly what customers want and expect from your brand. If two products are identical, why would they choose your brand as opposed to your competitor’s?
This is what you will need to answer, so your boss can take your report to his boss.
- What will keep customers coming back
Marketing will bring you a customer once, but sensible branding will keep them coming back to you. Repeat business will give you profits for life.
You will want to identify:
- What is the best thing about your brand that attracts customers
- How do your products and services reflect the brand you are trying to sell
- How can your market your products or service, so that they set the right expectations from your brand
Not only do you need to identify these aspects, you will have to find a convincing way to present the brand management value to your boss as well.
- Branding is not marketing
Executives, who are successful at building good brands, understand that marketing is not the same as branding. Here are some key differences that you need to put across to your manager:
- Marketing is about selling, while branding is about loyalty
- Marketing tactics keep changing with time, branding evolves more slowly
The meaning of brand building and management differs within every company, and even between two departments in the same company. However, you will want to find a way so your marketing tactics are consistent with the brand you are selling. More importantly, you will need to identify the value you are providing your customers in the long run.
- The brand is bigger
Another important thing that your boss wants to know is why your brand management strategy is more important than another marketing tactic. This again goes back to the point made before. Your brand is bigger than any single product or service that you offer. The design, functioning and experience of your products all follow from what kind of brand you want to build.
It is difficult for many in the business to differentiate the meaning of brand management from that of marketing. In most places, the two departments are the same. Your boss will want to know from you, about how you can sell multiple products under a single brand, so that the customers always relate the products to your band name.
- Keeps the slides short
Having great branding ideas is great, but it is also important that you present them well. Presentations may make or break a proposal, especially when it comes to subjects as abstract as branding.
Therefore make sure that your slides:
- Are full of useful and validated information
- Are not more than 10 slides long
- Are neither too dense or too sparse in content
If you find that you cannot present your ideas in a way that meets the above criteria, you might want to work on a simple definition of brand management. Narrow down the focus on a few key things. If there are more aspects, they can be part of future presentations.
- Research for relevant data to back all your claims
You can pull ideas about branding out of thin air, but in most cases, it won’t make your boss happy. That is simply because he or she is trying to make a good case for your idea to be presented to their boss. All your ideas and points need to be backed up by research. Subjectivity and gut feelings should be totally eliminated. A well-researched branding strategy is the only one that will bring about tangible benefits in the long term.
If you are stuck during branding research, here are a few things you might want to keep in mind:
- What are some of the more successful brands among your competition
- Why does their brand work so well in the market
- Which of these brands have survived for many years, rather than just a few generation of products
- What do customers want from the brand in the long run
These are all common questions, but they often keep going out of focus when you are focusing on finer aspects.
- Right place, right time
You may have a dozen ideas about branding, but your boss has a dozen more, so how to make sure that your boss actually listens to you and likes your idea. The first thing is to see here is that, it should be better than the other ideas. Another important aspect is that you will have to present it at the right time. For instance, right in the middle of a product cycle is not a good time, even though you see obvious problems in it.
- Make it actionable
Having fleshed out a good brand value and a good brand management value proposition, your boss will want to know about what steps can be taken immediately. Prepare a plan that has actionable steps, which you can implement to set the ball rolling. Again, these steps should be in line with the original definition you have for your brand.
- Add variations
Your brand is expressed through many things including logos, product design, color scheme, website design, interactions, and the words you choose. You have to accept the fact that the world is not pitch perfect, and your boss will not necessary like every part of your plan.
The best way to convince your boss is to have multiple variations of brand design, so they will get the degree of choice. This will make him or her more likely pay heed to your ideas.
- Find a middle ground
Your boss will definitely have different ideas from you, as he or she will have a different way of thinking. If two people think identically, one of them is obviously not needed. You will have to understand what your boss wants from your brand, and meet her halfway. Your brand proposition need not be a compromise, but it can be a blend that is acceptable to your manager.
- Present information thoroughly
If you have to create a presentation with dozens, or probably hundreds, of ideas, then try to distill them down to a few key points. Now, if your boss is thinking on the same lines like you are, then he will probably want you to prioritize different aspects. Therefore, even when you present information, try to include different viewpoints, so your boss will be able to understand where you are coming from.
- Why more important than what
The problem with most presentations, especially with regards to branding, is that they focus too much on the minute details. Before you explain what you need to do to maintain a good brand, you want to explain the why. The meaning of brand management always boils down to why customers will choose your products in the long term. It is therefore the most important question to answer.
- The one thing
If you are stuck with ideas, but do not know how to make a good presentation that will impress your boss, here is what you can do:
- Find the one most important goal of your branding exercise
- Put the entire focus of your presentation on that one thing
This will also make sure that your slides are short enough for your boss to comprehend in one go.
- Be a professional
Above all, your boss wants to know that your ideas are solid, have weight, are based on good information, and will drive the bottom-line for the company. These are the aspects that professional branding managers bring to the table. Strive to make your presentations look thoroughly professional, which is by narrowing down your focus and having options, and also with backup ideas on hand.
When competition is cut throat and people’s expectations are evolving rapidly, it is a difficult time to be a branding professional. The above ideas will however take you closer to making your boss understand your ideas and implement them.
Please comment if you feel otherwise, or if you feel that I have left some vital point untouched.