We’ve heard it all before: It’s important to maintain your brand. But when business executives of every-sized companies find that they have less and less time to maintain their brand’s image and reputation, a third-party brand management team will come in, understand the philosophy behind a company, and act as a chief marketing officer to preserve the appearance and operations of a product or service.
The forces behind globally-based Interbrand and Los Angeles-based B360 Studios offer their expertise in the proper way to manage brands without losing that personal touch.
CREATING AND MANAGING GLOBAL BRANDS
“CEOs are looking for the financial value when it comes to branding,” Andrea Sullivan Executive Director, Client Services of Global Branding Consultancy for Interbrand says. “Companies have much more responsibility to maintain their brands are a result of social media. Customers, consumers, and those new to a brand all have an opportunity to comment or participate in the branding of a business and its performance to maintain reputations.”
“The interesting thing about today is that the questions being asked by executives when it comes to brand management are quite different from the past years,” Sullivan says. “The economy is changing, there’s more advisory than before, and companies are defining what business opportunities or challenges are out there and how branding can solve those issues.”
Sullivan believes there are three ways to define a great brand: the brand drives demand, commands premium products, and engenders loyalty from clients and/or employees. “There’s a constant struggle with how brands work to attain those three elements and how to convert a brand strategy into something meaningful for customers,” she says.
“Clients are interested in looking at how corporate citizenship can become part of the over-arching theme of a brand and how the company can take on a role as a citizen of the world to make sure what they’re doing is making a positive difference with their branding strategy,” Sullivan says.
Interbrand’s past projects include working with Microsoft to launch Bing and Xbox 360’s Kinect gaming console, Wii, Mini Cooper, McDonald’s, AT&T, and Susan G Komen.
INTEGRATING BRANDING WITH SOCIAL MEDIA
Ray Doustar is one of the partner’s behind Los Angeles-based B360 Studio, a brand management agency specializing in brand development and positioning, licensing, mobile solutions, and Web 2.0 technologies. Doustar approaches those looking for brand management services by taking up the role of a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for that company.
“Branding is a hot buzzword these days; everyone wants to be a brand,” Doustar says. “Our company is about taking on a client that we’re passionate about and putting ourselves into the CMO role.” Depending on a company’s budget for brand management services, Doustar still believes that more traditional advertising, such as commercials, magazine ads, radio spots, and outdoor billboards are the easiest way to reach larger audiences, although pricey.
“Additionally, we use social media and the Internet to increase a client’s presence on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google ads and other sites and blend it with more traditional advertising to grow effectiveness even more,” he says. “Mobile solutions are also getting big right now and another one of our key areas of focus are strategic licensing. Instead of finding a company to manufacture your product, you find a partner to license out your offering and let them do the heavy lifting while the company works on managing their brand and process.”
For instance, B360 Studios is currently managing Los Angeles-based fbe (Firm Body Evolution) Spa, a high-end holistic fitness center and spa. “By leveraging new ways to market the business, we’ve used group buying sites like Living Social and Groupon to offer deep discounts for membership and also had segments on TV shows like ‘Access Hollywood’ and ‘The Doctors’ to share information about fbe to other interested individuals. This is a perfect example of how we work with businesses to leverage web 2.0 to spread awareness of the product and services.”
When meeting with a new prospective client seeking branding strategies, Doustar asks what their current business plan and demographic is and what they’re trying to accomplish with branding. Next, the firm performs a thorough analysis of previous business plans, strategies and business operations for a clear understanding about what worked in the past and what did not. Doustar then uses what was successful and puts a plan into place to enhance on prior victories. Lastly, a new plan is put into place to build the business and attract new customers with new business ventures.
For more information on these brand management companies, visit www.interbrand.com and www.b360studios.com.