An organization’s brand manager is responsible for developing and institutionalizing brand assets and enforcing established standards. Brands are treated like businesses within a company, and brand managers are like small business owners. The brand manager’s role becomes more relevant as the number of ways consumers receive marketing messages increases. Pursuing a career as a brand manager can begin by enrolling in an MBA program with a specialization in Marketing.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), employment of advertising and marketing managers, a category that may include brand managers, will grow steadily in the coming years. Job growth will occur as the number of products and services increases, making it necessary for brands to stand out in order to succeed.
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Competition is strong for top positions; candidates with strong marketing experience and leadership qualities could have an advantage.
In general, a brand manager’s job duties include:
- Plan, develop and direct marketing efforts for a particular brand or product
- Create strategies to take advantage of market opportunities
- Conceptualize strategic initiatives and implement details of a campaign
- Execute strategies with cross-functional teams
- Manage external marketing partners such as advertising agencies, digital marketing firms and production companies
- Supervise brand content
- Manage access to brand assets
- Develop brand standards and usage guidelines
- Assist integration of campaigns with brand consistency
- Track consumer and market insights by reviewing metrics such as sales volume, market share, profit projections, pricing and distribution, and by conducting consumer research
- Analyze sales data to update a brand or category portfolio, determine new products and delete underperforming products
- Work closely with departments such as manufacturing and R&D to consult on package and product as it relates to branding
- Write reports, specifications and creative briefs
Depending on the size of the organization, these marketing professionals may also manage assistants or other staff members. Brand managers are typically the gatekeepers of a brand, and are consulted on guidelines for branding in advertising, promotions, internal publications, marketing and social media outreach. They participate in brand strategy discussions and collaborate with the creative team to ensure strategic objectives are met.
The fast-paced, deadline-driven work environment may also call for travel to trade shows or production facilities.
Brand Manager Salary Potential
Between 2012 and 2022, job opportunities in the employment category that includes management positions in marketing, promotions and advertising are projected to increase by 12%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As of May 2014, the average annual salary for marketing managers nationwide was $137,400, with the top 25% earning $171,390 or more, the BLS reported.
Prospective students are encouraged to conduct independent research as salary potential and job opportunities vary depending on factors such as a candidate’s work experience and educational qualifications, as well as regional market conditions.
Education and Training Requirements
While a bachelor’s degree and marketing experience may be sufficient for some brand manager positions, employers may prefer candidates with a master’s degree.
Marketing professionals seeking a brand manager position can improve their prospects by attaining a Master of Business Administration with a specialization in Marketing. Coursework typically includes strategic marketing, consumer behavior strategies and advanced market research.
Employers should expect that professionals who have earned an MBA with a specialization in Marketing are able to:
- Position a brand and build equity
- Apply modern theories of leadership, management and negotiation to real-world challenges
- Assess and manage risk using financial and economic data
- Identify marketing opportunities and develop success strategies to leverage them
Your Path to a Brand Manager Career
If you are a decisive, fast-thinking individual with excellent communication, leadership, analytical and problem-solving skills, you may be a good candidate for a career as a brand manager. An MBA with a specialization in Marketing from a regionally accredited university can provide you with the respected credentials sought by employers.