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Table of Contents
- What Is a Brand Manager?
- What Are the Key Elements of a Brand Manager’s Job?
- What Is the Average Salary for a Brand Manager?
- Hard Skills of a Brand Manager
- Soft Skills of a Brand Manager
- What to Include on a Brand Manager Resume
- How to Become a Brand Manager
- Frequently Asked Questions
What Is a Brand Manager?
A brand manager is someone who is in charge of a company’s overall image and presence in its market.
They help a brand with everything from creating the image it wants to portray to choosing a color scheme and font for marketing materials.
A brand manager is often responsible for conducting user research to identify a company’s target audience and what speaks to those consumers so that they can better convey the brand’s identity in a way that connects with them.
Brand managers ensure cohesiveness and clarity in all brand messaging. They establish a company brand that is easily recognizable and attractive to potential customers.
What Are the Key Elements of a Brand Manager’s Job?
While a brand manager can be in charge of a wide variety of tasks, the main responsibilities of a brand manager fall under one of three central concepts.
Building an Audience
About 75% of brand managers claim that building an audience is their highest priority, which makes sense.
A product means nothing if there’s nobody who will buy it.
The brand manager builds an audience for a brand is conduct market research to identify who the target audience is, including their demographics and behavior.
This process includes things like audience segmentation, consumer behavior analysis, observing industry and market trends, competitor analysis, and market entry research.
Building an audience is essentially laying the groundwork that comes before building the brand itself.
Solidifying an Image and Message
Next, the brand manager is responsible for solidifying the brand’s image and overall message.
When you think of Apple, what comes to mind? The iconic logo? The clean white aesthetic? The simplicity of the product design? The genius bar? The “i” at the beginning of all of its products? All of these are branding choices, carefully crafted with intentionality by a branding team.
This is a huge part of what a brand manager does.
Solidifying the brand’s image starts with developing a brand strategy. The brand manager will help the company define its mission, vision, and values, along with its unique value proposition and market positioning.
Next, the brand manager and corporate team will develop a visual identity system, including a logo, typography, color palette, and design elements that will visually represent the brand. This consistent visual identity helps create recognition and builds a strong brand image.
Then it’s time to form the brand message. The brand manager must create a compelling brand message that conveys the brand's essence, benefits, and what sets it apart from competitors. They will develop a brand voice and tone that aligns and resonates with the target audience’s emotions and aspirations.
Lastly, the brand manager will create brand guidelines. This will often include a sort of playbook, often referred to as a branding guide, that documents the brand's visual and verbal identity elements, usage rules, tone of voice, and guidelines for content creation.
Once all of the groundwork has been laid and the brand has successfully been launched, a brand manager is tasked with maintaining this consistency throughout all marketing channels and branding content.
They ensure consistency in brand communication across various touchpoints, including websites, social media, packaging, advertising, and customer service.
The brand manager or management team must focus on delivering a consistent and positive brand experience at every customer interaction point. They make sure the brand experience aligns with all customer touchpoints, including website usability, product quality, customer service, and retail environments.
They ensure that employees are educated on brand imaging and messaging so that they can effectively participate in promoting the brand and communicating the brand message to customers.
Lastly, they continue research by strategically monitoring the brand's image through customer feedback, surveys, online reviews, and market research. This allows them to regularly evaluate and adapt brand strategies to align with evolving customer preferences and market trends. The ultimate goal is to keep the company’s brand relevant and timeless.
What Is the Average Salary for a Brand Manager?
The typical salary range for a brand manager in the US is $55,000 to $140,000, with the average annual salary coming out to $85,000.
Find out other marketing job salaries.
Hard Skills of a Brand Manager
Hard skills are based on what you can do and specific tasks. There are some non-negotiable hard skills that someone seeking to be a brand manager needs to have.
The first of these hard skills is data visualization, collection, and analysis. A brand manager must be able to gather, organize, analyze, and derive insights from information in a meaningful manner.
Brand managers harness both qualitative and quantitative data to gain insights into competitors' products, customer buying behaviors, preferences, and other relevant information. They use these insights to develop well-informed marketing strategies.
Data analysis empowers brand managers to identify trends, make data-driven decisions, measure campaign effectiveness, and refine brand positioning. By using data analysis, brand managers can uncover valuable insights that shape targeted messaging, product development, and customer engagement.
Similarly, brand managers also need market research skills. One of these skills is research design, which is the ability to design effective research studies. They must know how to define research objectives, select appropriate methodologies, and develop research instruments like surveys, focus group guides, or questionnaires.
An important market research skill is familiarity with consumer behavior theories and frameworks. They need to know how to analyze and interpret consumer motivations, attitudes, perceptions, and purchasing behaviors.
A brand manager needs to be able to conduct thorough competitor research, including analyzing competitors' strategies, products, pricing, positioning, and market share in order to identify competitive advantages and opportunities.
The brand manager should use this collected information to generate actionable insights from research findings and translate them into marketing strategies, product enhancements, or brand positioning.
A good brand manager should do all of this with ethical research practices. They must understand and adhere to ethical guidelines and best practices in conducting research, ensuring participant privacy, data confidentiality, and compliance with legal and ethical standards.
Soft Skills of a Brand Manager
Soft skills are personal attributes that make someone well-suited for the demands of a particular job. Key soft skills for a brand manager include:
- Creativity– Since so much of a brand identity is its aesthetic and emotional appeal, a brand manager must be creative and have a good eye for design.
- Communication- Brand managers work closely with business owners to develop a brand identity that aligns with their values and goals, so they have to be effective communicators.
- Leadership- “Manager” is in the title for a reason! Brand managers have to be confident in leading a company to make big decisions for their company.
- Time management- Brand managers often help with product launches, which usually come with a hard deadline. Brand managers have to work fast to get brands ready for the public.
- Ability to handle pressure- There are many moving parts involved in developing a brand identity and emotions can run high when business owners are solidifying their company image and messaging. A brand manager has to be able to handle the pressure.
- Networking- Networking is a huge part of both acquiring jobs as a brand manager and forming connections with industry professionals for branding opportunities for clients, so people skills are a must.
What to Include on a Brand Manager Resume
If you’re creating a resume to launch your brand management career, consider including things like:
- Education/certifications- A degree is almost always necessary and should be on your resume, especially if you majored in business or marketing. Other certifications like a Professional Certified Marketer (PCM), Sales Management, Certified Brand Manager (CBM), or Google Data Analytics Professional Certificate can boost your resume.
- Relevant skills- A few relevant skills that make your resume stand out include brand management (of course), brand development, brand marketing, social media marketing, brand strategy, and advertising.
- Branding projects- If you have management experience in branding projects, list those.
- Campaigns- Spearhead any branding campaigns? They should be on your resume.
How to Become a Brand Manager
Do you still think you have what it takes to be a successful brand manager?
Here’s how you can get started:
- The first step is to get your business or marketing degree (a Bachelor’s is fine, but if you want to go crazy and have a couple dozen grand burning a hole in your pocket, go for that MBA!).
- Next, you’re going to want to get a few relevant certifications. A few good certifications to consider are a Certified Brand Manager (CBM), Certified Project Manager (CPM), and Certified Product Marketing Manager (CPMM).
- Then, build a professional network on LinkedIn and on relevant forums and online communities. This is where you can start finding people who can connect you with businesses that are looking to hire a brand manager and get help from your peers on how to become a better brand manager.
- Once you have your qualifications and community, you’ll start with smaller jobs to build your resume and work your way up to those more lucrative projects.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the difference between a brand manager and a marketing manager?
A brand manager handles the core identity of the brand itself, while a marketing manager is in charge of creating marketing campaigns that leverage the brand identity.
What makes a strong brand manager?
Data analysis and market research, as well as time management, communication skills, and networking, make a strong brand manager.
What are the most important skills of a brand manager?
Data analysis, market research, communication skills, and time management are the most important skills of a brand manager.
How much does a brand manager earn?
A brand manager earns around $85,000 annually on average.
Is it hard to become a brand manager?
Yes, it is somewhat hard to become a brand manager, as there are a few different certifications necessary to land a good job as a brand manager.