Are you looking to hire or get hired as a brand manager? Either way, here are some of the things you should know.
In this article:
- What is a Brand Manager?
- What Does a Brand Manager Do?
- What Kinds of Activities Do Brand Managers Engage In?
- Brand Managers Do More Than Marketing
- Qualifications of Brand Managers
- Brand Management Versus Marketing
- Difference Between Marketing Managers, Brand Managers, and Product Managers
- The History of Brand Management
Understanding the Role: Brand Manager
What is a Brand Manager?
A brand manager develops brand strategy for a company or a brand. These professionals act as brand guardians. They help to develop the identity of a brand. Even more importantly, they ensure that the brand is consistent across multiple platforms. Ultimately, the goal of a quality branding strategy is to make a lasting impression on customers. However, it’s also to improve sales, and increase market share.
What Does a Brand Manager Do?
Brand managers can be consultants from outside the company or they can work as part of the company’s in-house marketing department. To achieve their branding objectives, brand managers work with multiple people. They consult with:
- Product developers
- Marketing personnel
- Creative agencies
- Media buyers
What Kinds of Activities Do Brand Managers Engage In?
Brand managers engage in the following activities:
- Developing brand vision
- Establishing how the brand creates value for customers
- Planning public relations campaigns
- Creating online and offline advertising campaigns
- Creating style guidelines for the marketing team
- Working with social media managers
- Overseeing advertisements and marketing materials
- Ensuring marketing is in line with the brand strategy
- Monitoring marketing trends to ensure the brand resonates with the customer base
- Ensuring all communications reflect the brand and don’t degrade its integrity
- Designing promotional activities
- Investing in promotional products and handing them out
- Identifying the need for rebranding
- Guiding a company through rebranding
Brand managers may handle print marketing, online advertising, press release distribution, and social media marketing. They make sure that displays for expos or conventions reflect the company’s brand. They may also choose which promotional items to give away at those events.
Brand Managers Do More Than Marketing
Brand managers also work with product development. They spot new business opportunities for the brand. They identify holes in the market where their brand may perform well. Then, they work closely with product development teams to fill those gaps in the market.
As products are being developed, brand managers make sure that the design and features reflect the brand. They also help with design details, colors, and packaging. They may even name the product. Then, they engineer the product launch to ensure every step of the process reflects the company’s brand strategy.
Brand managers analyze how customers perceive their brands. After a product launch, they may monitor customer reactions with focus groups or market research. Then, they make tweaks to the marketing or potentially even to the product to bring everything in line with the brand ideals.
Qualifications of Brand Managers
Often brand managers have a degree in a field such as business, advertising, marketing, or economics. But, it’s a skill driven industry, and some people work their way up through marketing departments into this role. To be a successful brand manager, people need a number of skills such as the following:
- Communication skills
- Strong relationship management skills
- Business acumen
- Brand awareness
- Focus on results
- Attention to detail
- Ability to track multiple projects and work with multiple teams
Brand Management Versus Marketing
Some people use these terms interchangeably, but there are a few differences. Typically, marketing professionals focus on promotional activities. They research the potential of different markets for their company’s products or services. They identify the best target audience for certain products. Then, they develop, launch, and oversee marketing campaigns.
In contrast, brand managers focus on branding. As indicated above, they may do a lot of marketing activities, but they do more than that. Essentially, brand managers oversee how everything the company does intersects with its branding goals.
Many companies have moved away from marketing. In some cases, they have renamed their marketing departments as branding departments. Traditionally, marketers focus on the 4 P’s: product, placement, price, and promotion. While these elements are important, they are often pushed without consideration for how they affected the brand. Branding tends to be more intangible. Some brand managers shift their focus to the other set of 4 P’s — personality, purpose, promise, and patience.
Difference Between Marketing Managers, Brand Managers, and Product Managers
To put it simply, marketing managers tell customers what to buy. They convince customers that certain products or services are indispensable. Product managers develop products. They work on products from the stage of conception to bringing them to market. Product managers may help decide which products to develop. They may choose the design elements or features of the products. They also may help with marketing for a particular product.
Brand managers may do all the same activities that marketers or product managers do. But again, they tend to do more than that. Brand managers build trust. They cultivate a relationship between the brand and the consumer that goes beyond the usefulness of the product or service.
The History of Brand Management
Brand management is not new. According to some business historians, the first brand manager was Neil McElroy. Nearly 100 years ago in 1924, McElroy graduated from Harvard College. He took a job with Procter & Gamble. At the time, the company’s main products were Ivory Soap and Crisco, but McElroy focused on Camay soap.
While developing marketing campaigns for that soap, he recognized the value of assigning one team to each product or brand. He suggested that each team have a brand manager as its leader. Then, he said the team should be rounded out with a brand assistant and people focused on specific activities. Arguably, this was the first time a company decided to focus on branding rather than traditional marketing. Note that Proctor & Gamble sells multiple products and has a variety of different brands. As a result, drawing attention to each brand was more effective than just marketing the company in general.
We hope this article on what a brand manager is has been helpful to you. Remember that in building a brand, the right people, as well as the right promotional products, can help with your branding efforts. If you’re looking for promotional products to integrate into your branding strategy, look through our online catalog or contact us at Logo X directly.
Do you have more questions about what it entails to become a brand manager? Let us know in the comments section below.