A Key Executive:  Your Brand Manager

Every company, large or small, should have a single individual who holds the role of Brand Manager.  The ideal candidate will be part security guard and part prophet/visionary, historian, designer, and statistician.

Furthermore, this person must be ready, willing, and able to get involved in operations and well as marketing/advertising and high-level strategic planning.  According to salary.com, this job commands a national six-figure average total cash compensation.  That said, I’m guessing that you, like most small business owners, serve as your own Brand Manager – just one of the many roles you must perform (and perform well!) to make your small business successful.

Why a Security Guard?

As a Brand Manager, you are ultimately responsible for compliance with all of the visual branding elements you have put into place.  You make sure the correct logo is used as well as the right by-line, color, font, type of images, etc.  You must constantly and vigilantly be on the lookout for improper style elements and usage . . . and you must intervene when infractions are found.  Furthermore, you must proactively put brand safeguards into place to keep misuses to a minimum.

Why a Prophet/Visionary?

Successful branding does not happen by accident.  Someone must be sitting back and looking at a company’s performance, future goals, current inventory of products, customer services, expectations, and growth objectives to make sure the operations and graphic branding elements are in place and in sync to link all aspects of your brand.  Both short-term activities that implement annual business plans and long-term initiatives designed to fulfill three- and five-year objectives must be defined, implemented, and evaluated to encompass brand.

Why an Historian?

Successful brands build upon the foundation that has been laid in the past.  When making brand plans and strategies, you must align your efforts to the work and past investments done before . . . or risk losing those time- and effort-saving resources.

With branding, smaller incremental adjustments to the work done in the past are typically more effective than complete overhauls in producing successful changes embraced by the public.  Keeping ties to past branding and a connection to your history is smart business.

Why a Designer?

While the Brand Manager will not necessarily be the person who created the original visual branding elements in use by a company, that individual will supervise or at least be a very active participant in all marketing/sales/advertising activities.   As a result, the ability to conceptualize and/or execute campaigns that reflect the style, content, and goals of the brand will be crucial.

Why a Statistician?

While branding decisions will always be somewhat built upon intuition, research data has begun to play an increasingly critical role in branding.  Therefore, the Manager must be familiar with and able to initiate and/or evaluate research activities such as surveys, focus groups, and other vehicles for the collection of information that determines which elements of a brand have been successful . . . as well as those that have not.  Data mining of this kind also suggests future sales initiatives . . . and must be incorporated into the daily operations of the company and evaluated on an ongoing basis.

The Good News

Obviously, the role of Brand Manager is not a simple one.  This multi-faceted job requires a diverse skill set as well as a tenacious, slightly obsessive-compulsive personality that is part creative, part analytical, part technical, and more.  The good news is – you’ve probably been filling this position for a very long time (and probably quite well!!) without the title or extra pay.  While some aspects of this job will come quite automatically and are already in place, the goal of this article is to share the full extent of the duties to help identify any omissions that can be addressed on your way to building a better brand.

Another Tip:

Since the current year is rapidly winding to a close, now is the perfect time to pause for some self-reflection and introduce new strategies aimed at change for the better.  Perhaps even enclose a short survey in that Holiday/Thank You card you send to wish your customers a safe and wonderful holiday season as well as a Happy New Year!!

As always, we welcome any thoughts or feedback, and we encourage you to comment by using the space provided below.


Create a Branding Activity Calendar (Template Included)

At some point after initial development of your branding elements, sales and service activities begin to overlap and incorporate brand management.  To ensure ongoing progress toward the goal of building an established, identifiable brand, a “Branding Calendar” can be a very useful tool that helps to add structure to an amorphous task.

The following is a list of activities that can and should occur within a month to promote consistent progress . . . and results.

  • Explore opportunities for charitable contributions/community involvement.  (Could involve a monetary contribution, a give-away item with a logo, OR the gift of time and can be used to develop promotional materials.)
  • Prepare and submit press releases (could be personnel or product/service-related or more geared to civic involvement as outlined above).
  • Send direct mail/e-mail to sell product/service but simultaneously support brand awareness. 
  • Perform Social Media postings for product or community-related news (as mentioned above); every press release, ad, charitable gesture, mailing etc. can potentially benefit from a social media followup.
  • Perform a customer care activity to try to make sure you know who they are and that they are well served.  Remember, your branding will only ever be effective when the customer’s experience is being reflected.
  • Address SEO (search engine optimization) activities, evaluating current search results and exploring possible ways to improve such as running campaigns to increase backlinks, adding content to site, channeling contact and sales information through the web site to build traffic, etc.

All of these activities represent opportunities to promote your brand, circulate your logo, incorporate any slogans/by-lines, reuse standard boilerplate language etc.  We suggest utilizing our Branding Calendar as a guide to monitor and structure your progress and make sure your sales activity incorporates the branding elements you’ve decided upon. 

Obviously, we encourage you to use our calendar as a starting point for you to customize to your specific operations.  For instance . . .

  • Perhaps telemarketing has proven to be a successful sales and service strategy for you.  Then, include that item and make sure your telemarketing staff has scripts that reflect your branding. 
  • Perhaps advertising is a key for you.  If so, be sure to add several days to create ad copy, build web landing pages, submit your creative, etc.
  • Tradeshows important to your operation?  Then, use them as an opportunity to promote your brand and deliver your message both verbally and in print, including the content of your trade show booth.

Our intention over time is to create separate articles about each of these potential vehicles for building your brand so we can explore the topic in greater detail and hopefully offer some very specific, concrete tips related to the activity.  Till then, hope you find our calendar a useful starting point in customizing your own. (Download our Branding Calendar template and activity worksheets.)