As branding defines the product image, it is often inferred that brand management is the same as managing a product. Indeed, there is an inherent relationship between them. Experienced product managers do keep branding in mind – marketing research, product positioning, etc. Simply because, without a product, there cannot be any branding.
But influencing the mass market and cultivating brand loyalty through marketing activities are focus areas of brand managers. In product management, determining the roadmap and business strategy – touching on how the product will satisfy the customer while aligning with brand goals are also important.
So, the questions you should be asking first are
- Does brand management fall under product management?
- Can one work without the other?
By exploring the difference between product management and brand management, you will be able to derive their answers.
Product Management vs Brand Management
There are quite a few differences in the processes and roles involved between the two disciplines, but they do overlap at some stages.
Product Management Processes
Product management includes transforming an idea/concept into a tangible object that is marketable. But not every innovative concept is viable. There should be then a structured approach from product conception to actualisation.
Idea Management – Experts in the field define this aspect as a qualitative process. The business vision should be the starting point to determine how the product will impact the industry, customer and the company.
This is done by creating a product summary that highlights the advantages of the product against the competitors and the specifications that resolve the customers’ pain points. Do note it is essential to understand the customer at this stage. This is done by creating a buyer persona and understanding their behaviours.
Building Internal and External Roadmaps – Aligning the short- and long-term product goals with internal members (development, sales and executive teams) and externally with stakeholders, investors and existing customers is essential. It is documented to articulate the direction of the product clearly with everyone involved.
Prioritisation – This is an important process of product management ensuring everyone works towards the common goal. But it is easier said than done.
Your development team can prioritise one element in the chain while the stakeholder wants to see results for another. How would you satisfy both demands? It’s simple: use a prioritisation framework. MoSCoW analysis (Must have, Should have, Could have, Won’t have), RICE scoring (Reach, Impact, Confidence and Effort), etc are some of them. Based on the organisational culture, any of these can be used.
Product Delivery – Managing the product delivery is crucial, that is, the point of delivery of clear-cut specifications to engineers for product development. The product manager has to make sure the work progress of the development/engineering team aligns with the defined goals.
Testing – This process is also considered as the execution stage where the product manager conducts a series of tests to check the efficiency of the product. The goal here is to determine if the product meets the needs of the customer and based on that, the product is improved upon.
Marketing – Depending on the organisation’s size, product managers can also be responsible for this aspect. They usually are. They would ideate the price of the product competitively, find the right distribution channel to market the product, work with the sales team, etc., to generate revenue strategically.
Tracking Results – The responsibilities of the product manager does not end in marketing. They would actively monitor different metrics such as user engagement, retention rate and so forth.
Brand Management Processes
Brand management is necessary to keep improving the product’s and company’s perception that the consumer currently has and will have in the future. While a product manager makes a product successful by developing what a customer needs, a brand manager focuses on maintaining that success over time and increasing the reach. Have a look at the most essential brand management processes.
Brand Positioning – It involves highlighting the vision of the company and how the product helps the customer and stands out in the industry. It is much similar to the idea management process of product management but here the focus is on establishing the brand based on the finished product and not necessarily the concept. Instead, it looks deeply into what the target audience perceives of the brand and the qualities/attributes that competitors are not able to offer so far.
Brand Marketing – This process is necessary to create a brand identity through various elements including logo, hashtag slogans, symbols and so on. With a strong brand identity, consumers are able to associate with the brand in a unique way.
Measuring Brand Performance – Regularly analysing how the brand is performing is key to brand success. Whatever marketing activities, be it, social media marketing, email marketing, etc., are used should drive measurable results in order to improve customer perception efficiently.
Maintaining Brand Equity – Brand equity is the culmination of components such as awareness, perception, identifier against competitors, market relevance, customer loyalty and value of the brand. Integrating quality control in products, offering accessibility by creating an active community and creating positive experiences help in maintaining these interrelated components. It is through brand equity, a business is able to expand its reach in different locations.
Why Product Management and Brand Management are Important Together?
Both brand management and product management have separate processes with some overlap in marketing activities. As far as branding as a part of product management is concerned, you can now determine better that these are individual disciplines that require exhaustive expertise on their own. Because none can work without the other.
Does brand management fall under product management?
No, brand management and product management are distinct disciplines. While there is a relationship between them, brand management focuses on cultivating brand loyalty and influencing the mass market, whereas product management involves transforming ideas into marketable products.
Can one work without the other, product management and brand management?
Ideally, both product management and brand management should work together for the success of a product. Product management ensures the development and delivery of a quality product that meets customer needs, while brand management focuses on maintaining and enhancing the brand's perception and reach over time.
What are the key processes involved in product management and brand management?
Key processes in product management include idea management, building roadmaps, prioritization, product delivery, testing, marketing, and tracking results. On the other hand, brand management involves processes such as brand positioning, brand marketing, measuring brand performance, and maintaining brand equity.
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