When you think of a strong brand, what comes to mind? Is it excellent marketing? High-quality products? Pushing the boundaries of what’s feasible within an industry? An innovative pricing strategy?
No matter what you think of first, there are entire teams behind the scenes working to make that brand strong. It’s one of the oldest adages in business: Your brand is your most valuable asset. This general truth touches nearly all teams within a company. You’ve got marketing and sales, product, customer support, category management, and many other roles that all tie into brand management.
One such role is the brand guardian. This position focuses on protecting a brand’s presence in the market. Traditionally, brand guardians aren’t tackling pricing, though. We think that’s a missed opportunity. Here’s why you should treat pricing like a brand guardian.
What is a Brand Guardian?
Like we said, your average brand guardian isn’t dealing with pricing. What they do is own a brand’s presentation in the market—all the visuals, messaging, and campaigns that are seen by potential customers. These professionals make sure that the “brand” is consistent in every channel and that internal teams understand the tenets of that brand, what it should look like, and how to apply brand guidelines in their daily tasks.
As you can see, brand consistency is a big part of this employee’s duties. Beyond that, it’s about enabling a company to build communications that reflect the brand in a positive light, but more importantly, in the way that the business wants to be portrayed. This is easier said than done, as different channels require different tactics. A podcast might need to be branded in one way compared to a website, a booth at a tradeshow, or an in-store display.
Of course, we haven’t talked about pricing yet. You won’t find a lot of resources around “pricing” brand guardianship—more on marketing, sales, and public relations. That’s an oversight, as pricing is one of the most important parts of a good brand.
Why Does Brand Guardianship Matter?
A good guardian can have a positive impact on an entire business, not just one team. They’re creative, consistent communicators who know the elements of their brand better than anyone.
When done right, this role can:
- Save money and make money—Brand guardianship helps a business save money by enabling all employees to do their jobs without worrying about brand compliance. They have the tools, resources, and education to focus on the core aspects of their jobs, improving efficiency. Guardians can also help make money by building up a brand in the market. Their work helps consumers associate a brand in a positive light, or connect the company to a niche, like premium, luxury, or budget.
- Avoid brand erosion—Are your shoppers loyal to your company? Or will they grab whatever brand is available on the shelf? Guardians ensure a consistent brand image in the market, helping keep customers loyal. You want them to know what to expect when they buy your products, not be surprised by a bad habit or a mistake that makes it to market.
- Build trust—On a related note, good brand guardians will build trust with your shoppers. Your brand’s positioning will be strong every time. You will look good on the physical or digital shelf. You’ll be accessible to customers. They’ll know you’ll treat them right if something goes wrong and that your products or services will work as advertised. This trust means more loyalty and more revenue.
- Remove inefficiencies—A weaker brand, one without clear messaging, rules, and stakeholders, is one that isn’t working as well as it could. Customers might not know what to expect. Your competitors might have plenty of gaps to exploit. The brand isn’t being treated as an investment, but as a line item to check off the list. Brand guardians can clean up bad habits and reduce the likelihood of a negative touchpoint happening with customers.
Do you know what else ties into all these elements? Pricing. The right price, consistent pricing strategies, and clear pricing guidelines all help a business hit its objectives. Just like with a marketing campaign, rolling out a product with an ineffective price will hurt sales. It will erode brand loyalty, give your competitors an opening to exploit, and cost you money.
Traditionally, brand guardians don’t tackle pricing. That’s an oversight, as pricing is one of the most important parts of any brand.
Your Pricing Brand Guardian To-Do List
Don’t want to let pricing get in the way of a great brand experience? Here’s how to approach pricing as a brand guardian.
Create Clear Internal Guidelines
Brand guardians often build internal guidelines for how to treat a brand—what logo to use, which messaging works for which channel, and so on. You can do the same for pricing. Create a set of pricing strategies for certain categories or products. Make sure that those strategies are communicated to the relevant departments, so there’s no confusion. Better yet, explain the reasoning behind each strategy and include a line about how they protect the brand. If something like this exists already, give it a review. Are your pricing strategies updated? Do they make sense? Are they effective for your current products or were they created for a product six iterations ago?
Conduct Routine Pricing Audits
Are the plans that you made in step one making their way to the shelf? This is a common breaking point for any business—the best plans tend to fall apart once it comes time to actually execute them. Avoid this problem by conducting routine pricing audits. For in-store brands, you can turn to field teams, merchandisers, or mystery shoppers to get a good picture of your brick-and-mortar prices, which retailers are marking down your products, and more shelf intelligence. Digital brands can use price intelligence software to get automated reports on product pricing across various marketplaces. Don’t just look at your brand, either. Monitor competitors at the same time to help you build better pricing strategies.
Get Buy-In Throughout Your Company
Unfortunately, the biggest blockers to any project often come from inside the company. It’s almost never malicious, more that every employee has their own projects, concerns, and to-do lists to handle. You can get ahead of problems like this around pricing by getting buy-in from key stakeholders. First, communicate the logic behind any pricing strategies. Be clear about who you are as a brand—are you a luxury, premium offering or do you fit more into the dollar channel? Be open about the benefits of consistent pricing. Show data to back up sales projections and present competitive analysis to give a fuller picture of the market. Finally, enable all stakeholders to get involved with project management software, data analytics tools, and other platforms. Give them view-only access if possible and make sure they know where to look for anything pricing.
The bottom line is that shoppers have more options than ever. They can check prices with a few taps of their smartphones. Retailers are more aggressive with sales and markdowns. Product catalogs are larger than ever before. Get ahead of brand problems by taking control of your pricing now. Pricing should always be a reason why you’re hitting your numbers and fostering loyalty with customers—it should never be an inconsistent, ineffective hindrance to a great sales period.