The Brand Management Job: Skills and Functions

Introduction

Brand managers work in a spectrum of industries. They endeavor to develop an easily recognizable image for products and services. Brand management mainly focuses on market segments that are likely to have the largest sales volume (Kotler and Denize 41). Therefore, brand managers focus on the most attractive market segments. In fact, brand supervisors look for positioning strategies that easily woo people into buying. This process requires them to communicate ardently while paying attention to fine details (Rust, Zeithaml, and Lemon 112).

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The goal is to ensure that they capture all variables that may lead to the erosion of brand equities. Consequently, brand managers must demonstrate skills such as interpersonal and intrapersonal communication and the ability to work in a rapidly changing environment that is characterized by people with different tastes and preferences. They need to possess research and analysis skills, capacity to do things creatively and critically, and/or have internal drives and undying work morale. Most importantly, a brand manager should be team builder who demonstrates the ability to work in a teamwork setting.

The work of brand management demands the possession of a strong personality. Indeed, this trait comprises one of the most crucial resources for brand managers. When working in this industry, one must approach competing brand marketers in a manner that does not pose threats to their brands. This strategy helps in understanding their brand’s details in the effort to develop mechanisms for modifying any brand for it to remain different from those of the competitors. Therefore, a brand manager should be a person who is easy to get along with and/or trust.

Building a strong brand requires the use of the right means and media for its communication. Hence, brand managers should easily adapt to new technologies by utilizing any opportunity that accompanies innovation. The aim is not only to strongly communicate a brand to the target audience but also to manage effectively such communication to ensure that such technologies do not become threats, especially when competitors redesign their brands.

A Bachelor’s Degree in the business field such as marketing, communication, or commerce constitutes an important entry requirement to the profession. Experience, especially in print and electronic media, is an important factor that determines one’s success in the industry. When searching an employment opportunity as a brand manager, it is incredibly important to study the market trends and compensation variations between different jurisdictions and industries. Such information is necessary in making the final decision on the job opening to apply.

Industry Trends

Technological changes have led to immense changes in the brand management industry. For example, the world has experienced large investments in new media technologies. In the ICT field, convergence and digitization are seen as the new engines of economic growth for many countries (Paltridge 23). The digitization and technological convergence era has marked the dawn for brand management. The emergence of Smartphone and tablets has led to the shifting of focus of brand managers to brand promotion through new frameworks, including social media platforms.

Through these technologies, people can now gain better experience with products and services compared to the era in which texts and audio channels were used to communicate brands. Indeed, today, more focus of brand management inclines towards social sites, emails, and even mobile phone applications as shown in Figure 1 in the Appendix section.

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From Figure 1, it is evident that the current trend in branding revolves around internet-mediated strategies. Consequently, it is possible that focus on traditional branding methodologies has been limited. The shift is towards an integrated approach that deploys all different types of digital brand management technologies. This situation has led to the emergence of brand management ecosystem that brings together different tools of brand management.

Industry Outlook

Brand management careers can be found in different sectors, including factories, insurance, mass media, and even in professional bodies. The minimum entry requirement into the career entails a Bachelor’s Degree in a field such as communication, commerce, or any other related area of specialization. Nevertheless, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration (MBA) is an important achievement that can enable one to climb up the career ladder to a position such as a senior brand manager. Having little experience in the career, I believe that MBA can be a door opener to success in this field of specialization.

Brand management is a career in the broad field of marketing. Therefore, the industry outlook warrants a discussion of stance of marketing careers. Indeed, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics projected that careers in the marketing industry would grow by 12% over a period of 10 years from 2008 (par.2). This rise would occur analogous to the replication effect of creating new marketing jobs after the establishment of new organizations in different economic sectors.

Organizations employ full-time brand managers while others are contracted to offer the services. Human Capital supports this assertion by claiming, “business and corporations that rely extensively on customer-facing operations will typically have one or more brand managers under contract” (par.3). In a highly fragmented market industry, brand management career begins with titles such as assistant brand manager before progressing to the mid-level brand administrator and finally the senior level brand director. The holders of these positions play an important role in designing and managing appropriate brand images (Gerry, Kevan, and Whittington 41).

Skills

The appropriate mix of skills necessary to fit in a brand management job depends on one’s entry level. However, progressing to the senior level requires the possession of both sets of skills that are necessary for entry at the assistant brand manager and the brand administrator levels.

Writing Skills

Writing skills stand out in qualifying for a brand management position. Brand promotions are done through different media in the attempt to reach the largest target audience. This process requires the development of eye-catching texts designed for both new and traditional print media. Depending on desired brand image, the selection of the appropriate descriptive words for the brand is imperative since customers will always associate the descriptions with the service or the product.

Creativity and Critical Thinking

Creativity and critical thinking skills are necessary in developing a brand image that leaves customers in need for making more purchases of a given product. Creativity in thinking means having the ability to reason independently without any prejudices and or pre-bargaining. It involves thinking through the likely repercussions of any thought-out branding strategy, especially on an organization’s brand equities and inventories, both in the short-term and long-term.

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Criticality implies that one investigates the decisions on brand promotion carefully in an attempt to segregate the right from wrong decisions. The right decisions are those that would leave a permanent impression of brand images on customers while wrong decisions are those that favor the rise of other brands, rather than the brand under promotion.

Analytical Skills

An important aspect of brand management involves research. This process requires the analysis of market data and product performance. Subsequently, an appropriate brand image is developed to meet the preset and expected product or service performance. The job of brand management involves knowing how well to use data in influencing organizational decisions.

Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Communication

Brand management involves working in a teamwork environment. Hence, the context brings different people together. Dess, Lumpkin, and Taylor assert that all contexts that lead to the interaction of people require appropriate communication skills to ensure that the intended messages are passed (106). Part of this communication involves listening. In developing the most preferred and effective brand management strategy, a brand administrator must pay attention to details by listening to other people’s opinions. He or she must read and understand other people’s feelings, non-verbal expression, and most importantly, interpret verbal messages in their intended context.

Technologically Savvy

Technology re-defines the status quo in a dynamic way. Therefore, brand managers must remain at par with the emergence of new technologies. Failure to do so may render brand equities of an organization obsolete when competitors adopt better technologies that help to win the upcoming technologically perceptive consumers.

Leadership

Leadership helps in inspiring the brand management team to work collectively in achieving specific goals. The practice not only influences the team members but also the brand manager in a manner that guarantees the achievement of objectives. Brand managers need to have confidence, commitment, and internal self-drive in the implementation of ideas that are specifically designed to move the brand forward. Brand managers need to demonstrate the ability to maintain cohesive relationships and trust with all organizational stakeholders. Upon defining a brand, he or she needs to have the capacity to share the story with all audiences in a manner that makes sense to them.

Job Function

Brand managers have the responsibility of inducing and maintaining an overall positive image of a service, product, or even a person. He or she is in charge of researching an appropriate marketplace for the brand he or she manages with the objective of determining where a product fits in. This process entails conducting a competitive analysis of the products and brands accompanied by their positioning. A brand manager develops and manages marketing and advertising strategies. He or she handles the budgets to ensure that spending on a brand is accompanied by revenue generation.

They play an important role in developing layouts and designs for use in the digital and print media advertising. Chaffey states that brand managers have the function of “overseeing promotional activities, analyzing pricing and sales, and (re)evaluating how the brand can appear to a wider consumer base” (par.7). Therefore, the function of a brand manager is to ensure that a brand gains appearance while at the same time maintaining integrity of the best caliber that one can possibly achieve.

Brand managers have the responsibility of looking back and monitoring changes in trends. They shift into forecasting the future dynamics of the brand that one manages, including competing brands. This process helps in setting clear and precise plans on the strategy to adopt in each scenario for a brand image to have remarkable elements that leave customers always wanting to be associated with it. Other functions include:

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  1. Possession of ownership of brands while setting the vision and strategies that meet the brand equities
  2. Ensuring that the agenda of managing a brand is converted into plans and positioning initiatives, which later develop into marketing strategies
  3. Developing stimulus that motivates and compels the target audience to adopt an appropriate action
  4. Developing performance specifications, establishing price parameters, and presenting sales estimates
  5. Assessing the performance of different marketing campaigns that are aimed at promoting a brand, including comparing success against the set out goals based on various parameters such as Key Performance indicators (KPIs) and Returns on Investment (ROI)
  6. Expect bottlenecks and/or derive strategies for countering them
  7. Involving other team members in brainstorming and developing growth initiatives
  8. Ensuring the alignment of an organization around a direction set out by the brand

Compensation

In the United States, brand managers earn a median salary of $72,073 (Human Capital par.1). The amount of annual salary income varies with experience. At the entry level (0-5 years), a brand manager earns $62,000 while he or she earns $80,000 at the mid-career level (5-10 years). Experienced brand managers (10-20 years) earn $92,000.

The compensation scales include all allowances such as bonuses, the amount paid for overtime work, and tips. Salaries also vary according to jurisdictions. For instance, the pay scales are up by 43% in San Francisco, 23% in Atlanta, 20% in Chicago, 20% in Seattle, and 10% in New York. On the other hand, the pay scales are down by 4% in Miami, 10% in Houston, and 21% in Dallas (Human Capital par.9).

SWOT Analysis

In any career, one experiences a myriad of challenges and opportunities that impede or foster successful performance. To determine how one can respond to such situations, it is critical to conduct a SWOT analysis of both the career and personal abilities that guarantee a successful performance in various job functions.

In the acronym, ‘S’ refers to the strengths, ‘W’ stands for weaknesses, ‘O’ for opportunities, and ‘T’ for threats. The utmost goal of any professional seeking to deal proactively with the dynamics of the career environment is to capitalize on opportunities and strengths while directing the strategic plans to the process of minimizing the impacts of one’s weaknesses and threats on the career success.

The SWOT analysis helps in analyzing internal and external factors that influence the success of one’s career objectives. It helps one to focus on key issues that affect the success of a particular career path model. It encompasses the first stage in any planning activity for the success of future careers. Without a tool for effective analysis of one’s capabilities, one suffers from the challenge of setting the right career priorities. This situation is disadvantageous since successful performance requires one to establish a competitive advantage as an important personal resource for career success.

Industry SWOT Analysis

Strengths

The industry of brand management is highly dynamic due to technological changes. These changes create new avenues for brand managers to highlight their capabilities in harnessing technology to achieve brand success. The industry has the strength of the availability of job opportunities across all industries, including the management of personal images, for instance, the case of electoral candidates and even products. Today, the world has millions of brands, which manufacturers attempt to establish a unique brand image to attract higher sales traffic. Therefore, brand managers will always be required in all stages of a product lifecycle.

Weaknesses

The field is highly competitive. Consequently, employers look for people with high experience. Such people should demonstrate their past record of accomplishment in developing and maintaining brand success. A brand is the image of an organization. Hence, it is hard for an organization to trust inexperienced people in managing it.

The industry has the weakness of demanding high specialization in a given knowledge, for instance, the use of social media in brand positioning. Different industries and organizations within the same industry may anticipate different performance levels for their brand managers. Thus, the industry has no harmonized performance indicators.

Opportunities

The world has new developing markets. This situation creates an opportunity for new product development, which must be well managed to guarantee penetration into the industrial market. Brand positioning tools are also developing. For example, mobile marketing is experiencing rapid growth. Its growth in foreign developing markets is still at the infancy stage. Technological advancements continue to create new opportunities for specialized brand managers. In a world of excess products in the market, an organization continues to have huge marketing allocations in brand promotions to gain a higher competitive advantage.

Threats

Some industries are slowly adopting technological discoveries and integrating them with brand promotions. Many people who are graduating with MBA are eager to secure jobs in various specialized marketing careers, including brand management.

Personal SWOT Analysis

Strengths

From a personal perspective, I am:

  1. Highly interested and passionate about new product profiling
  2. Highly conversant with branding market trends
  3. Interested in research, especially on emerging technological innovations such as social media marketing, email marketing, and mobile product brand promotion
  4. Keen on securing MBA, which can give me a competitive advantage compared to brand managers with only a Bachelor’s Degree.

Weaknesses

  1. Currently I lack past experience in brand management
  2. I have not yet made a decision on the specific industry that I would like to join
  3. I intend to look for the job as I continue undertaking my MBA. Therefore, the merits associated with postgraduate degree that I would have in the market are not yet ripe.

Opportunities

  1. I am anticipating securing membership with networks of people who have been in practice for a long time. This plan will provide the necessary direction in preparation for a successful career.
  2. The job requires innovative and technologically savvy professionals

Threats

  1. The industry is highly competitive with many organizations preferring recruiting people with first degrees. The recruits are then given an opportunity to grow their career within an organization.
  2. Failing to successfully pursue MBA would be highly disadvantageous since I will risk securing a competitive advantage in the industry.
  3. Attempts to diversify would cut me off from remaining up to date with industry trend in brand management.

Job Search Timeline

Project Title Description Time (days) Start Time Completion Time Actual Finishing
Networking Apply formembership with various professional bodies in brand management 5 1stSept.2016 5thSept.2016
Choosing an industry Use personal preferences coupled with data indicating the most promising industry to select the most appropriate industry 10 days 6thSept.2016 16thSept.2016
Curriculum vitae preparation Review and update curriculum vitae 1 day 17thSept. 2016
Searching the job Search and make applications for various job openings in brand management 6 days 19thSept. 2016 25thSept.2016
Interviews Attend interviews for top-three most preferred jobs that I have been listed 14 days 1stoct.2016 14 Oct.2016
finalizing Critically conduct an evaluation of various job offers and then accept the most promising job 6 days 15thOct.2016 21stOct.2016
MBA Completion Complete MBA studies to increase chances of career progression In progress

Conclusion

After conducting a thorough review of the brand management job, there is a need to identify one specific industry to focus on. This strategy can provide an immense opportunity for networking with people who can share their knowledge and experience that can uniquely apply to the industry that I would work in. I believe that my strong communication skills, both in the written and spoken word command, are instrumental for communicating successfully with team members who I would be anticipated to lead in the effort to develop and maintain strong brand for the organization hiring me. Nevertheless, I need to improve on my leadership skills, especially transformational leadership tactics, since changing the image of a brand involves the transformation of unique brand elements. However, the most important thing now is initiating the job search process for me to begin making applications for a job that best suits my knowledge and experience.

Works Cited

Bureau of Labor Statistics. Occupational Employment and Wages, 2015.

Chaffey, Dave. Digital Marketing Trends, 2015.

Dess, Gregory, Gerry Lumpkin, and Marilyn Taylor. Strategic Management, New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Irwin, 2005. Print.

Gerry, James, Simon Kevan, and Richard Whittington. Exploring Corporate Strategy: Text and Cases, Prentice Hall: London, 2005. Print.

Human Capital. Brand Manager Salary in United States, 2015.

Kotler, Peterson, and Adam Denize. Principles of Marketing, Australia: Prentice Hall, 2009. Print.

Paltridge, Sam. Global Opportunities for Internet Access Developments, Paris: OECD, 2008. Print.

Rust, Roland, Valarie Zeithaml, and Katherine Lemon. “Customer Centered Brand Management.” Harvard Business Review 82.4 (2004): 110-118. Print.

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StudyCorgi. (2020, November 27). The Brand Management Job: Skills and Functions. Retrieved from https://studycorgi.com/the-brand-management-job-skills-and-functions/

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