Breaking Down the Role of Brand Manager
Brand managers are a vital component in catapulting businesses to greater heights. Read on as we break down their role, skills, and career outlook!
Meaning of Brand Manager Role
Today, many businesses are realizing the need to reevaluate their strategies as competition becomes steep. And one business component that is seeing a major revamp is branding.
Digital channels have become a boon to startups and small to medium enterprises, providing easy ways to reach customers. However, it has also amplified the need for a more creative and innovative brand strategy to get noticed. In response, companies have increased their marketing budget to about 10 percent.
With how essential brand and marketing strategies are in growing a company, they are finally getting prioritized. And at the helm of the team is a brand manager, leading and implementing brand management efforts.
What Is the Role of a Brand Manager?
In a nutshell, the role of a brand manager encompasses anything and everything brand-related, with the overarching mission of boosting revenue and maximizing resources. Think of brand managers as guardians-slash-image-consultants, ensuring companies make a lasting impression in the minds of their audience. Moreover, brand managers oversee and guarantee that the products and services put on the market are highly relevant, competitive, and meet the expectations of their consumers.
The brand manager job description may vary per company, but here are some of their main tasks:
- Identifying product-market fit
- Brand innovation and development
- Analyze brand competitors and industry trends
- Coordinating brand communications with other marketing initiatives
You may be wondering, are these not the responsibilities of marketing managers?
While brand managers take the reigns on a slew of branding tasks, they are still a part of a bigger team—the marketing department. Marketing is overwhelmingly broad, touching several facets—from creating marketing campaigns and strategies to reach the target audience and working with the sales department to increase leads, to providing insights for company development.
That said, it pays to have a person dedicated to brand management who can correlate it with the overall marketing strategy or ask help from a brand design firm. Let's take a closer look at why brand managers are so in-demand across different industries!
Align Branding and Business Goals
Startups and small business leaders are too familiar with the struggle of juggling at least two products under one brand. As businesses grow, more products and services get thrown into the mix.
Brand growth then becomes overwhelming, leading to complex processes and confused consumers wondering what you offer. Eventually, it can impact the brand experience.
With a fully equipped brand manager, they can avert chaos and create a clear-cut roadmap of where you want your brands to be and how to get there. The need for this roadmap cannot be stressed enough as touchpoints online and offline are becoming multipronged. For example, businesses may find themselves juggling several social media platforms, websites, mobile apps, and brick 'n mortar all at once.
A good brand manager is also keen on allocating resources—time, money, and workforce—avoiding low-yielding strategies. With a laser-focused brand manager, they can efficiently gather relevant customer and user-experience feedback which you can leverage in your branding strategies.
Done right, the company creates a more elevated brand experience which can ultimately result in a higher profit.
Improve Brand Image
Brand image is a simple concept that involves developing a perception about your brand that you want your consumers to have. It’s akin to how dressing up in a certain fashion can have the power to convey a mood or subtly communicate what you like.
One prime example of a company that perfected its brand image is IKEA.
When you think of furniture and decor, it's hardly impossible for IKEA not to come to mind. It has successfully established itself as the go-to shop for affordable yet well-designed and sustainable decor, furniture, and other home accessories across the globe.
But the process of building a brand image is not a walk in the park. It took IKEA decades until it expanded to the international arena. The company credits its branding team for consistently delivering on the mission of “creating a better everyday life for many people.”
Through its Life at Home Report, the brand visits several homes to see how home needs and habits evolve. It also gives them a chance to assess what consumers think of IKEA. This allows them to create products and services that are on-brand.
That said, a highly skilled brand manager at the helm of the branding team can steer a company in its desired direction. Over time, a lasting brand impression is established which is instrumental in fostering relationships and building a community of loyal customers.
4 Qualities Every Successful Brand Managers Have
Aside from being an experienced brand manager, companies are keen on hiring brand pros with the following skills and qualities.
1. A Reliable Team Player
Most brand managers will find themselves working with diverse experts from different departments—sales, product and development, and even finance. For instance, the sales team can benefit from a better brand image to shorten the number of customer touchpoints and establish trust. And in return, relevant insights from the sales team help brand managers understand their audience and evaluate if their branding efforts are on track.
With this in mind, brand managers should remain holistic when strategizing as they can influence every facet of a business. Being an effective team player also means updating your knowledge of how other departments function. A deep understanding of each department can guide brand managers on how to integrate branding and project management principles better.
2. A Knack for Communicating
The ability to simplify complex concepts and ideas is the hallmark of an effective communicator. While having excellent communication skills is essential when creating campaigns and brand messages, it also comes in handy when brand managers engage with business leaders and other stakeholders, too.
Want to get your proposals approved? You may want to talk in a language everyone understands. You can do this by leveraging the power of storytelling.
Storytelling is not merely relaying facts. It is the art of persuading your audience to consider an idea by breaking down the obstacles and presenting solutions. It should also include your anticipated outcomes, providing concrete data to support along the way.
3. An Analytical and Data-Driven Decision Maker
The rise of digitalization has led to much information being pumped into every digital platform and software program. Gone are the days when businesses sometimes play a guessing game. The data they need is at their fingertips and can be a powerful tool, granted they can decode valuable insights.
It then becomes apparent that better branding requires brand managers with analytical skills and are data-driven decision-makers. Such a combination can make a huge difference when growing a company. Case in point, a study reveals that data-driven businesses enjoy higher profits. They are better at analyzing the competition and optimizing their products and services, sales, and marketing efforts, too.
One sure way to sharpen your analytical skills is to commit to being a lifelong learner, updated on the latest industry trends and best practices. Take advantage of attending workshops or step it up by acquiring certification via alternative continuing education platforms, like MOOCs (think Coursera, Udemy, etc.) and bootcamps. Additionally, a conscious effort to apply concepts at work is more crucial.
4. A Creative and Innovative Thinker
Sometimes, the needs and behavior of customers can change without a moment’s notice. This is especially true when the market is flooded with options for them to choose from!
Today, consumers are more likely to respond to brands that can establish an emotional connection—like social causes—as they seek meaningful brand experience.
That said, brand managers are expected to be nimble at dealing with branding hurdles. They should not be afraid to think laterally and try creative solutions. Additionally, brand managers need to be innovative in adapting new tools and working within the parameters of the company.
Career Outlook: Is Becoming a Brand Manager Worth It?
As more and more businesses pop across the globe, aspiring brand managers have so much to look forward to as they venture into a fulfilling career. For starters, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that there will be a 10 percent increase in advertising- and marketing-related roles. Because of how versatile brand roles are, you can pursue several career paths in any industry.
Branding beginners can start as assistant brand managers, which is perfect if you want to learn the ropes of brand marketing. As an assistant brand manager, you are involved in all the processes from ideating and planning to the execution of strategies and tracking results. With years of experience under your belt, you can climb the career ladder and secure a brand manager position.
So, how much will your salaries range across different brand roles?
Assistant brand managers can earn an average salary of $52,833 each year. Brand managers can take home a hefty compensation of $80,470 to $155,000 as a brand manager. Other career paths you can explore include Senior Brand Manager, Marketing Director, and Chief Marketing Officer.
Updated: May 31, 2023