Brand management is a communication function that includes analysis and planning on how that brand is positioned in the market, which target public the brand is targeted at, and maintaining a desired reputation of the brand. Developing a good relationship with target publics is essential for brand management. Tangible elements of brand management include the product itself; look, price, the packaging, etc. The intangible elements are the experience that the consumer takes away from the brand, and also the relationship that they have with that brand. A brand manager would oversee all of these things.
In 2001 Hislop defined branding as "the process of creating a relationship or a connection between a company's product and emotional perception of the customer for the purpose of generation segregation among competition and building loyalty among customers." In 2004 and 2008, Kapferer and Keller respectively defined it as a fulfillment in customer expectations and consistent customer satisfaction.
The origination of branding can be traced to ancient times, when specialists often put individual trademarks on hand-crafted goods. The branding of farm animals in Egypt in 2700 BC to avoid theft may be considered the earliest form of branding, as in its literal sense. As somewhat more than half of companies older than 200 years old are in Japan, (see: List of oldest companies), many Japanese businesses' "mon" or seal is an East Asian form of brand or trademark. In the West, Staffelter Hof dates to 862 or earlier and still produces wine under its name today. By 1266, English bakers were required by law to put a specific symbol on each product they sold. Branding became more widely used in the 19th century, through the industrial revolution and the development of new professional fields like marketing, manufacturing and business management. Branding is a way of differentiating product from mere commodities, and therefore usage of branding expanded with each advance in transportation, communication, and trade.
Any list of brands would be necessarily incomplete, but purely for example, Interbrand's 2012 top-10 global brands are Coca-cola, Apple, IBM, Google, Microsoft, GE, McDonald's, Intel, Samsung, and Toyota. The split between commodities/food services and technology is not a matter of chance: both industrial sectors rely heavily on sales to the individual consumer who must be able to rely on cleanliness/quality or reliability/value, respectively. For this reason, industries such as agriculture (which sells to other companies in the food sector), student loans (which have a relationship with universities/schools rather than the individual loan-taker), electricity (which is generally a controlled monopoly), and so on have less prominent and less valuable brands. Brand value, moreover, is not simply a fuzzy feeling of "consumer appeal," but an actual quantitative value of good will under Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Companies will rigorously defend their brand name, including prosecution of trademark infringement. Occasionally trademarks may differ across countries.
Among the most highly visible and recognizable brands is the red Coca-cola can. Despite numerous blind tests indicating that Coke's flavor is not preferred, Coca-Cola continues to enjoy a dominant share of the cola market. Coca-cola's history is so long that a folklore has sprung up around the brand, including the (refuted) myth that Coca-cola invented the red-dressed Santa-Claus which enjoys currency in less developed regions of the world such as the former Soviet Union and China, and such brand-management stories as "Coca-Cola's first entry into the Chinese market resulted in their brand being translated as 'bite the wax tadpole'). Brand management science is replete with such stories, including the Chevrolet 'Nova' or "it doesn't go" in Spanish, and proper cultural translation is useful to countries entering new markets.
Modern brand management also intersects with legal issues such as 'genericization of trademark.' The 'Xerox' Company continues to fight heavily in media whenever a reporter or other writer uses 'xerox' as simply a synonym for 'photocopy.' Should usage of 'xerox' be accepted as the standard English term for 'photocopy,' then Xerox's competitors could successfully argue in court that they are permitted to create 'xerox' machines as well. Yet, in a sense, reaching this stage of market domination is itself a triumph of brand management, in that becoming so dominant typically involves strong profit.
Brand management aims to create an emotional connection between products, companies and their customers and constituents. Brand managers may try to control the image of the brand.
"By Appointment to His Royal Majesty" was a registered and limited list of approved brands suitable for supply to the Royal British family.
Some believe brand managers can be counter-productive, due to their short-term focus.
On the other end of the extreme, luxury and high-end premium brands may create advertisements or sponsor teams merely for the "overall feeling" or goodwill generated. A typical "no-brand" advertisement might simply put up the price (and indeed, brand managers may patrol retail outlets for using their name in discount/clearance sales), whereas on the other end of the extreme a perfume brand might be created that does not show the actual use of the perfume or Breitling may sponsor an aerobatics team purely for the "image" created by such sponsorship. Space travel and brand management for this reason also enjoys a special relationship.
- Brand orientation
- Chief brand officer
- Employer branding
- Brand engagement
- Brand implementation
- Visual brand language
- Brand ambassador