Brand managers are the key people behind the success of any brand or product. They are responsible to improve the value of their brands or products, which in turn generate profitable returns for the company and shareholders. Many multinational companies spend millions on brand management and employ professional brand managers to develop, plan and implement marketing activities to increase the value of their brands.
Industries such as Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FCMG) for example, invest heavily in their products or brands in order to build their brands’ equity that will in turn generate significant sales and gain customer loyalties. Brand management is now no longer exclusive only to FCMG but is widely adopted in almost every industry be it automotive, fashion, cosmetics, computer or sports industry to name just a few.
Professionals who are responsible for brand management functions in their company are called brand managers, product managers or product development managers.
Brand Management Job Responsibilities
Brand management is more than a marketing job. Brand managers are responsible for the overall performance of their brands, which includes managing and developing their brands P&L (Profit and Loss), image and positioning in relation to their competitors. They are the key persons to plan, develop and implement marketing initiatives and activities for their brands or products.
Brand managers lead market research efforts to understand customers’ perception and behavior and formulate effective marketing strategies to ensure their brands receive maximum visibility and perform better than their competitors.
Brand managers are also required to be creative and be updated with latest marketing trends as the job also involves coordinating events, marketing projects and advertisement campaigns for their brands or products.
Brand managers work with a wide network of people such as advertising and media professionals, contractors and sales agents as well as their own internal marketing team members. As such they have to exhibit strong leadership abilities, good communication and social skills, strong analytical skills and the ability to multi task.
Brand managers are also a member of the management team, having to report weekly results and activities during management meetings as well as to integrate corporate objectives into their brand management strategies.
Training and Education Requirements
Brand managers are required to have core knowledge about marketing-related subjects such as advertising, consumer behavior, marketing strategy, market research as well as some knowledge about accounting and finance.
Almost all colleges and universities offer bachelor’s degree in business with specialization in marketing. Many business schools or institutions also offer online degree courses that enable working students to pursue their education on part-time basis.
A business program is often multidisciplinary in orientation covering a range of subjects such as finance, accounting, statistics, management and law coupled with marketing subjects such as market research, consumer behavior, marketing strategy, marketing communication and marketing theories and practices.
Salary and Wages
A career in brand management can be a lucrative and rewarding one. A successful brand manager with past achievements and strong track record can take home a comfortable six-figure earning a year.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean annual wage of brand marketing managers in 2009 was $120,070. The average annual salary earned by the lowest earning 10 per cent of brand marketing professionals in the country for 2009 was $55,720 while the highest earning10 per cent bring home an average of $166,400 per year.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Other than the regular health, medical and paid leave benefits, a career in brand management also comes with attractive perks such as travel opportunities, corporate cards, entertainment accounts as well as opportunities to meet famous people.
There are no regulatory certification requirements for brand managers. Employers would normally look for a candidate who has a bachelor’s degree with about four years of prior experience in brand management. Having an MBA can certainly increase one’s chances of getting employed as a brand manager.
Many graduates start their careers in brand management as brand assistants and go through on-the-job training and company in-house training over a period of time in order to learn the requirements of the job. Based on their job performances, they may be promoted to brand managers or product managers.
Even though it is not mandatory, many brand managers tend to join professional organizations that provide networking opportunities and keep them informed about latest trends through conferences and publications. One of the renowned professional organizations for brand managers or product managers is the Association of International Product Marketing and Management (AIPMM), which also offers certification programs for professionals who want to enhance their credibility and competitive edge in the industry.
Due to the competitive nature of the business that are heavily focused on profitable results and sales performances, brand managers are required to have strong creativity, analytical skills and also good connections in the industry. They are also expected to be informed and constantly updated on trends and happenings in their fields. Candidates with established track record and strong portfolio of past achievements are highly sought after.
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