An individual within an organization responsible for brand development, including creating a brand strategy and other marketing functions to ensure messaging and consistency are delivered throughout each touchpoint within the customer journey.
Brand managers are integral to every marketing team and develop a winning strategy that can help set brands apart from their competitors while increasing brand awareness and building relationships with customers.
Brand marketing is essential for every business, but while many businesses invest money into marketing and advertising campaigns, they need to do the proper leg work to ensure they have a memorable brand.
Branding your business helps you create the messaging and visuals necessary to attract customers. Brand managers work behind the scenes, often doing market research, crafting messaging, and helping create visual branding elements to help businesses form their unique personalities.
Of course, businesses can still spend money on marketing initiatives, but with the right branding, they may get the desired results. Ultimately, brand managers drive branding efforts from the beginning, when the brand is first created, and remain an essential part of the marketing team for individual campaigns to provide a critical function to marketing teams. But what does a brand manager do?
What is a brand manager?
A brand manager is responsible for customer experience and branding. They're a part of the marketing team, often focusing on how consumers react to and engage with the brand, creating messaging and visual elements like logos while performing market research to learn more about the brand's target audience.
Brand managers oversee the development and results of marketing campaigns that can affect how a company is viewed by its audience, understand public perception, and find new ways to stand out from the competition. They might be involved in product development since they perform market research to learn about the customers.
Finally, brand managers create marketing campaigns, devising budgets and strategies while using their storytelling abilities to craft a brand story that can help build customer relationships.
What are the main responsibilities of a brand manager?
Now that you understand what a brand manager is and why they're a crucial part of the marketing team, you might wonder, "What does a brand manager do?"
First, it's important to note that the responsibilities vary based on company and level. For example, some brand managers are involved in every aspect of the strategy, but they have brand managers working under them to perform the duties required to reach objectives.
Meanwhile, other brand managers may work with other teams, such as product development and sales, to align their goals.
Anyone who understands the basics of branding can become a brand manager, but they must have relevant experience working in a marketing department. There are a few different types of brand managers, including:
- Corporate brand manager: A corporate brand manager focuses on the entire company's branding; they typically need to get more involved in the products or services themselves. Instead, they focus on the perception of the company as a whole by developing an image, creating style guides, and refining key messaging like a company's mission statement.
- Product brand manager: A product brand manager focuses on specific products and product lines, conducting market research to ensure products fit within the market and measuring how audiences respond to them. Product branding managers may create style guides and messaging documents for multiple brands using various styles, tones, and personalities.
- Service brand manager: Service brand managers focus on advertising a company's services and developing messaging and campaigns that highlight particular services and why they benefit the target audience.
Of course, all three types of brand managers focus on the same goal—to create a brand and effectively position it in the market. In general, the main responsibilities of a brand manager include the following:
Conducting market research
Market research is essential when building your business because it can help you learn about your customers before creating products or services. However, it's also crucial throughout the life of your business because shopping habits and customers change, especially as a business evolves.
Market research allows businesses to gather information and understand their target market and various audiences to design better products and services, improve user experience, and build a marketing strategy.
Brand managers use market research to understand their customers and create customer personas that help them craft effective strategies. Brand managers conduct market research in several ways, including surveys, interviews, and focus groups.
Brand positioning & strategy
Your brand values can help you communicate with customers and convince them to take action. Brand positioning refers to how your brand fits in the market.
For example, is your product more or less expensive than the competition, and how do you provide value to your customers?
Your brand positioning is a marketing strategy you use to create and establish your identity to develop your unique value proposition and reasons customers should choose you over the competition; it's your overall brand strategy that can help you create effective marketing campaigns that help your business succeed.
Once you understand where your brand fits within the market, you can start crafting an overarching strategy that helps you build brand awareness and customer loyalty. The strategy is a long-term plan with goals and objectives along with action items to set a brand apart from the competition, and it's always evolving and changing the more you learn about your customers.
Reviewing key messaging
Messaging is part of brand strategy and is crucial for helping you understand how your brand will communicate with customers, whether in writing or verbally. Effective brand management may mean creating messaging frameworks to guide the creation of a unique value proposition, website copy, advertising messaging, and more.
Developing & executing marketing campaigns
One of the key daily tasks of a brand manager is developing and executing marketing tasks. Depending on your brand strategy, this might include search engine optimization, digital ad campaigns, social media marketing, and more.
Duties may vary depending on your level or role in an organization, so a brand manager may be involved in developing and overseeing a campaign but not directly responsible for its success.
Leading marketing teams
Brand managers are leaders; they may manage the entire marketing department or a small team, depending on the needs of the business. Brand managers may also work independently and guide teams through strategies and campaigns.
Measuring the success of marketing campaigns
Since brand managers are responsible for branding, they must know how marketing campaigns perform to determine whether they're effective and delivering results.
Remember, along with designing branding elements like logos and websites, brand managers focus on messaging, ensuring brand consistency across all mediums. This may include different marketing initiatives like digital ads, traditional marketing like billboards and direct mail, email, social media, and search engine optimization.
Brand managers must ensure each strategy and tactic can help the brand reach its overall goals. So whether the objective of a campaign is to increase brand awareness or drive conversions, it's the responsibility of the brand manager to ensure each tactic is doing its job and working to help the brand reach its goals.
Working with agency partners
Many small businesses don't have the resources to hire a complete marketing department, so brand managers might work with agency partners to ensure messaging remains consistent across various strategies and channels. This may mean a business has an SEO agency, digital ads agency, or any other marketing agency they work with to enhance their marketing efforts.
Brand managers are usually responsible for communicating with these partners, gathering results, and discussing ways they can work together to reach overarching goals.
In addition, brand managers are responsible for branding efforts, so they may need to work closely with other teams and agencies to ensure the messaging stays consistent. They might work with an SEO agency that will write copy for blogs and web pages, but a brand manager will review the copy to ensure it's up to their standards and includes all of their branding messaging.
How to become a brand manager
Becoming a brand manager is simple. Most have degrees in marketing or communications or relevant experience. You should always review the brand manager job description before applying to ensure you're qualified. Here are a few things to consider if you're interested in becoming a brand manager:
Brand managers need to have advanced skills in several key areas important for marketing and advertising, including the following:
Brand managers will write messaging documents, website copy, and messaging for various campaigns. They must have advanced writing skills that can help them develop and use effective messaging while ensuring copywriters and those working under them can follow clear guidelines.
Communication & collaboration
Marketing focuses on communicating with consumers, stakeholders, and teams. Besides creating messaging for customers, brand managers must have communication skills that allow them to collaborate with agencies, stakeholders, and internal teams to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Brand managers may manage teams, agencies, and other staff members, so they need project management skills that allow them to set and follow deadlines and monitor the progress of others. Managing multiple projects simultaneously is a part of the job, and these individuals are responsible for overseeing others, so they must be able to plan accordingly.
Brand management includes the development of the brand strategy, so it's crucial to have strategy skills that allow you to create a plan for how to market to consumers. A strategy will include things like market research, positioning, and recommendations that will be shared with the marketing team and stakeholders.
Brand managers typically know what their day will look like. However, adaptability and flexibility are crucial in marketing because markets change based on consumer needs and behavior. Therefore, brand managers must be adaptable, follow the latest industry trends, and review customer insights and data to ensure their messaging, positioning, and marketing strategies will continue to be effective.
Along with the basic skills required for brand managers, they'll also need to learn how to use various tools to help them complete tasks more efficiently and effectively. Marketers use various tools like analytics dashboards, digital advertising platforms, social media, and more, so brand managers must understand how these tools work and how to use them to improve their teams.
Companies hire brand managers based on experience and education, and many require marketers to have a bachelor's degree in marketing, business, communications, journalism, or equivalent proven experience. Additionally, some companies may require you to have a master's degree in marketing or business.
Small companies typically require at least one or more years of experience, while large companies may require more, depending on where brand managers fit within their teams.
6 characteristics of a successful brand manager
Successful brand managers will have relevant and proven experience in marketing, but some businesses may choose to train brand managers, depending on how their marketing department operates.
In any case, the characteristics of a successful brand manager include some of the following:
Relationships are crucial in business for more than just personal reasons.
Brand management is about more than developing and executing strategies; brand managers must manage relationships and align different teams through communication and collaboration.
These individuals often operate across departments and teams, so managing these relationships is crucial. For example, a brand manager may work with product development, sales, and marketing to align missions and objectives.
In these cases, they'll work with product development to provide market research and customer feedback to ensure the products deliver on their promises.
In addition, brand managers create the messaging and branding elements used throughout every aspect of the business. So even when salespeople email customers, they should refer back to the messaging framework and brand style guide to ensure they're using the right messaging, email signatures, and images.
Brand management requires businesses to focus on the consumers to deliver the right messages to the right people at the right times. Brand managers have a customer-centric approach that allows them to ensure better experiences and craft messaging that can attract and convert new customers.
Managers who can take what they've learned from market research and apply it to their messaging and marketing campaigns will ensure the success of the overarching marketing strategy because they focus on the customer rather than the business.
Brand managers must be natural storytellers. Your brand story is how you attract and convert customers.
Consider this: You're a pet company that offers high-quality, premium pet food. Your mission to deliver the healthiest pet food to dogs and cats can help drive sales by recognizing what your target audience is looking for and explaining why they should choose you over the competition.
In addition, storytelling is crucial to each marketing campaign because it can help you combine facts and creativity to create a more compelling brand image.
Brand managers must be tech-savvy to use the various tools they need to learn more about customers and develop effective marketing campaigns. These individuals can use tools to perform market and competitor research, learn about customers via data collected through websites, social media, and digital advertising platforms, and create marketing campaigns.
Brand managers aren't just storytellers; they use data to create effective marketing campaigns, messaging, and visual elements that drive brand awareness, conversions, and lead generation.
With the ability to measure and refine branding efforts based on data from real customers, these individuals can dig deep into analytics to find intelligence that allows them to re-evaluate messaging and update it as necessary.
Trends, tools, and consumer habits change over time. The most successful brand managers continue to learn about their field and find new ways to improve their work.
Whether they're learning about technological changes and new tools that can help them learn more about their target audiences or taking classes about consumer behavior, brand managers must focus on the future by learning new techniques for everything they do.
Brand manager career growth opportunities
The average growth rate for brand managers' careers is 10% from 2021 to 2031, which is much higher than the 5% for all occupations, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).
Many brand managers start their careers in marketing and communications as assistant brand managers, marketing analysts, social media marketers, public relations associates, or in another marketing field, such as copywriting.
Requirements for brand managers vary by company, but most will look for at least three years of marketing experience and provide training by a senior staff member.
Then, once you become a brand manager, you can move up to additional roles or explore different opportunities in the marketing field. Many brand managers become marketing managers, marketing vice presidents (VPS), senior brand managers, and marketing directors.
Be thankful for your brand manager
Brand managers lead the development of your brand strategy, creating consistent messaging and ensuring effective communication across all your marketing channels. These individuals are crucial for helping you define your image and personality to create a lasting impression on customers and set crucial expectations.
Developing a brand takes research, time, and dedication. Most brand managers need tools that can help them reach customers at the right time. Mailchimp makes it easy to learn about your customers to develop a brand strategy to improve your marketing communications. Try Mailchimp today.