What Is a Brand Manager? How to Become One, Salary, Skills.
Brand managers are responsible for marketing activities that affect how audiences perceive a company. They create brand strategies for products and services by conducting market research, developing marketing initiatives and setting budgets with the goal of maximizing profits. Here’s what to know about a brand manager’s needed skills, salary and how to become one.
What Is a Brand Manager?
A brand manager oversees marketing activities that impact a company’s image and how it’s perceived by audiences. Brand managers conduct market research, analyzing competitors’ products and determining how their own products fit into their industry. They craft marketing campaigns, events and other initiatives and devise a budget for these activities. Brand managers also create brand guidelines and exchange feedback with product teams on how to align products with a brand strategy.
What Do Brand Managers Do?
Brand managers maintain a company’s desired image and boost its brand equity by ensuring marketing activities follow consistent branding guidelines and strategies.
Brand Manager Responsibilities
- Conduct market research and competitive analysis.
- Develop brand strategies and guidelines for marketing initiatives.
- Help with design, layout and other tasks for creating marketing materials.
- Establish budgets for marketing activities.
- Collaborate with departments like product to align all marketing-related activities with branding guidelines.
Day-to-Day Responsibilities of a Brand Manager
- Research public sentiment to gauge audiences’ perception of a company.
- Reference research findings on product-market fit to inform marketing strategies for products and services.
- Review marketers’ work to ensure they are following branding guidelines.
- Write content, design visuals and develop other marketing materials for ad campaigns when needed.
- Meet with other departments like product to communicate brand guidelines and receive feedback on guidelines.
Types of Brand Managers
Although brand managers share many similarities, they may take different approaches based on the type of brands they support.
- Corporate branding deals with a company as a whole. To develop an image for an organization, a brand manager may focus on refining content for the company’s values, mission statement and website design.
- Product branding focuses on marketing a specific product. Brand managers must conduct market research to determine where their product fits within their desired industry and how to target audiences with unique product features.
- Service branding is a little vaguer since it involves advertising a company’s service. Brand managers may want to develop ad campaigns that highlight customer success stories and how a particular service addresses major pain points for customers.
Brand Managers Within a Company
Brand managers are typically mid-level or senior-level professionals, since the position requires at least several years of marketing experience. These leaders oversee junior marketers, ensuring marketing teams are following branding guidelines and assisting with ad campaigns when needed. Brand managers also collaborate with sales, product and other departments to make sure branding is uniform throughout the company. As a result, brand managers act as leaders and ambassadors for the company brand.
Importance of Brand Managers
Brand managers are in charge of monitoring marketing activities that influence a company’s image and how audiences view a business, service or product. They collaborate with all relevant departments to produce an intentional and consistent brand throughout the company. The success of a company’s overall brand depends on a brand manager’s ability to develop and enforce branding guidelines and strategies across all marketing-related activities.
What Skills Are Needed to Be a Brand Manager?
Qualifications to Be a Brand Manager
- In-depth understanding of marketing strategies and branding principles.
- Excellent communication and writing skills.
- Creative thinking and problem-solving skills.
- Research and analytical skills.
- Project management experience.
- Digital literacy in tools like Customer Relationship Management software.
- Sales and budgeting knowledge.
Brand Manager Prerequisites
- Bachelor’s degree in marketing or a related field.
- Expertise in marketing areas like market research and brand strategy.
- MBA with marketing specialization (not always required, but helpful to have).
- At least three years of professional marketing-related experience.
- Brand manager and marketing certifications (not required, but helpful to have).
Brand Manager Hard Skills
- Marketing and branding expertise.
- Research and analysis skills.
- Knowledge of layout, colors and other design elements.
- Mastery of written, verbal and visual communication.
- Familiarity with latest marketing technologies and tools.
- Understanding of sales and financial management.
Brand Manager Soft Skills
- Creative thinking and storytelling abilities.
- Critical and analytical mindset.
- Holistic, strategic thinking.
- Strong collaboration skills.
- Time management and leadership skills.
- Adaptability and comfort with multi-tasking.
Tools and Programs Brand Managers Use
- CRM software like Salesforce and HubSpot.
- Social media listening tools like Sprout Social and Brand24.
- Data visualization tools like Tableau and Google Charts.
- Design platforms like Adobe Photoshop and Canva.
- Market research platforms like SurveyMonkey and Make My Persona.
How to Become a Brand Manager
Brand Manager Education and Experience
Brand managers often complete a bachelor’s degree in marketing, communications, journalism or a related field. They typically gain at least three years of relevant work experience before becoming brand managers. Examples of entry-level positions include marketing coordinator, social media marketing specialist and content writer. While it’s not always required, candidates can set themselves apart for a brand manager role by completing their MBA with a focus in marketing.
Brand Manager Certificates and Courses
- Marketing courses in areas like content marketing.
- Courses in product management and other marketing-related areas.
- Brand manager certifications like this Certified Brand Manager credential.
- Marketing certifications like this digital marketing track.
Brand Manager Career Path
Brand managers often start out their careers in more entry-level roles like PR specialist, marketing assistant or inside sales representative. Once a professional gains three years of experience related to marketing, they can pursue a brand manager position. Those who excel as brand managers may even move on to higher-level positions, such as senior brand manager or marketing director. These types of roles often require five to 10 years of experience that involve marketing and management responsibilities.
Brand Manager Salary and Job Outlook
The demand for marketing managers in general is on the rise, promising a bright future for brand managers. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of managers in advertising, promotions and marketing is set to increase by 10 percent between 2021 and 2031.
The full compensation package for a brand manager depends on a variety of factors, including but not limited to the candidate’s experience and geographic location. See below for detailed information on the average brand manager salary.