Marketing Career Focus: Brand Management
By Keith Dickinson, MS Marketing Program Manager
Each of these Marketing Career Focus posts will cover a specific track or specialty track within the MS in Marketing degree program that can lead to the acquisition of many, if not all, the skills needed to successfully enter the career under discussion.
Indeed.com is a good job search site because at a glance it shows average salaries, years of experience for many mid-level positions, quantity of available jobs, as well as locations. I looked at 10 to 15 job descriptions from major companies and the skills most frequently mentioned at such employers as Colgate-Palmolive, The Richards Group, YUM! Brands, AT& T, Citibank, and others. However, there is NO substitute for your doing your own searches and analyses.
For information on the MS Marketing Brand Management specialty track, please go here.
What does a brand manager do? According to Mediabistro.com:
“A brand manager is responsible for the overall image of a product or person. Key elements of the job are researching the marketplace to determine where the product or client fits in (i.e., analyzing competitive positioning, products, brands and spending); developing marketing and advertising strategies and managing those budgets; helping create designs and layouts for print and digital advertising concepts signage and collateral; overseeing promotional activities; analyzing pricing and sales; and (re)evaluating how the brand can appear to a wider consumer base”
Average years of experience & salary average (Note: students requiring visa sponsorship tend to receive less money. There are not many sponsorship opportunities in brand management for international students.)
Brand managers can work on the advertising/marketing agency side or for a corporation, managing one of the portfolio brands. Agency brand managers with three years of experience tend to have salaries on the lower side: $40,000 to $65,000. For a corporate brand manager with three years of experience, salaries range from $85,000 to $125,000.
If “brand manager” is used in a search on Indeed.com or Glassdoor.com, then some 1436 open positions in USA are returned. “Brand management” yields far fewer: only 74 open positions.
Typical brand manager job description (from the Hershey Company posting for “Brand Manager”).
The Brand Manager position is an exciting and unique opportunity to join the marketing team of a fast-growing snack bar brand in Boulder. This position is responsible for leading brand marketing activities and managing multiple marketing programs. You’ll be the expert on key marketing initiatives, lead cross-functional teams and be a valued member of a small team where you get to work across all components of brand marketing. The ideal candidate will demonstrate superior project management skills in all facets of the marketing mix in order to help support ONE’s significant sales growth goals. S/he will also bring passion and a can-do attitude to our marketing team and will report directly to the Head of Marketing.
- Accountable for managing a variety of marketing initiatives that drive brand awareness, trial and distribution.
- Assist in the development of annual, long and short-term marketing strategy and plans.
- Be the brand lead across all other marketing functions – both in brand strategy, promotion and creative. Provide brand review for all marketing content and ensure it is in line with overall brand positioning and voice.
- Collaborate and support the sales team to provide best-in-class retailer specific merchandising and shopper marketing materials as needed for new and existing distribution growth opportunities.
- Coordinate and lead cross-functional teams (Operations, Sales, Finance) to ensure successful and on-time execution of marketing initiatives.
- Provide leadership across all new product launches for commercialization in a cross-functional manner.
- Oversee coordination of external agency partners on the development, design and production of creative assets.
- Manage the marketing budget, through accurate tracking and forecasting of marketing spend.
- Actively gather, analyze and present brand, competitor and health & wellness food category insights, trends and data.
- Lead and manage Assistant Brand Manager
- Assist Head of Marketing as the Brand Liaison to parent, Hershey Company.
- Responsible for creating and supporting a positive, professional, team-oriented, harassment-free work environment by understanding and complying with the Company’s policies, by demonstrating the Company’s values, and being a role model for the Company Brand.
- A self-starter with a can-do attitude and extremely strong attention to detail
- Self-motivated with a strong desire to make an impact
- Ability to work in conditions which include multiple priorities, extended work schedules, and specific time constraints
- Exemplary writing, listening, communication and presentation skills
- Financial acuity
- Able to maintain confidential and proprietary information and material
- Proficient in Microsoft Office
Education and/or Experience:
- BS/BA Degree (Business/Marketing preferred)
- 3-5 years of experience in marketing (consumer packaged goods marketing preferred)
- Experience with both traditional and innovative communications and marketing techniques, including customer-specific/shopper marketing programs.
- Knowledge of project management principles; discipline of planning, organizing, securing, and managing resources to achieve specific goals
- S/he will have a collaborative approach with great customer service, both, internal and external, such as interfacing with cross-functional teams and external partners.
Typical brand manager job description (from The Richards Group for “Brand Management”).
- Support key accounts, working directly with the client and internal teams to plan, execute, and measure branding and communications programs
- Ensure the delivery of ongoing marketing and advertising assets and provide timely updates
- Use client service skills to build strong relationships and deliver all program elements with excellence
- Demonstrate a thorough understanding of and passion for the client’s business
- Participate in brand strategy discussions and work with creative and media teams to be sure that strategic objectives are met
- Manage day-to-day logistics of client programs, including timelines and budgets
- Maintain reports (i.e. creative briefs, media briefs, client agendas, conference reports, etc.)
- Bring strategic thinking to each client’s business so as to provide added-value and help stimulate growth opportunities
Three to seven years of advertising agency experience
- Experience managing projects from inception to production: TV, radio, print, and digital; bonus points for experience in supervising website projects
- Proven leadership experience
- Strategic thinker – big and small picture
- Outstanding presentation, communication, and writing skills
- Able to work under pressure with strict guidelines and within a fast-paced environment
- Professional and adept, with a fun spirit and a can-do/will-do attitude
- Able to work efficiently and closely with team members across all departments as well as with clients
- Have a love for creativity that is both award-winning and is successful for the client
- Experience on helping with new business efforts is a plus
- Bachelor’s degree in advertising, strategic communications, or marketing-related field preferred
Typical brand manager job description (from Amazon, Private Brands posting for “Senior Brand Manager”).
- Bachelor’s Degree in Business, Marketing, Advertising or related field
- 6+ years of relevant experience including brand management, CPG, advertising, or marketing in a retail e-commerce environment
- Track record of being able to define and successfully deliver integrated marketing programs with superior ROI—from marketing plan development through creative review, deployment and measurement
- Ability to influence multiple stakeholders and lead cross-functional projects across category or other departments
- Aptitude for being organized with flexibility and for delivering results in a fast-paced environment
- Demonstrated experience using hard data and metrics to measure performance and make adjustments accordingly
- Outstanding written and verbal communication skills
Private Brands is a fast-growing business that is rapidly expanding our brand offering to delight our customers. Our team is looking for a results-oriented, dynamic, and savvy brand marketer to lead our acquisition efforts to deliver exceptional growth for our brands. This position will deliver sales growth acceleration via advertising strategies and onsite CX improvements. Responsibilities span merchandising, content creation, and on site shopping experience.
This role requires an individual to have a passion for brands, be comfortable with ambiguity, have strong attention to detail, enjoy delivering results and be motivated by a fast-paced start up environment. He or she will know how to build brands and leverage multi-channel marketing strategies to drive brand growth. Being able to bring both an eye for quality content that generates the best CX and critical thinking to driveefficiencies in marketing processes will also help this leader be successful. This person should be comfortable with both marketing science and art, and be sharp enough to know how to use one to inform the other.
The leader’s primary responsibilities include:
- Contributing to business unit’s growth aspirations through online and instore activation programs
- Defining and implementing multi-channel, multi-brand marketing programs across onsite and offsite channels
- Measuring advertising performance and implementing campaign optimizations to maximize ROI
- Producing best in class content to support advertising, onsite marketing, and content for new product launches
- MBA desired
- 5+ years of experience in online marketing or brand development
- Experience in establishing content quality standards and production
- Editorial and/or content management experience
Associations & Meetups
- The Association of International Product Marketing and Management (AIPMM). This is the world’s largest professional association of product managers, brand managers, and other related fields.
- Dallas Brand Marketers + Agency Professionals Meetup
Major Professional Certifications
There is no major industry-wide accepted certification.
The AIPMM has a brand manager certification program for members.
Newsletters & blogs
Conferences & Events (check dates–subject to change)
Social Media Marketing World San Diego, CA, February 28-March 2, 2021
Fuse, Miami, FL, November 2020
AIGA Design Conference, Pittsburgh, PA, November 12-14, 2020
ANA Brand Activation Marketing Conference, San Diego, CA, April 22-24, 2020
The Financial Brand Forum, Las Vegas, NV, April 27-29, 2020
Confab, Minneapolis, MN, May 17-20, 2020
ContentTECH Summit, San Diego, CA, August 10-20, 2020
Advertising Week, New York, October 5-8, 2020
X4Summit, Early Fall, 2020
Inbound2020, Boston, MA, August 18-21, 2020
MarTech, San Jose, CA, April 15-17, 2020
The Incite Marketing Summit, San Diego, CA, May 14-15, 2020
Brand Manage Camp, Las Vegas, NV, Sept 15-16, 2020
B2B Marketing Exchange, Scottsdale, AR, Feb 22-24, 2021
Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People, by Marc Gobé (New York: Allworth Press, 2010)
How Cool Brands Stay Hot: Branding to Generations Y and Z, by Joeri Van Den Bergh and Mattias Behrer (London: Kogan Page, 2016
Brand Relevance: Making Competitors Irrelevant, by David A. Aaker (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011
Brand Leadership: The Next Level of the Brand Revolution, by David A. Aaker and Erich Joachimsthaler
(New York: Free Press, 2000)
Sticky Branding: 12.5 Principles to Stand Out, Attract Customers, and Grow an Incredible Brand, by Jeremy Miller (Toronto, Canada: Dundurn, 2015)
What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles that Separate the Best from the Rest, by Denise Lee Yohn (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2014)
The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, by Al Ries and Laura Ries (New York: HarperBusiness, 2002)
|Top skills mentioned by at least 10 major companies with this
job title posting
|Courses of special relevance- see course syllabi for exact line- up of skills as not all are covered in each instance|
|Able to represent the voice of the customer
Deep understanding of marketing fundamentals
|MKT 6310 Consumer Behavior
MKT 6342 Marketing Customer Insights Development
MKT 6301 Marketing Management
|Take brand ownership
Monitor market trends and research consumer markets
| MKT 6330 Brand Management
MKT 6309 Marketing Research
|Strategy development skills||MKT 6350 Competitive Marketing Strategy
|Strong analytical skills|| OPRE 6301 Statistics and Data Analysis