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What do brand managers actually do?

I think that something in marketing might be a good career choice for me. I thought that maybe I could start in customer service and work my way up to brand management, but maybe that's not the right way to reach my goal. But I would like to also know what a brand manager actually does every day. What are your activities? Do you have a boss? Do you have employees that work for you, or do you mostly work alone? Sorry for the short question because I'm about to go to school, and thank you for the advice. #marketing #marketing-and-advertising #branding #brand-management


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Alwyn’s Answer

Hi Julea,


Having been a design manager with branding responsibilities I was responsible not only for adherence to the brand on all company products and services, but also its proper use. So what does that really mean? I was the person making sure that no information or product, no matter what the presentation or medium that would be seen or interact with anyone outside the company, carried company branding and messaging, and hat that branding adhered to some base standards that the company had established (color, size, placement, use of taglines accompanying company logos and marks).


An additional responsibility was to develop and establish a branding guidelines document and to educate all employees on the proper use of company branding on all external communication including presentations, and documentation.


I was fortunate to have also been involved in a re-branding initiative, an interesting, thorough and engaging process, where as a branding officer have input on logos, marks, re-naming of the company and its products based on re-positioning them in the market or to improve market standing (to make them better compete with other products by other companies).


A lot of emotional considerations go into branding a company and its products as they have to connect on an emotional and visual level with their existing and perspective customers. The practice touches on psychology, human behavior, marketing and social engagement. Most branding efforts are done by advertising agencies and/or branding firms as research is a key component of branding any companies, their products and services.


I hope this is helpful to you. Good luck.


Dear Mr. Velasquez: Thank you very much. I wonder how you do all of that. It sounds like a lot of different activities; almost like juggling. Is it hard to keep all of your brand manager activities separate? Julea P.

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Stephanie’s Answer

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Hi Julea!


I work on a Brand and Marketing design team at a tech company. Branding is a very exciting and rewarding field! I agree that if you want to get in on the ground floor, you'd be much better served by getting an entry level position at a successful branding agency - lots of ad agencies purport to also be branding agencies, but some have more branding emphasis than others. I really advise against choosing customer service as an entry, jump right into the branding pool if you can :-)


Branding comes together as a collaboration between account people (who help define the business needs), brand strategists, and brand designers. Once a brand is defined, the role of protecting it is typically managed by a combination of design and legal individuals. If you can find your path within one of these areas you'll likely have more options, and it will also help you discover what you love about branding (design vs. strategy).


There are likely some successful branding agencies in your area - if you really want to pursue this field reach out to them and see if you can make a connection with someone. Be polite but be persistent.


Find out if there are any branding groups on Meetup.com and go to a meetup, or see if there are any other industry groups.
Also, Linkedin.com features many groups, including several branding groups! Join one of these and get involved in the discussions and post questions for the group - you'll find the members are extremely helpful. Just use the main Search field and type "branding" then filter the search results to show Groups.


Lastly, I want to recommend this presentation by Marty Neumeier on what branding is and isn't :-)


http://www.slideshare.net/coolstuff/the-brand-gap


Good luck!


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Omar’s Answer

Well said, Lana! Agreed! I'd add one thing that I personally find interesting: There's an underpinning of psychology and human behavior: What makes a particular product 'tick' / really resonate with a customer? It's not always intuitive. Also, brand management or product marketing can differ in different sectors -- sometimes they will have responsiblity for managing profit-and-loss (like in consumer packaged goods), but sometimes it's more about the outbound marketing/positioning and product development stuff Lana talked about (often in technology, for ex). One last thing: I think a customer service background or experience could be valuable in this career, but as with any job, it's about the story you tell / how you position your experience / the skills you build and can transfer over!


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Liz’s Answer

Hi Julea,


I consulted with my business school friend who is completing a marketing rotation at General Mills and here is her answer:


"Brand managers act like small business owners. This means that they spend their time thinking about what the brands stands for (a promise to their customers) and how they can bring this promise to life through the products, services or experiences they create. It's a fun job because every day is completely different -- they might one spend day working with an advertising agency to create a new website and another day working with their vendors to pick the ingredients that are in their products.


To do this, brand managers work with a large cross functional team. This team is made up of people representing all different skill sets, like finance, market research, operations, manufacturing, research and development, etc. The role of the brand manager is to inspire this team to develop the products and services that the brand stands for. It requires lots of brainstorming, problem solving and strategic thinking.


Brand management is a fun, challenging and rewarding job because you can work for brands you really, really like. Start with a marketing class or two or work at a store that sells a brand/service you're passionate about and go from there!"


I think the advice above to start with marketing classes and then work in a store where you're passionate about the product/service/brand is a great set of first steps.


Good luck!
Liz


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Scott’s Answer

Best of the Village

Hey Julea,


Great set of questions. I'll try to answer them all. Working from the bottom and trying to get to a higher position will always give you greater insight into the customers and business. I would definitely try to get a part-time job or internship at an agency or in a business with a marketing/advertising department. You can learn a lot in those positions and they show initiative, not to mention fill your resume.


A brand manager is a lose term. It generally means someone who works for the company (client) who owns the brand…picture a office person with a badge…I'm here to protect and serve the brand. Silliness aside, this person makes sure everything that is intended to represent the brand fits the brand. If the brand is serious, then the communication assets need to be serious. If the brand is trendy, then everything should follow suit. As the brand manager, you get to make sure the brand is represented as it is intended.


On the other side, the Account Executive, is the brand manager but on the agency side. Here you get to help shape the brand with the assets your agency develops. On the agency side, you get to work with multiple brands many times but on the client side, you generally work with one or two that are closely related.


For either of these positions, a degree is a must. Communications, Marketing and Advertising, are all really good degrees to pursue. Build your planning and organizing skills, become a good writer, and understand the technical side.


A brand manager rarely works alone. There is often a team of people helping you execute the things that need to be done.


Good Luck!


Thank you Mr. Turner. I think I have a better idea now of what you mean. I'll try to get an internship or part-time job if I can. Julea P.

Good luck Julea - There is a company called Rescue Social Change Group located in SD that has a really ground breaking approach to advertising for causes. Check in with them, they are always looking for motivated young people. Scott Turner

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Lana’s Answer

Hi! Brand marketers are the ones responsible for coming up with the foundation for all future marketing efforts. You will come up with the value proposition (what is the 1 thing that this product solves for), messaging (tell me what it will do and how it will help me), and positioning (how is this different than other products).


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Nathan’s Answer

The biggest part of a brand manager's job is assessing technical and visual debt within a company. Connecting with businesses and preforming a "brand audit" is a great way to help companies understand where they are lacking and where they can be.


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Kendred’s Answer

Different brands have different expectations for this brand managers. Some will manage large teams and some might work along, depending on the company they are working for.


In general, brand managers are creative, great communicators, think expansively and perform well working cross functionally with other teams. If these skills sound like you, then brand management might be a great career path for you. Try and internship or mentor program to get some hands on experience.


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Solange’s Answer

Brand managers help to shape the brand according to the values that are true to an organization. They help communicate those values through creative assets like graphics and video, or even whole digital or real-life experiences. They help people connect to a brand and understand what the brand is and what it stands for within simple communication. A brand manager helps to make sure that messaging, look and feel stay consistent, so they often create style guidelines for anyone who will be creating marketing assets across the organization, so that the brand story can be communicated anywhere.


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George’s Answer

A brand manager creates the vision for the brand, coming up with positioning strategies and works as the ambassador for the brand both internally and externally. Creating a product is an important task but once that step is done, the job to move the product into the eyes of the consumer falls to the brand manager.


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Allen’s Answer

Hello Julea,


Great question, and a lot of great answers already!


Brand management spans across many functions, but I'll share my perspective as the lead Social Media manager for Norton (a Symantec brand).
I do not work on the Brand Team, but I work closely with Brand/PR/Legal/Marketing teams to make sure our brand is represented accurately and positively across social media channels like Twitter, Facebook, Blogs, Forums, LinkedIn, etc.


This includes:
-consistently telling our brand story, our mission, and our passion
-monitoring for any mentions of our brand, good and bad---we try to amplify the positive (promoters), and resolve the negative (detractors)
-identifying and taking action on illegal uses of our brand (many scammers use our logo!)
-acting responsibly from my personal & professional social media accounts as a brand ambassador
-reporting back to Brand/PR/Legal/Marketing teams on brand health


I hope this helps!


@AllenKelly


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Karthick’s Answer

The brand manager (BM) is the gatekeeper of the brand's reputation, the brand's voice to customers and the media, and the architect of a brand's image


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Linda’s Answer

Brand managers create and drive the soul of an organization - the "why we come to work in the morning" - in my opinion ;0) We're the people who think about how you want your audience to feel when they engage with the brand. In more practical terms, we design the company logo, the mission statement, or corporate tag-line, the brand colours, the look and feel, define the attributes of the brand (eg. strong, global, ubiquitous) we make sure that there's a global look and feel that is consistent both internally and externally. We look in to the future to see where the company is going and tie that creatively with how we show up. We conduct customer research and understand how our audience think and feel about us and what we do. It's one of the most exciting roles in Marketing.


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