Brand Manager Job Description
Working across all sectors, brand managers are responsible for maintaining and increasing market share by cultivating a positive image of the products and services they represent. Brand managers have total ownership of a brand – overseeing marketing and advertising initiatives, sales strategies, and production decisions – and the success or failure of a brand ultimately rests on their shoulders. It’s a high-pressure role, and brand managers must prove themselves over and over. Depending on the structure of their company, brand managers may report to a marketing or advertising director or directly to the CEO.
Brand Manager Duties and Responsibilities
No matter what industry they work in, brand managers share a single goal: to create, maintain, and increase brand awareness and loyalty to their brand among consumers. To accomplish that, there are many core tasks associated with the role. Based on our analysis of job postings, these are some of the most common brand manager duties.
Develop Brand Strategies
Brand managers are responsible for identifying their 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 parents 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
Brand managers are 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 products 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 And Qualifications
Both creative and analytical, successful Brand Managers can think big while still focusing on the smallest details. Employers typically seek out candidates with a BA or MBA along with five years of experience and the following skills:
- Research experience – brand managers gather and interpret market and consumer data to make strategic decisions, so they must have strong analytical skills and be a whiz with spreadsheets
- Campaign management –they must also be organized project managers who have the ability to multitask, develop budgets, KPIs, and marketing plans, and execute projects from start to finish
- Digital marketing – brand managers work within new and traditional media to raise product awareness and can competently manage digital strategies such as SEO/SEM marketing
- Negotiation – brand managers work closely with distributors and vendors to bring products to market and must negotiate terms and rates
- Collaboration – It’s essential that brand managers thrive while working both independently and within groups comprised of cross-functional teams. Above all, brand managers are leaders who can rally colleagues to make their vision a reality
Tools of the Trade:
Brand managers work in an office environment and are comfortable using the following software and equipment in a typical workday:
- Social media platforms (YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter)
- Business tools (may include data analysis, CRM, and database software)
- E-Commerce software (Shopify, Magento, or equivalent)
- Microsoft Office (programs including PowerPoint, Word, and Excel)
Brand Manager Education and Training
It is common for a brand manager to have a bachelor’s degree in marketing, advertising, communications, business, or a related field of study. Candidates with a master’s in business administration may be even more attractive to employers for this job. Brand managers often work up to the role, and may first hold more junior positions in advertising or marketing departments – either on the creative or accounts side.
Brand Manager Salary and Outlook
The median annual salary for brand managers, categorized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as Advertising, Promotion, and Marketing Managers, is nearly $96,000. Brand managers in the bottom 10 percent earn about $42,000 a year, and the highest paid make in excess of $187,000 a year. Full-time brand managers employed by large companies typically receive benefits package that include paid vacation and health insurance. Some employers may also have a bonus structure based on individual or group performance.
Industry employment for brand managers is projected to grow by 9 percent through 2026, a rate the BLS describes as average amongst all occupations. As web-based media and advertising continue to grow over more traditional forms of media, brand managers with digital experience will have the best prospects.
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.
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.
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.
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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