The concept of brand leadership is rapidly replacing the more traditional system of brand management.
The new brand paradigm
The current environment is becoming more complex and volatile, with increased competition, multiple channel dynamics, brand extensions and complex sub brand structures continuously developing a more inclusive and strategic approach to brand management. This is known as brand leadership.
Tactical brands – brand management
The traditional (and still most commonly used) system of brand development is brand management. This management methodology focuses on tactical advances, is reactive to the market and is concerned with brand image and short-term financial returns.
Brand management is most often found in comparatively simple products or markets, and is often bound to a single geographical area (such as a country). It looks to communicate the organisation externally and is driven by market share and sales volume.
What’s wrong with brand management?
This approach can drain long-term value for the benefit of short-term sales. It drives the brand to exhaustion, through a series of reactive, tactical responses to local market pressures. Many businesses simply re-brand at this point but wonder why the new brand often under-performs.
The brand leader!
Brand leadership sets out a strategic vision for the brand. It is controlled at the most senior level of the organisation and it is not focused on image but rather engaged in building brand equity. This approach can often be found in more complex organisations that have multiple products and services, and are operating in a number of locations.
Brand leadership utilises a number of communication channels to express the brand philosophy appropriately across media. It is less prone to local (reactive) tactical battles and looks to develop broader long-term relationships.
The future of branding
Whether you call your brand methodology brand management or brand leadership is somewhat irrelevant. However, what is critical is how you approach and value your brand. In these difficult times, companies that protect, think and develop their brand will sustain and emerge as stronger companies with resilient and enduring products and services.