Brand Management: What it is & How it Protects Your Brand

Pattern Marketing

March 2, 2022

It’s easy to throw your product online, forget about it, and go about your business expecting to make big profits on ecommerce in your sleep. Even though the internet has made some incredible things possible—like ordering 1,500 live ladybugs to your doorstep—what it can’t do is tackle your brand management for you; and without brand management, you could be inadvertently causing real financial harm to your company.

What is brand management?

At a high level, brand management (or marketplace management) is a component of marketing that ensures your business is running smoothly and has consistent messaging across all domestic and international channels—this includes your marketing, your advertising, logistics, listings, social media, and more. In ecommerce, brand management includes controlling how other sellers use your brand name and products in the marketplace.

Why does brand management matter?

Brand management (or the lack thereof) directly impacts how customers view your brand and your product, which affects the value of your brand and product, and the price a shopper is willing to pay for your brand’s products. With good management, you can increase the perceived value of your product line and improve your brand equity over time. You can also grow brand awareness and build a tight ship that consumers love and trust.

Brand management protects your brand image

Without brand management, you’re essentially giving unauthorized sellers or even poor authorized sellers permission to say and do whatever they want to your brand image.

Let’s say you’ve got an awesome product in the market and you’ve got a wide variety of partners selling it. You might think your job is done and that these partners can just distribute your product and make money for you without you doing a thing.

Not so fast.

There’s an old adage that when the cat is away, the mice come out to play—and it applies to brand management. Without brand management, sellers are more likely to throw your product listings on Amazon with reckless abandon and without the care your product deserves. They might have an image stack with low quality photos or not enough photos, for example. They might not provide enough details on the listing for a customer to feel confident making a purchase. They might use messaging that’s inconsistent with your own messaging so that buyers don’t trust that they’re getting a genuine product.

Now I’m sure you’re thinking “Not so fast! I picked a good distributor, they would never do this.”

But we would argue (because we’ve seen) that even the best appearing distributors can get a little shady when they need to make a profit. If one distributor goes rogue and lowers the price, the rest of your distributors may lower their prices to compete, which means your price is now lower overall. Or if one distributor decides your product isn’t selling well enough, they may take a few liberties in the title or product description, just to help push your product a little harder.

Unfortunately, all of these things don’t just reflect badly on the seller, they reflect badly on your brand. Because even though the product comes from a third-party seller, the first thing a customer will see on the listing is that it’s your product and your brand. In fact, the unique seller is rarely noticed by marketplace shoppers. It’s a sobering and important note that all of the hard work you put into creating a good reputation can become worthless if you aren’t controlling it across all sellers and all marketplaces.

Brand management protects your profits

Poor brand management, in addition to harming your reputation, can have significant and immediate negative financial impacts. One of the most common ways this can happen is through price erosion.

Price erosion happens when an unauthorized third-party seller gets a hold of your product and undercuts your pricing. This tactic is useful for the authorized seller as they will drive your shoppers to their discounted product, leaving your fully priced product on the shelf. But it leaves your other distributors out to dry as consumers will choose the lower price over the authorized retailer. This strain causes every other seller to lower their own product pricing in order to stay competitive. But this eats into your margins and your sellers’ margins, and these price drops will keep happening over and over again until your sellers run out of inventory.

Not only does this diminish the perceived value and quality of your product to customers, but it harms your relationships with your sellers. If they know that you’re not managing your brand online to prevent situations like this and protect them as sellers, they will have few incentives to continue selling your products in the future.

And you can’t blame them. If sellers can’t make a profit on your products, why should they continue to sell them?

How does brand management work?

Okay, okay, so brand management is important for the reputation and financial health of your brand, but what does it look like and how does it work?

Brand management comes down to having a solid brand strategy, quality partnerships, consistent messaging, and effective brand protection that stops rogue sellers in their tracks.

One way you can manage and protect your brand online is by creating and enforcing a MAP pricing policy to standardize the recommended pricing of your products on Amazon. Effective MAP policies let your sellers know that you’re serious about keeping pricing stable and willing to enforce consequences when sellers underprice. It can weed out the bad players harming your brand and support the partners that want to do business with you the right way.

Another way you can manage your brand better online is to limit your distribution to one or two quality distributors so leaks are less likely to happen. When you focus on a few quality sellers you can trust that your messaging will be consistent across all channels. You want imagery to be high quality and your brand voice to be recognizable, engaging, and true to brand, whether a customer is finding your product on social media, your website, or another seller on Amazon.

Rather than doing all of this work on your own, though, you might consider hiring an outside brand manager to partner with you, tackle the workload, and bring your ecommerce gaols to life.

Your brand manager should have a good sense of what your brand is and what goals you have for the future. A good brand manager will work in partnership with you to enforce your policies and messaging. Ultimately, when looking for a brand manager, you want to find someone you can have a good relationship with who cares just as much for your brand as you do.

The Benefits of brand management with Pattern

Here at Pattern, we offer high quality and strategic brand management for our partners as well as every tool they need to take back control of their ecommerce business from the ground up.

With access to our internal data and tech software, our brand managers work in concert with your ecommerce team and to pinpoint your pain points on ecommerce, enforce your MAP policy, clean up your listing copy and imagery, and provide you with an SEO marketing plan that helps you to capitalize on the right keywords and reach your target audience.

When you partner with Pattern, you receive your own brand manager who helps manage your Pattern team, answers any questions you have, and helps you drive a strategy for success. We’ll make sure your branding and content is consistent across all of your channels and provide stellar customer service to keep your customers coming back.

Ready to learn more about the financial savings and brand protection of a partnership with Pattern? Get in touch today.

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Slowing Inflation is Music to Consumers’ Ears
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Slowing Inflation is Music to Consumers’ Ears

**Instrument Pricing Changes Tune Amid Record Inflation** Compared to 2022, consumers should expect to pay more for musical instruments, but the rate of inflation shows signs of slowing. **The backstory:** America’s most popular musical instruments saw a notable price increase in 2022 compared to 2021, but the rate of inflation eased in Q4 ’22. **Why it matters:** Slowing inflation within this product category could indicate economic pressures like increased demand, rising labor costs, and supply chain disruptions are easing across the consumer landscape. **What we’re seeing:** The average cost of musical instruments increased 7.5% from 2021 – 2022; however, when analyzing individual increases year over year, some instruments saw price increases as high as 21%. <iframe title="YOY Price Change for Instruments — 2022 vs. 2021" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-02Lwk" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/02Lwk/2/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="379" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> * Trombones experienced a 21.73% increase compared to 2021 * Trumpets +20.08% * Flutes +18.6% * Recorders +16.13% * Saxophones +13.63% * Clarinets +10.55% * Drums +5.41% * Ukuleles +5.17% **However:** Inflation among these same instruments was significantly less in Q4 ’22 compared to Q4 ’21. In some cases, prices decreased from Q4 ’21 – Q4 ‘22: <iframe title="Price Change for Instruments — Q4 2022 vs. Q4 2021" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-6X6GZ" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/6X6GZ/2/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="379" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> * Trombones +11.23% * Flutes +10.41% * Saxophones +5.94% * Clarinets +5.59% * Trumpets +3.10% * Recorders +2.85% * Drums -2.59% * Ukuleles -8.46% **Moreover:** Certain instruments saw inflation reverse in 2022. On average, prices for melodicas, guitars, and violas saw their prices decrease by 4.41%, 3.19%, and 0.97%, respectively. <iframe title="YOY Price Change for Instruments — 2022 vs. 2021" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-0Tefk" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/0Tefk/3/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="259" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> **Diving Deeper:** Inflation was more significant when comparing Q4 ’21 to Q4 ’20 than when comparing Q4 ’22 to Q4 ’21, indicating a slowing down of price increases for consumers. <iframe title="YOY Q4 Price Change for Instruments — 2020 – 2022" aria-label="Stacked Bars" id="datawrapper-chart-p6iqt" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/p6iqt/1/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="206" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> * In Q4 ’21, average prices for all instruments were up 8.89% compared to Q4 ’20. * When comparing Q4 ’22 to Q4 ’21, the average price for all instruments only increased by 2.65%. **The takeaway:** While consumers should expect to pay higher prices for instruments this year, overall inflation impact within this product category appears to be slowing down. With National Ukulele Day coming up on February 2, now is a great time for ecommerce brands to take advantage of slowing economic worries and reach new consumers. * Want Pattern’s data science team to power your brand with consumer insights like these? Contact us to [request more information](https://pattern.com/contact-us/) today.

Slowing Inflation? What Musical Instrument Pricing Tells Us
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Slowing Inflation? What Musical Instrument Pricing Tells Us

It’s safe to say consumers and brands alike are eager for a change to the pattern of rising inflation, steadily increasing in many ecommerce categories . Pattern’s internal team’s data scientists analysis of instrument pricing shows a glimmer of hope that inflation may be slowing, which would be great news for brands selling online.

At Pattern, we’re interested in and monitoring trends and news related to pricing since price is a key factor in a brand’s profitability (as explained in the Ecommerce Equation). When brands are able to optimize their price, conversions, and traffic, they can optimize their profitability. And profitability leads to better allocation of resources, better brand control, and gives leaders the ability to expand their presence to new markets worldwide.

YoY Instrument Pricing Increased at a Slower Pace

When analyzing the pricing changes of instruments from 2021 to 2022, our teams found that prices increased, but at a slower rate than from 2020 to 2021.

As shown below, the year over year Q4 changes show quite a lower rate of increase.

Inflation Improvements Raise Profitability

Because inflation impacts online shopping behaviors, lower inflation can lead to better overall profitability for brands. This idea, of course, is nuanced, but Pattern’s Ecommerce Equation can help illustrate the general principle.

When inflation rises, consumers change their spending habits. Shoppers spend more time researching products, forego premium, higher-priced brands, and buy more in bulk. Brands tend to see a loss of loyalty as they’re forced to raise prices.

Price is a key variable in the Ecommerce Equation: price x conversion x traffic = profitability. As inflation lowers, brands can expect better performance in all of these areas—more traffic as spending habits return to normal, higher conversion from returning customers, and price that better fits consumer demand. As inflation lowers and these variables stabilize, brands will see profitability increase.

Raise Your Profitability with Pattern

As an ecommerce accelerator, Pattern is obsessed with gathering data that helps our brand partners succeed. We’ve created best-in-class technology, models, and analytics to understand changes on the horizon and inform our decisions. With an incredible team of data obsessed Pattern employees, we see what makes the difference in truly great ecommerce performance and apply those learnings for brand partners. 

Ready to improve your profitability? Contact us here.

Inflation hits LEGO, but lighter than you’d suspect
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Inflation hits LEGO, but lighter than you’d suspect

**Some sets get more expensive, while others become cheaper** In June 2022, LEGO announced it would be increasing the prices of their sets. Ever since, consumers anticipated their favorite plastic construction toy prices to increase [by as much as 25%](https://9to5toys.com/2022/06/02/lego-officially-confirms-price-increases-coming-to-most-sets-later-this-fall/). **Why it matters:** Consumers are feeling the sting of inflation in all areas of their lives, from groceries and gas to entertainment. With LEGO Day right around the corner (January 28th), fans may wonder whether it’s a good time to purchase a set. **What we’re seeing:** While inflation continues to ravage the economy, consumers are seeing a small reprieve when it comes to the pricing of LEGO sets. Despite the anticipated 25% price increase, average prices among the top LEGO sets only increased by 4.7% year over year when comparing Q4 2022 to Q4 2021. <iframe title="YOY Price Change for All LEGO Sets – 2022 vs. 2021" aria-label="Interactive line chart" id="datawrapper-chart-3gn9L" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/3gn9L/3/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="393" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> * During this same period, annual prices for some of the most popular LEGO sets were up as much as 23%. <iframe title="U.S. Price Change for LEGO Sets – Q4 22 vs. Q4 21" aria-label="Split Bars" id="datawrapper-chart-vh7B2" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/vh7B2/1/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="708" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> **Yes, but:** Prices of other popular sets were down by as much as -12% during this same period. Depending on the kit, consumers might actually find some popular LEGO sets have gotten less expensive since 2021: * LEGO Star Wars Imperial Probe Droid was down -6% in Q4 2022 vs. Q4 2021 * LEGO Creator Tuk Tuk was down -7% * LEGO Star Wars Ultimate Millennium Falcon was down -10% * LEGO Ideas Tree House Business Kit was down -12% **However:** Even for the sets that experienced a price decrease, the decrease was less significant in Q4 2022 as set prices increased across the board following the June 2022 announcement. <iframe title="YOY Price Change for Individual LEGO Sets – 2022 vs. 2021" aria-label="Interactive line chart" id="datawrapper-chart-KjSXz" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/KjSXz/1/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="400" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> **The takeaway:** While prices didn’t increase as much as consumers anticipated, inflation still had an effect on the cost of LEGO sets. As ecommerce brands prepare for increased demand ahead of LEGO Day, they could increase customer interest in all sets by promoting the sets that have seen a price decrease. * Pattern’s data science team analyzes consumer demand on Amazon to understand how economic forces impact pricing and shopping behavior. If you’re interested in using insights like these to propel your ecommerce strategy forward, [contact our team today. ](https://pattern.com/contact-us/)