Upleveling your Brand Management Program

June 2024
By Philip Winterburn, Chief Strategy and Product Officer, Beam

Brand management varies extensively across organizations. Depending on the stage of growth your company has achieved, the size of the organization, the type of industry you are in, etc. However, we find there are several practices that are common to most and can be used to assess where your program is today, and more importantly what to do to raise the bar to the next level. 


Through multiple interviews of leading organizations and an analysis of these common factors we have developed the Brand Maturity Model.

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There are five maturity levels in this model: 


  • Unmanaged: There is an absence of a solid, defined and well-managed brand in Level 1 on the maturity scale. This creates a perception of unreliability and inconsistency, and impacts the impressions left on an organization. Culturally, there is misalignment with the brand where stakeholders do not feel the brand’s daily reach. In an unmanaged environment, employees have difficulty accessing approved guidelines, standards, templates, and other assets needed to quickly turn around valuable content. Employees will create their own versions of collateral that are divergent from the brand, resulting in brand dilution. 


  • Centralized: Level 2 on the maturity scale. Organizations embarking on their maturity journey are stepping out of chaotic mismanagement and uncontrolled brand representation. They will often take this first step of centralizing brand management in an attempt to exert some degree of control over the current unmanaged processes, and to step away from outdated processes such as reusing old assets and storing guidelines in PDF documents. 


  • Governed: Level 3 on the scale. In this stage, brand alignment is a burden on the organization. Governed programs are usually reacting to the chaos that preceded them and are established to control brand usage and brand assets. Approval and review processes are established with clear gates created to prevent sharing. Often, these programs are equated to the old view of Brand Cop, working to monitor and correct deviations. The department of No. With these programs, the brand manifests sporadically and is typically diluted. 


  • Engaged: As organizations move up to Level 4, they tend to have established a functional communications plan that ensures all stakeholders have awareness of the brand and how to interact with the Brand Management team and brand assets. The need for overbearing review processes is diminished as brand use is democratized and education reaches a level where stakeholders can be trusted to stay largely on-brand. Brand Managers’ focus returns more on raising awareness than enforcing standardization. Brand alignment is more streamlined, brand divergence is significantly reduced, and the brand value is maintained.  


Now becoming far more impactful, their stakeholders are fully engaged, understand the brand value, the importance of consistent messaging and are actively working with the brand team to ensure alignment and consistency. The organization is actively working to elevate brand value. The role of Brand Managers is now to operate fully as Brand Concierge, instead of a Brand Cop, manifesting the brand consistently and driving value. 


  • Inspired: The pinnacle of brand management is achieved when all stakeholders are inspired by the brand. When employees are natural brand advocates. As a result, brand managers become strategic partners to the business. They are involved in strategic planning from the beginning of all major initiatives, thereby ensuring the brand is represented genuinely. Furthermore, employees and stakeholders are inspired and engaged to the extent that they naturally manifest the brand in everything they do. Whether written, spoken, designed or experienced, the employees share consistent tone, verbiage and set of values aligned with the organization’s brand. The brand and the culture have become one.
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Where does your brand stand on this journey? 


We’ve created the Brand Maturity Model to help you assess your brand’s maturity stage and determine how best to maximize its potential.

Unlock the power of your brand with our Brand Maturity Model today!

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