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For both B2B and B2C-based organizations, a highly differentiating story is the highest priority from a current best practice or trend standpoint for managing and promoting a brand image. Figure 3, Top Challenges Creating and Managing a Brand, shows a prioritization key challenges from a marketing, sales and executive management perspective. At the top of all factors is differentiating with a story followed by linking brand value to business objectives.
Figure 3: Top Challenges Creating and Managing a Brand
Source: (Analysis of Reports Accessed with Permission from the Publisher & Jump, 2012).
Assessment of Brand Management Theories and Best Practices to Build Consumer Trust
Dr. Aaker's theories and frameworks including the Aaker Model illustrate how brand management is a highly synchronized strategy, encompassing every aspect of an organization (Aaker, 2007). As has been shown in this analysis the future of branding is predicated both on the pried advances related to Big Data, data aggregation and predictive analytics, in addition to gaining insights into the unquantifiable differences between experiences and expectations. By continually working to bridge the gap between experiences and expectations, brands become more trusted (Kahn, 2009). When a given brand can continually meet and exceed the differences between expectations and experiences customers become highly loyal and develop enthusiasm for a given brand (Maxian, Bradley, Wise, Toulouse, 2013).
Brand management theories and approaches used for gaining customer trust include the economic approach, which was defined primarily by the 4Ps of marketing and an economic justification of purchasing (Forza, Salvador, 2008). This approach led to the identity approach which looked at the aspects of organizational alignment and assimilation to a given culture or vision of a brand, which is a precursor to the Aaker Model (Aaker, 2007). The consumer-based approach looks at brand equity as a means to gain trust with a customer, and builds on the lessons learned from the economic and identity approaches. The consumer-based approach is what Dr. Aaker used as a foundation to extend and refine his theories of the personality approach to brand management. This approach centers on the four aspects mentioned earlier (Aaker, 2007). The relational approach looked at the dyadic brand-customer relationships and brand relationship quality levels as a proxy for customer trust (Bronnenberg, Dhar, Dube, 2007). This approach led to a community framework and cultural approach, both of which began to encompass the concepts of Dr. Aaker's Model that takes into account the multifaceted aspects of a given brand and its supporting ecosystem (Aaker, 2007). As the progression of theories shows, the field of brand management has progressed from seeing customer loyalty and the corresponding effects initially as an equation, and today being seen more as a consequence of experimental learning and consistency of activity across all channels and interaction points between a company and its customers. The current theories of brand management take into account the qualitative and quantitative aspects of brand equity and look to create trusting relationships with customers through consistency and continual exceeding of expectations over time.
Evaluation of Roles, Problems Encountered, Skills Required and Functions of a Brand Manager Related to Improving Marketing Strategies
The roles of a brand manager center on orchestrating the many programs and initiatives necessary for creating and promoting a sustained, differentiated story of product or service value. Brand managers also need to have an excellent grasp of project management skills, combined with Emotional Intelligence (EI) to ascertain how best to gain cross-functional support (Bronnenberg, Dhar, Dube, 2007). The roles of a brand manager include marketer, strategist, project manager and most importantly, transformational leader of the entire brand management team, even if they don't have a formal title for this role. This is the one aspect of a brand manager's role that is the most challenging of all; orchestrating the many diverse departments of an organization together to ensure consistency of branding execution and clarity of communication to the many members of the ecosystem both within and outside the company (Kahn, 2009). Lastly the brand manager must continually move towards the objective of understanding and respecting and nurturing the passion customers have for the brand, and seeking to continually provide proof points of why their brand is wroth trusting and relying on over time (Maxian, Bradley, Wise, Toulouse, 2013).
Appraising the Value of Technology in Promoting a Strong Brand Image Online
The value of technologies in promoting a strong brand image online is very significant, and in 2013 one can not effectively manage a brand without online technologies and tools. When spending on branding technologies is analyzed by results as is shown in Figure 4, it is apparent how highly effective spend targeted at quality of pipeline, ability to gain entry and ability to close business are (Jump, 2012). Figure 4 shows that the more precise and focused investments are in branding spending the greater the potential fro market growth. This is based on having insights into which aspects of branding to emphasize and focused on to gain maximum return on branding investment.
Figure 4: What is the correlation between market leadership and brand investment? Percentage of organization's 2013 marketing budget on branding initiatives by growth rates
Source: (Analysis of Reports Accessed with Permission from the Publisher & Jump, 2012).
Aaker, D. (2007). Innovation: Brand it or lose it. California Management Review, 50(1), 8-24.
John M.T. Balmer. (2012). Corporate brand management imperatives: Custodianship, credibility and calibration. California Management Review, 54(3), 6-33.
Bogomolova, S., & Romaniuk, J. (2010). Brand equity of defectors and never boughts in a business financial market. Industrial Marketing Management, 39(8), 1261.
Bronnenberg, B.J., Dhar, S.K., & Dube, J. (2007). National brands, local branding: Conclusions and future research opportunities. JMR, Journal of Marketing Research, 44(1), 9-9.
Forza, C., & Salvador, F. (2008). Application support to product variety management. International Journal of Production Research, 46(3), 817.
Gielens, K. (2012). New products: The antidote to private label growth? JMR, Journal of Marketing Research, 49(3), 408.
Jump, Annette (2012). Impact Appraisal: Consumers Respond to Technology Branding Campaigns Published: 24 December 2012. Gartner Corporation. Accessed with permission of the publisher.
Kahn, M. (2009). Corporate brand management: past, present and future. Pranjana: The Journal of Management Awareness, (12), 21-39. Retrieved from http://www.mimts.org/Pranjana…[continue]
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