How to Become a Brand Manager

Is developing and overseeing marketing strategies to promote a brand of interest to you? You can find out all you need to know about becoming a Brand Manager, including education, job prospects and salaries here.

 

What Does a Brand Manager Do?

It is important to set your product above the competition in today’s competitive world. Brand Managers are responsible for creating a positive impression and thereby improve product sales. In order to do this they need to stay on top of cutting edge movements in the advertising and marketing sector. Brand Managers must manage market research, branding strategies and approaches on how to market their products effectively.

A Brand Manager monitors market trends and develops, implements and executes marketing initiatives and activities for their product or service. Brand Managers are often responsible for the entire creative process from initial market research to designing end product packaging. Their jobs entail gathering data about a product by conducting polling demographics, ascertaining consumer needs and demands for a product. After extensive research, Brand Managers develop marketing strategies and introduce the brand to the public through product launches and other promotions. Thereafter a Brand Manager continues to monitor the product and reports to higher level marketing staff about sales, how effective the marketing strategies are, and how a brand can reach even more consumers.

Since identity is so important to any brand, marketing departments of large organizations employ at least one Brand Manager and potentially two to three juniors. Organizations with multiple product lines often employ multiple Brand Managers. Brand Manager activities include initiating campaigns in various formats (print, web, social media, broadcast, etc.), coordinating events and introducing corporate responsibility programs and sponsorships. Their daily work involves working closely with teams of people like product developers, researchers, marketing personnel and creative agencies to make sure their brand vision is adhered to. Strong analytical skills, good business knowledge and the ability to multitask are all essential skills for a Brand Manager. Some common duties and responsibilities of a Brand Manager include:

  • Creating names for products and services and generating ideas for packaging designs
  • Supervising TV, newspaper and magazine advertisements, and other forms of marketing like direct mail packs, email campaigns, websites, exhibition stands and road
  • Ensuring designs and messages meet the company brand and regulatory guidelines
  • Monitoring focus groups and market research

Brand Manager Skills

Since working with different types of people and with teams is such a vital component of this career, Brand Managers need to have highly developed soft skills and leadership skills. Together with being able to manage people and teams they also need to be energetic and passionate people who are able to inspire others. Optimistic and extroverted personality types will do well as Brand Managers. A natural tendency to think laterally and creatively is an added advantage when coming up with new ideas and concepts. General working hours for Brand Managers are 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. However, during a major product launch, longer hours may be necessary. Although, Brand Managers are mainly office based, their jobs may involve some travel.

Other key Brand Manager skills include:

  • Listening and communicating
  • Managing different projects at the same time
  • Being organized and methodical
  • Working well under pressure
  • Having excellent presentation skills

 

How Do You Become a Brand Manager?

Education and Training

There are no set entry points, but most Brand Managers need to have at least a Bachelor’s degree in marketing, advertising or a similar discipline. Many brand managers have MBAs.  There are options for non-graduates to obtain a professional marketing qualification while working in a junior post. For those who wish to pursue this option one can continue with on-the-job training while completing courses by a number of professional organizations. These courses can range from introductory certificates to advanced level qualifications.

Applicants for Brand Manager positions who have work experience and a professional qualification are at an advantage. With experience, a junior Brand Manager could be promoted to a more senior role. Many employers also value business acumen and good interpersonal skills, such as teamwork and communication skills.

Finding a job

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the employment of advertising, promotions, and marketing managers is projected to grow 9 percent from 2014 to 2024, which is a faster than average for all other occupations. This projected growth is due to the fact that advertising, promotions, and marketing campaigns continue to be essential for organizations as they seek to maintain and increase their share of the market. Since this is fast becoming an essential need for organizations, Brand Managers can expect to find jobs in manufacturing and service industries.

To begin your search for a Brand Manager position you start with a high-quality resume that highlights your skills and experience. For guidance on creating a resume, take a look at our library of Brand Manager resume samples.

The next step after you have completed your resume is to search online for Brand Manager job opportunities. As you look for openings, be sure to leverage your professional network, including people you met through internships or any other relevant work experience.

When applying for Brand Manager jobs, it is essential that you write a cover letter that expresses your interest in the position and highlights your qualifications and what you can bring to the role. If you need some cover letter inspiration, have a look at out our collection of Brand Manager cover letter samples.

 

Insights from a Brand Manager

An inside look at how to become a Brand Manager is always useful. We spoke to Michelle Michalak, a Brand Manager for Slyde Handboards. This is what she had to tell us.

What is the common career path for a Brand Manager?

The common career path for a Brand Manager starts with have excellent customer service skills and emotional intelligence. Have a core integration of a customer’s point of view.

What should someone consider before becoming a Brand Manager?

When becoming a Band Manager a person should consider the type of brand they are most passionate about. Are you passionate about product brands? personal? activist? etc. To effectively manage and develop a brand you need to be passionate about it.

What type of person excels in this job?

The type of person that excels at this job is someone with excellent communication skills both interpersonal, verbal and written. As well as someone is able to wear a variety of different hats, as no two days will ever be the same.

What are some of the most important skills for a Brand Manager to have?

Most important skills for a Brand Manager to have are the ability to understand and strategize for both the current market place and what the future might hold. It’s having the foresight to be ahead of the trends and to piggyback off of tradition branding techniques.

What do you find to be the most rewarding aspect of being a Brand Manager?

The most rewarding aspect about being a Brand Manager is seeing a brand develop from nothing to a globally recognized brand.

 

How Much Do Brand Managers’ Get Paid?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the median annual wage for advertising and promotions managers was $95,890 in May 2015. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $42,440, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $187,200. The median annual wage for marketing managers was $128,750 in May 2015. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $66,090, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $187,200. The bulleted list below will include BLS data for the top 10 states for median wage from highest to lowest.

Top 10 States for Brand Manager Salary

Marketing Managers’ in the following states make the highest median hourly wage in the U.S.

  1. New York: $89.99
  2. California: $77.71
  3. New Jersey: $77.40
  4. Delaware: $73.73
  5. District of Columbia: $74.53
  6. Virginia: $73.69
  7. Pennsylvania: $72.73
  8. Texas: $72.30
  9. Colorado: $70.31
  10. Connecticut: $69.81

 

Brand Manager Resources

If you are looking for more information on this exciting career we have put together a list of additional resources to guide you further as you explore this career choice.

On the Web

Competitive Advantage Marketing – offers practical and strategic advice based on hands-on experience

Brand Strategy Insider – addresses marketing strategies and branding issues

Conversion XL – offers advice on how to convert prospects into customers

Industry Groups

Institute of Direct Marketing (IDM) – offers a number of qualifications for marketing professionals

American Management Association (AMA) – offers a number of marketing courses and seminars to optimize marketing communications strategies and product development

SMEI – offers online training programs

Brand Manager Books

How Brands Grow – the author explores a scientific approach to branding by looking at the ‘laws’ of marketing and how it directs the growth of a company

Brand Thinking – brand thinking explored through a number of interviews with relevant people in the industry

Rising Tide: Lessons from 165 Years of Brand Building at Procter & Gamble’s – covers lessons on brand management through P&G’s history

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