Every brand should have a brand manager to guide the brand into the right direction. I’ve worked with many companies as a brand manager and have enjoyed every moment of it. So for those of you who are interested in becoming a brand manager, but not really sure what the day-to-day responsibilities would include, this article is for you.
A brand manager’s day-to-day responsibilities include, but are not limited to, oversight, analysis, research, strategy, project management, supervision, monitoring, planning & execution, coordination, assistance, and management, with the goal of improving a company’s reputation in its target market, while driving growth.
It is almost always a challenging position in any company but comes with great personal reward if the role is executed effectively, in my experience anyway. So let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the role in order for you to have a comprehensive understanding of what you are getting yourself into.
What is a Brand Manager
A brand manager, often referred to as the gatekeeper of a brand, is someone in a business who is responsible for developing, implementing and adapting the brand strategy to improve a company’s reputation in its target market, while driving growth.
A brand manager is often also responsible for managing a brand or company’s product portfolio.
So how exactly does a brand manager do all of this and what are the day-to-day responsibilities?
Day-to-Day Responsibilities of a Brand Manager
Here are some of the day-to-day responsibilities of a brand manager:
The role of a brand manager involves a lot of oversight.
Brand managers are responsible for overseeing all activities related to a brand’s external communication, which is how a brand is expressed and perceived by its target audience.
This often involves a very deep understanding of the brand, its products or services, its positioning in the market and the target audience its marketing efforts are intended for.
Brand managers are also responsible for overseeing the production of all marketing campaigns and the production things like tv ads, magazine and newspaper ads, events and exhibitions, websites, etc.
Brand managers are also responsible for analyzing various researched data in order to make certain key projections and decisions related to the brand and how to drive growth.
Some of the analytical duties that a brand manager is responsible for in their day-to-day activities are:
- Competitive analysis to determine brand positioning and product/service placement
- Analysis of sales forecasts and relevant financials and reporting on product sales
- Analyzing the potential profitability of a specific product or service by examining the pricing of those products or services
- Analyzing insights into customers and all potential competitors
Brand managers are responsible for certain critical research functions as well.
One of the key research duties is researching consumer markets and monitoring market trends to identify potential investment and product opportunities in these markets based on consumer consumption data, trends, and spending habits.
It is also key to do initial market research for a brand and/or product to determine the demand for a product or service in the market as we as to determine the most optimal brand and/or product/service positioning within that market to make the brand stand out amongst its competitors.
One of the key functions of a brand manager is to develop, implement and adapt the brand strategy to improve a company’s reputation in a particular market in order to short and long term growth.
The brand strategy would include things like the brand’s identity, style guides, brand guidelines, the company’s mission, vision and values over the short and long term.
The brand manager would also be involved in the strategy development and execution of all marketing and promotional campaigns and other activities related to the external communication of the brand.
Brand managers are also responsible for supervising and signing off of all brand and marketing related activities like marketing collaterals, digital marketing campaigns, marketing campaigns, etc in order to ensure that all activities, designs, and messages are in line with the company’s brand and regulatory guidelines.
It is essentially the responsibility of the brand manager to ensure that all external communication meets the brand standards and are in line with the brand guidelines of the company.
This is one of the reasons why the brand manager is considered to be the gatekeeper of the brand.
Another important responsibility of a brand manager is to monitor various activities to gain insight into their effectiveness among other things. These monitoring usually includes, but is not limited to:
- Monitoring the distribution of products or services
- Monitoring customer reactions and feedback through market research and focus groups
- Monitoring of all ongoing campaigns in terms of effectiveness and to ensure they are on track in order to achieve the short and long term goals set out in the strategies
- Analyzing and monitoring changes in the market in order to determine any mitigation or adaptation needs for any product or service and the brand as a whole
Co-ordination is also an important function of a brand manager’s role within an organization.
Brand managers are responsible for coordinating and leading cross-functional teams across many different departments in order to deliver on the brand strategy and the various other components of the role.
Brand managers will also coordinate and partner closely with internal marketing teams and 3rd party agencies in the planning, development, and execution of marketing campaigns, media strategies, digital campaigns, and other related activities in order to ensure that the brand’s strategic vision is reflected throughout.
Planning & Execution
Brand managers are also responsible for the planning and execution of all the brand’s communications and media activities across all media channels. This also includes all forms of digital and online media like social media etc.
This particular responsibility of a brand manager’s role actually involves a combination of many of the key responsibilities from doing the relevant market research, to developing campaign and other communication strategies, to coordinating with internal teams and external agencies working on the activities, to overseeing the production of all the related collaterals and media productions, to monitoring the impact and success of the campaigns and other activities.
Brand managers are also responsible for assisting in almost all activities related to the company’s products or services like:
- Assisting with product development
- Assisting with product pricing
- Assisting with product launches
- Assisting with developing new business opportunities
- Generating names for new and/or existing products or services
- Coming up with ideas for package designs to ensure it adheres to the brand guidelines of the company
Just like with almost all senior management positions, the role of a brand manager involves many management functions.
Brand managers are responsible for managing teams of people working on all brand-related activities.
Another key management role is project management. Important projects will require brand managers to manage the projects and take the lead instead of oversight on smaller projects.
Project management involves ensuring effective lines of communication, tasks are assigned to the relevant people, timelines and milestones are met, accountability and mitigation measures for anything that goes wrong, crisis management, etc.
The brand manager role covers many different areas of creative and business activities, and brand managers need a wide range of skills in order to perform their required tasks efficiently and effectively.
Some of the essential skills that brand managers typically need to perform their jobs well are brand awareness, customer relationship management skills, analytical skills, research skills, project management skills, budget management skills, working well under pressure, innovative thinking skills, good written and verbal communication skills, and good presentation skills.
Aside from these “technical” skills so to speak, there are also some “intuitive” skills that are much harder to explain. Brand managers are often separated by their abilities to rely on their instincts in most situations, instead of relying on a textbook answer, which in some cases is not sufficient to get the task done in the most effective way or to achieve the desired outcome of a project.
Brand managers must have a deep and very comprehensive understanding of branding & marketing, everything within the branding process, branding & marketing principles and best practices, etc.
Brand managers should also be aware of all the latest trends within the industry and stay up to date with all the latest technology. Online branding has also become a big industry and brand managers should have in-depth knowledge of e-branding principles and best practices.
Customer Relationship Management
An important skill that all brand managers should excel at is client or customer relationship management. The human component to all business-related activities is very important and since the brand manager has to deal with a wide array of people from across different disciplines, and sometimes industries, it is crucial to maintain good relationships with all parties involved.
It is important to maintain good relations within internal teams, with 3rd party agencies working on the company’s branding and marketing activities, as well as with the stakeholders of a company.
A brand manager should have a great understanding of customers and audiences, and the ability to analyze data from market research.
Analytics for an integral part of a brand manager’s role, because it enables him/her to gain much more insight into consumer behaviors, markets, etc, which could lead to a competitive advantage over competitors if these insights are capitalized on effectively.
Analytics is very powerful in online and digital marketing as very in-depth, comprehensive reports can be generated in realtime. Brand managers should have a good understanding of how to analyze and interpret these reports.
Before brand managers can have any data to analyze, they need to do the relevant research in order to gather the data needed.
Although junior brand managers might be tasked more often with the research tasks, senior brand managers will have to oversee and guide the research projects to ensure their effectiveness and efficiency in gathering the correct and highest quality data.
Brand managers will initiate, oversee and be involved in countless projects within any given year and therefore need to have above-average project management skills.
Brand managers should also have the ability to manage multiple projects at the same time with multiple different teams and 3rd part agencies working on the projects. This involves highly efficient and effective project management skills and coordination.
Brand managers are also responsible to ensure that all branding and marketing activities are done within their respective budgets and to ensure to keep within the overall budget of the department. It is also part of their role to develop the budgets for their department.
A brand manager, therefore, needs to have very good basic finance and great budget management skills in order to perform these tasks effectively.
Work Well Under Pressure
Working well under pressure is an absolutely crucial skill that any brand manager should possess and have crafted to maximum efficiency.
With multiple projects and tight deadlines, brand managers are often required to work under severe pressure for a sustained period of time. Therefore, the ability to work well under pressure is crucial to the success and outcome of the projects and ultimately the brand itself.
There are many soft skills that every brand manager needs to excel in the role.
Creativity, innovation, and the ability to think outside of the box are important for developing and constantly improving brand strategies.
Strong written and verbal communication
Strong written and verbal communication skills are necessary to develop and present creative strategies, as well as to relay brand messages in an effective way.
Good presentation skills
Good presentation skills are also necessary to present creative strategies and concepts for brand and marketing campaigns.
Eye for aesthetics
Having a great eye for the aesthetic aspects of branding and the brand is also an important skill for any brand manager to have.
Detailed oriented and persuasive
Being detailed oriented with impeccable attention to detail are important skills in branding and thus for brand managers to have.
Being persuasive is another crucial skill, as brand managers have to deal and negotiate with many different people every day.
Ability to think outside the box
I’ve mentioned this skill before but it is actually important enough to have its own heading.
I’ve personally been in many many situations where the standard textbook solutions don’t apply and have had to think outside of the box to find the solutions that would not only solve a particular situation but also turn out to create more impact than with traditional methods used before.
Let’s look at the training and education that’s usually required by companies when hiring brand managers.
Brand managers are usually required to possess an undergraduate degree in marketing, advertising, business or a related major. Some companies may require an advanced degree, like an MBA, along with a certain amount of work experience.
Companies usually have in-depth on-the-job training programs for their products, pricing and marketing departments. New brand managers usually start in a junior position and work under the supervision of a more experienced, senior brand manager
I hope you’ve gained a greater understanding of the role, and skills required to become a brand manager.
Long hours, multiple projects at once, little sleep, lots of red bull and coffee, and immense pressure is the way I’ve experienced my role as a brand manager from time to time. But the professional and personal rewards were well worth the efforts and I would encourage anyone interested in becoming a brand manager to go for it.