The Best Corporate Structure For Brand Building

Branding Strategy Insider helps marketing oriented leaders and professionals like you build strong brands. BSI readers know, we regularly answer questions from marketers everywhere. Today we hear from Sandra, a VP of Marketing in Atlanta, Georgia who asks this on corporate brand leadership…

Who in a company should have leadership responsibility for the brand and how should a company be organized to best manage and grow its brand?

Thanks for your question Sandra. For most companies, the brand exists at the organizational level. Therefore, the person who is ultimately responsibility for maintaining, growing and leveraging the brand asset is the organization’s leader – CEO, executive director, president, etc. That person should know what the brand stands for, how it aligns with the organization’s mission, vision and values and what makes it unique and compelling in the marketplace. Further, that person should model brand-supporting behaviors.

Practically, that person will likely assign the day-to-day responsibilities for managing the brand to a senior level chief brand advocate, who will likely have at least a small staff to help him or her monitor, manage, build and leverage the brand. This might include a brand identity manager, who is responsible for maintaining brand identity accuracy and consistency throughout the enterprise.

Often the brand function, while senior in level, has little direct authority across all of the functions in the organization that impact the brand. This is why the chief brand advocate needs to be a highly skilled influencer who is also highly respected. The brand managers will often work through interdisciplinary groups. For instance, the brand identity manager might chair a brand identity council comprised of people throughout the organization who use the brand in communications. The role of that council would be to insure brand identity accuracy and consistency. It is essentially a self-policing organization.

A brand-centric organization will put mechanisms in place to insure that all employees at least understand what the brand stands for and what differentiates it in its markets. Often, those organizations will go further and transform their employees into brand advocates and evangelists. Mechanisms for doing this include visible leadership support of the brand, brand training and communication, common measures that include brand measures, creating a brand scorecard and reporting results against it, linking brand plans to business plans and recognizing and rewarding employees for brand-centric behaviors.

As the management guru, Peter Drucker once said, “You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” Brand management requires metrics and at least one manager whose role it is to manage the brand.

I wish you great success in managing your brand.

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