Meet the 2014 Brand Dream Team

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Every brand needs a brand dream team. That team consists of not only people who help create, communicate, manage, direct, and protect the brand, but also the group of words, symbols, and slogans that serve as brand messengers. The chosen brand messengers require a human brand team to shepherd the brand from conception to consumer.

The human members of the brand dream team will likely vary based on the size of the organization. Yet, since the advent of social media, even smaller brands need to create a team of conscious collaborators to communicate and protect the brand across the burgeoning array of platforms.

Who are the collaborators for brand development, marketing, communications, and protection? There is the branding team that breathes life into the identity and messaging of the brand.  Then, there is the graphic and creative design team, charged with the visual communication of the brand. The overall brand manager oversees the tangible and intangible aspects of the brand. In the case of products, the tangibles are the products themselves, the packaging, the price, etc. For service brands, the tangibles center on the creation of the customer experience, including the retail environment, the interface with salespeople, and the overall satisfaction.

The intangibles for all brands concentrate on the establishing and communicating the emotional connection to the brand. Intangibles are managed via the manipulation of identity, communication, and people skills.

What about a brand marketing manager responsible for developing and executing marketing programs that increase brand identity and brand awareness of a company or product?   In addition, the digital marketing director has become an important position in many companies.  He or she is often charged with overall branding, brand awareness, brand messaging, and managing adherence to global brand guidelines in the online marketplace. The digital marketing director can also manage teams dealing with program and product launches, metrics and online reporting, e-mail, and online marketing programs, to name but a few possibilities. The social media director executes brand strategy across various platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, which play an important role in customer interaction, feedback, and communications in today’s marketplace.

What happens when an affiliate is typosquatting, or suddenly buying Google Adwords using the brand names? Enter brand counsel. If you are planning for success, you’ll need this team member. The need for expert counsel goes with the territory. In today’s world, marketing teams must work in close communication with brand counsel. Global brands such as XEROX exemplify a company that has embraced the rapidly changing landscape. During my recent interview with XEROX Global V-P of Intellectual Property Margaret Walker, for the forthcoming book Brandaide, Margaret shared with me the important role of communication across disciplines. Imagine brand managers in 140 countries worldwide, each dealing with local domains, languages and marketing campaigns, team members who are also responsible for maintaining and protecting brand integrity. Great brand marketing strategies should be cleared with brand counsel in advance, lest disappointments and misunderstandings arise when counsel has to say “no, that can’t be done.”

Brand counsel works to train and educate other team members such as brand managers and digital marketing managers on brand selection and usage. Counsel also works with team members to help position, strategize, and protect new brand initiatives. This type of communication is vital, especially for brand owners with a rapidly expanding customer base, a strong Internet presence, or international aspirations. Equally important is the ability to access expertise on a moment’s notice when one needs to deal with issues such as domain hijacking, website infringements, counterfeit goods, and a plethora of other dilemmas that emerge quickly, often without warning.

Have you ever considered how the value of a brand is measured, and why? When a business is sold, up to 60% of the value of the purchase price is often for the brand! That figure got my attention, and helped me recognize and appreciate the importance of building the value other team members have worked hard to create. Valuation experts in Intellectual Property are often the goal tenders of brand equity and brand value. When a company is sold, the brand valuation expert is vital. Then there are brands which are may have failed, but are sold and re launched. Sharper Image is one that comes to mind.

No matter the size of your brand, understanding the roles various individuals contribute to the overall value of a company’s brands is vital in today’s world. Next, we’ll look at the messengers of brand values, those team members known as the trademarks and brand drivers.