What Does a Brand Manager Do? (Plus How To Become One)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 31 August 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Pursuing a career in marketing may allow you to help shape the relationships people have with different products or services. Brand managers are prominent figures in the marketing industry to develop strong brand identities and personal connections. If you are interested in working at the center of brand development, this career path may suit you. In this article, we discuss what a brand manager is, what does a brand manager do, how to become one, what skills they need and information about their salary, work environment and career outlook.

What is a brand manager?

A brand manager oversees, develops and manages the overall image of a product, service or person. They're responsible for all promotional activities related to a specific brand to create or enhance a distinct brand identity. By understanding their target markets and what appeals to them, brand managers can develop and implement marketing strategies that strengthen the brand identity to drive sales and foster customer loyalty.

Brand managers may have different roles depending on the organisation. They typically report to top-level executives, and they may manage other branding specialists. They often collaborate with other internal professionals, such as the marketing department, and may work with external consultants, such as advertising agencies.

What does a brand manager do?

Brand managers are responsible for monitoring market trends and performing competitive analysis to make sure that the products and services of their brands stay relevant to current and potential customers. Some of their specific duties may include:

  • Establish a brand's identity, target market and values

  • Gather important brand and sales data

  • Develop custom brand management campaigns for products

  • Submit updated brand exposure reports to management each month

  • Contribute to the design of retail packaging

  • Create in-store marketing displays

  • Communicate with vendors and distributors to gain insights on how to improve product design

  • Manage the brand strategy through creating brand guidelines, brand vision, style guides and value propositions

  • Plan and execute media and communications plans for a variety of channels

  • Assist with developing new business opportunities

  • Contribute to new product launches, pricing and product development

  • Create and manage advertising, campaign and promotional budgets

  • Monitor competitor and customer insights through market research

  • Evaluate marketing activities based on their customer satisfaction, profitability and sales targets

  • Help with creating layouts and designs for digital and print advertising concepts

Related: SWOT Analysis Guide (With Examples)

How to become a brand manager

The following steps can help you learn how to become a brand manager:

1. Complete your education

Complete your education by pursuing a relevant formal qualification. While it may be possible to become a brand manager without having formal training or a qualification, employers often prefer those who do. Some examples of qualifications to consider include:

  • Advanced diploma of marketing and communication

  • Certificate IV in marketing and communication

  • Diploma of marketing and communication

Earning a bachelor's degree may also help prepare you to become a brand manager. Consider majoring in an area like:

  • Business

  • Communications

  • Corporate communications

  • Economics

  • Journalism

  • Marketing

  • Public relations

  • Strategic communications

2. Gain experience

Explore opportunities to gain marketing experience. It's important to develop your understanding of business management, communication and marketing principles as you begin your career. If possible, try to complete an internship while earning your qualification to help prepare you to apply for jobs upon graduation.

3. Pursue entry-level positions

Begin applying for entry-level positions within business, communications and marketing. Look for opportunities to develop your skill set in junior roles that will help you advance later in your career. For example, you may apply for jobs like brand specialist or marketing coordinator.

4. Build a network

Build a network by connecting with other professionals in the industry. Research local and national professional organisations to join, and create a profile for online networking websites. Look for opportunities to build relationships with professionals at all levels within your industry. This may help you stay current with trends, learn about new employment opportunities or find a mentor.

Related: Become a Networking Expert in 7 Steps

5. Consider additional training

Consider pursuing additional training as you advance in your career. This may include participating in training courses or workshops to learn more about certain topics or earning a master's degree to specialise in a particular area. Some areas of study to consider for your master's degree include:

  • Brand communication

  • Brand reputation management

  • Strategic marketing

6. Earn a certification

Consider earning a professional certification. This helps assure potential employers and clients that you have the required competencies, knowledge and skills you need to do your job. Some relevant certifications offered by the Association of International Product Marketing and Management (AIPMM) include:

Agile Certified Product Manager and Product Owner

The Agile Certified Product Manager and Product Owner (ACPMPO) credential certifies your knowledge of strategic and tactical concepts in product management and product ownership. Earning this certification demonstrates that you fully understand product management and can competently apply those concepts in your work. To earn this certification, you must pass an exam, and you may participate in an online course to help prepare you.

Certified Brand Manager

This Certified Brand Manager (CBM) certification covers the roles and responsibilities of a brand manager. The course explores the elements, attributes, personality and core values of a brand and how each plays an important role in developing relationships with customers. It also provides insights into maximising brand equity and brand value.

Certified Product Manager

The Certified Product Manager (CPM) certification validates an individual's product management skills. The training focuses on building case studies, competitive analysis, product launch plans, market planning and more. Earning this certification requires completing an exam, and you may complete an online training course to help prepare you.

Brand manager skills

Brand managers typically possess an assortment of soft and hard skills. Soft skills relate to your personality and natural characteristics, and you demonstrate them through your interactions with others and work ethic. Hard skills, however, are technical skills related to your specific job that you may learn through training or experience.

Some important skills for a brand manager to have include:

Communication

Communication skills refer to how successfully you share, receive and process information. Written communication skills are extremely important for brand managers to create short-form and long-form materials to convey branding messages. Similarly, it's essential they can communicate effectively with others about projects to ensure cohesive branding messaging through all efforts.

Read more: Communication Skills: Definitions and Examples

Flexibility

A brand manager can develop the ability to adapt quickly to the evolution of the market and trends. They can do this while maintaining the consistency of the brand's messaging. With brand management being a rapidly evolving process, these individuals can leverage the tools available to them to remain competitive.

Data analysis

Data analysis skills enable you to gather, organise, interpret and understand data in meaningful ways. Brand managers use quantitative and qualitative data to learn about competitors' products, consumer buying habits and preference and more. They use this data when creating brand development strategies and marketing plans.

Related: Definition and Examples of Analytical Skills

Storytelling

Storytelling skills are a type of creative skill that's essential for developing brand identity. Excellent storytelling skills help brand managers communicate with audiences about their brand. However, effective storytelling also requires the brand manager to understand their audience well.

Multitasking skills

Multitasking skills refer to the ability to handle multiple tasks or projects at once without compromising your performance or the quality of your results. Brand managers need good multitasking skills to help them oversee all aspects of the brand's marketing. This helps create a cohesive identity to achieve great results.

Interpersonal skills

Interpersonal skills allow you to understand and connect with others. They're essential for successful relationship management. It's important for brand managers to have excellent interpersonal skills to build and maintain relationships with key stakeholders and to help them understand the needs of specific audiences.

Read more: Interpersonal Skills: Definitions and Examples

Brand manager salary

The national average salary for a brand manager is $90,703 per year. However, salaries may vary. Factors like your experience, education, geographic location and credentials may affect how much you earn.

Brand manager work environment

Brand managers often work in demanding and high-pressure settings. They generally work full time with the occasional need to work overtime to meet deadlines. Brand managers can work in many different industries. Other features of this role include:

  • Working mainly in office settings, with occasional local, domestic or international travel

  • Using computers, printers, fax machines and office telephones

  • Working across departments to create branding strategies

  • Working in a fast-paced environment

  • Creating conversion, sales and other reports to present to upper management

  • Social networking on a constant basis

Brand manager career outlook

The Australian Government Job Outlook doesn't have career outlook information for brand managers specifically, but it does have information about advertising, public relations and sales managers. It reports strong growth within this field during the last five years and expects this growth to continue in the next five years. There were 163,700 jobs in this field in 2020, and it expects there to be 185,800 jobs in this field by 2025. This is a 13.5% increase, which it considers strong growth.

Please note that none of the companies mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed. Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and a candidate's experience, academic background and location.

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