The study of Brand Management is a subdivision within the greater field of Consumer Studies, focused on theoretical approaches to brands, the significatory symbols/idents/markers associated with specific products and services, whose ultimate purpose is to influence the market. In contemporary liberal free market society, brands are an extremely important source of value to firms and thus paramount to organisational success. Hence the notion of brand equity: the abstract value imbued in a specific brand identity. Brand Management, therefore, concerns the practical and theoretical dimensions of this value, especially regarding consumer behaviour. This involves looking at the many different academic aspects of consumption choices, encompassing economic theory, cognitive psychology, cultural studies, management studies, marketing, communications, and other fields broadly connected to market theories. The point is to combine these discrete fields into a coherent conceptual framework of how and why brands operate; this, in turn, should enable the student to formulate an effective strategy for managing a brand: for the considered treatment of associated imagery and identity, its ideological characteristics, and ways these elements influence consumer perception and behaviour. Thus the successful Brand Management student will marshal scholarly evidence and arguments in composing a sound brand management strategy. This has diverse implications within the context of the contemporary globalised marketplace, in which international sales strategy and corporate policy come in to play; in which the same brand is often required to do duty in culturally and economically distinct locales; where circumspect and careful handling of a brand can mean the difference between a firm’s success and failure. In sum, brand management is extremely important in contemporary business.
The overarching field of Consumer Studies is constantly being updated and hosts much innovation. A good Brand Management essay, in consequence, needs to be versed in the latest critical findings, so as to stay abreast of advances in branding strategy and implementation. Marketers are increasingly turning to Consumer Theory in order to devise more efficient strategies for brand management. At the same time, scholarly perspectives are incrementally adopting more comprehensive attitudes toward branding: as pertaining to complex abstract meaning-making processes that are deeply connected with consumer identity and lifestyle choices. In this view, the brand is understood as a set of values which may be accommodated by consumers in “identity projects”. The brand thus represents a set of values; these values are the primary item being marketed, not the product to which they are associated, per se. Advances in Brand Management studies are increasingly orientated toward an appreciation of these proposed abstract ideals, the “lifestyle” that a given brand is purported to embody. A successful essay on Brand Management will be able to draw connecting lines between these posited abstract value-laden “lifestyle” paradigms and the more traditional dimensions of microeconomic theory and psychology that characterise conventional Consumer Studies. This will include empirical research, data collection and analyses: allowing the student to formulate a well-reasoned and evidence-based argument for a particular strategy approach. The more the weight of evidence leans in your favour, the more likely you are to have alighted on an effective brand management strategy.
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