Brand Manager Job Description
Whether they work for a food company or a major financial institution, Brand Managers’ primary job is to oversee and promote the positive image of the products or services they represent in order to maintain and increase market share. Brand Managers have total ownership of a brand; they control marketing and advertising initiatives, sales strategies and production decisions, ultimately taking responsibility for their brand’s performance.
Typically part of the executive leadership team, Brand Managers often direct the actions of subordinate employees. Brand Managers are in demand across many sectors, including packaged goods, food and beverage, entertainment and recreation. The average salary for a Brand Manager is about $102,000 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics and other online sources.
Brand Manager Duties and Responsibilities
To accomplish their primary goal of creating and maintaining brand loyalty among consumers, Brand Managers perform many tasks. We analyzed several job listings to identify these core Brand Manager duties and responsibilities.
Develop Brand Strategies
As a Brand Manager, you are responsible for identifying your brand’s main audience and determining how to best communicate with it. Developing a brand strategy includes everything from crafting a logo and tagline to creating a consistent brand voice and personality. A Brand Manager for a line of frozen, family-style meals, for instance, may craft a brand strategy that targets working moms who still want to have a sit-down dinner each night with their families.
Research the Market
Collecting and analyzing data to understand market trends, competitor activities and the behavior of a brand’s target audience are key brand management duties. This includes overseeing consumer research, tracking the success of initiatives and keeping a keen eye on developments within the market.
Spearhead Marketing Efforts
Working closely with marketing and advertising counterparts, a Brand Manager ensures that the brand strategy is being applied consistently. This may include everything from brainstorming marketing initiatives and identifying appropriate marketing channels to reviewing copy, graphics and other assets before a campaign goes live. Consistency in communication is essential to establishing brand recognition.
Manage Product Details
As a Brand Manager, you’re involved in everything from the color, packaging and price of a product to where it is sold. This part of the job involves making recommendations to product development and sales teams, as well as negotiating contracts with distributors and vendors to get your product to market.
Assist in Product Development
Based on insights into the market and consumer habits, needs and desires – such as a growing demand for more eco-friendly products and packaging – a Brand Manager recommends modifications of existing products to increase market share, or suggests the development of new products to attract new customers and meet new demands.
Brand Manager Skills
Both creative and analytical, successful Brand Managers can think big while still focusing on the smallest details. They are well-organized multitaskers who thrive working both independently and in groups. Above all, Brand Managers are leaders, who can rally colleagues to make their vision a reality. In addition to these general skills and personality traits, employers are seeking Brand Manager candidates with the following skills.
Core skills: Based on job listings we looked at, employers want Brand Managers with these core skills. If you want to work as a Brand Manager, focus on the following.
- Managing projects that involve cross-functional teams
- Gathering and interpreting market and consumer data to make strategic decisions
- Knowing Microsoft Office programs, such as Word and Excel
- Understanding product development and practices
- Negotiating with distributors and vendors to bring products to market
- Managing complex budgets and the ability make adjustments based on unforeseen circumstances
Advanced skills: While most employers did not require the following skills, multiple job listings included them as preferred. Add these to your brand management toolbox and broaden your career options.
- Working with traditional media, such as print and broadcast, and new media, such as sponsored content on Web outlets, to raise product awareness
- Using social media tools, such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, to communicate with consumers
- Implementing fully integrated marketing programs
Brand Manager Q & A
Thinking about pursuing a career as a Brand Manager? It’s a great job for “someone who can roll with the punches and adapt quickly without a bruised ego,” says Katie Gardiner, Brand Manager at Taco Bell. We talked to Gardiner to find out what being a Brand Manager is all about. Here’s what she had to say:
What do you find most rewarding about being a Brand Manager?
Saving a great product or idea from the cutting room floor and seeing it come to life can be the most fulfilling.
What skills do Brand Managers use most?
Being able to communicate efficiently and effectively is the No. 1 skill: You need to motivate cross-functional partners and team members clearly and quickly, with bedside manner in tow.
What challenges do Brand Managers face?
The biggest challenge is pacing and sequencing multiple projects, especially when you manage different business pillars. Prioritization is key, and it changes often.
Who is successful in this job?
Someone who can roll with the punches by being flexible. It’s important to not take organizational direction changes personally, and to adapt quickly without a bruised ego.
How should someone prepare for a career as a Brand Manager?
There are many ways. I believe in starting from the creative side with account management or planning in the ad agency world. The fast-paced environment conditions you to set the pace on the client side, and it helps to have been on the agency side to know how to get the best creative work out of your partners once you become the client side Brand Manager.
Brand Manager Resources
We searched the Web to find the best industry resources to help you continue exploring a career as a Brand Manager. From thought leaders to industry groups, this list is packed with opportunities to learn, connect and engage.
On the Web
Branding Strategy Insider – Read all about how to establish strong brands.
Seth’s Blog – Marketing legend Seth Godin shares his expertise.
Drew’s Marketing Minute – Brand storyteller Drew McLellan offers insights gleaned from a 25-year career.
Beth Comstock – CMO at GE, Beth Comstock offers insights into marketing and brand strategy.
Anita Newton – Vice president of AdKnowledge, Anita Newton shares a wealth of information about marketing.
Mary C. Long – A digital strategist and “reputation remediator” who has been featured on Forbes and Inc.com, Mary C. Long has lots to share about marketing for brands.
American Branding Association – Founded in 2001, the ABA serves as a networking hub for anyone involved in branding.
American Marketing Association – Formed some 80 years ago, the AMA has more than 30,000 members.
Designing Brand Identity by Alina Wheeler – A toolkit for creating, building and maintaining strong brands.
The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding by Al Ries – A marketing classic that has been updated to include insight into Internet branding.
Brand Thinking and Other Noble Pursuits by Debbie Millman – A look at how brands interact in society and politics.
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