A brand equals a company’s reputation and public image. Branding doesn’t just refer to consumer goods and aesthetic packaging. In fact, it is the result of a carefully curated perception of a business or a product outside of its appearance. But who curates this perception? Why, a brand manager, of course! Today, professionals who ensure that branding is relevant, memorable, and stays true to the company’s vision are known as more than brand managers. They’re brand custodians. So, how to become a brand manager or custodian in 2022?
According to McKinsey, strong brands consistently outperform the market. Over 20 years, investments in the top 40 global brands generated nearly twice the Total Return to Shareholders (TRS) of an investment in a Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) World index. This is where brand managers join the stage. But, before we get into how to become a brand manager, let’s get a lowdown on what it is they do.
What is a Brand Manager?
Simply having the highest quality of products is not enough to thrive in an unpredictable market. In addition, a brand needs a compelling image, which the brand manager designs and is responsible for the overall perception of the brand. For instance, what comes to mind when we think of the beauty soap brand Dove? Natural beauty, delicate, and non-intrusive skincare. But, how did we come to associate these values with the brand? It was a carefully curated experience of ad campaigns, content, and various other touch points, no doubt put together by a team of effective brand managers.
When a brand becomes an integral part of our choices, brand managers are on the right track. A brand manager makes sure that the emotion behind the brand resonates with the consumer’s thought process.
How to Become a Brand Manager?
Whether you’re a professional in the field of branding or you’re switching careers, some basic knowledge of branding is a must for this role. Most companies hire brand managers with specialized credentials, which you can gain by taking up online brand management courses, among other things. Most important, the role of brand manager is more skill-centric than degree-centric. Hence, you skills matter more than the degrees you have to your name.
What Skills Should a Brand Manager Have?
A brand manager creates strategies that build a customer’s perspective of a brand, and it is not an easy task without the backing of education or skill-enhancing courses. They must know a bit of everything, such as a basic understanding of User Interface/User Experience (UI/UX) designing, social media marketing, Search Engine Optimization (SEO), copywriting, advertising, lead generation, and sales. If you want to know how to become a brand manager, here are some skills you must have:
1. Excellent Communication Skills
A brand manager communicates with their team, stakeholders, higher management, external associates, and talent managers daily. They must have impeccable written and verbal skills to convey their message effectively. Outstanding communication skills are a requirement to be successful as a brand manager.
2. Research Skills
Brand managers make marketing and branding decisions regularly, thus requiring qualitative and quantitative research. Therefore, they must know how to gather relevant data and leverage it. They do not need to be experts in data handling but a basic understanding of data analytics is a must to predict success or come up with a brand strategy.
3. Lateral Thinking and Creativity
Creativity is a primary requirement of this role. You must know how to leave an impact while creating brand awareness. It would help if you had a solid grasp on:
- Comprehensive knowledge of your industry
- Basic analytical skills
- Channels of revenue generation
- Big data and business intelligence
- High Emotional Quotient (EQ)
- Leadership skills
4. Customer Relationship Management
The responsibilities of a brand manager include providing a smooth customer experience to users of the brand and its products. This covers product experience, customers’ interactions with the brand’s advertising campaigns, as well as addressing their feedback.
5. Versatility and Flexibility
Want to know how to become a brand manager? It begins with thinking on your feet. Markets aren’t always favorable. Thus, you must be flexible with the market environment to be an efficient brand manager. Also, if a strategy is not working, brand managers should have the ability to course correct quickly with the help of data.
6. Problem-Solving Skills
You must be able to make smart decisions, especially in a crisis situation. Quick recap of the skills you need to learn and improve:
- Strategic Marketing
- Marketing Management
- Product Marketing
- Product Development
- Crisis Management
- Brand Operations
- Critical Thinking
- Customer Support
- Sales Management
- Design Management
- Public Relations Management
What does a Brand Manager Do Every Day?
Let’s recap what a brand manager does. A brand manager takes care of the public’s perception of a product or business. They are responsible for advertisements, marketing campaigns, market research, and surveys. In short, they ensure that a company stands out among its competitors.
Here are the responsibilities of a brand manager:
- Conduct market research and analyze relevant successful brands
- Schedule brainstorming sessions to collate ideas
- Determine the current brand position in the market
- Examine the competitors’ branding position
- Stay updated on trending campaigns
- Communicate suitable marketing strategies to the rest of the team members
- Define and cater to the right audience
- Provide a phygital marketing strategy, when required
- Align the marketing campaigns with the company’s vision
Apart from these core responsibilities, brand management involves a variety of tasks on a daily basis. Besides marketing, a brand manager deals with designers, writers, developers, product departments, and outsourcing agencies. On the micro-level, it depends on the organization’s expectations from the position, but it usually revolves around everything relevant to the company’s brand.
There are countless tasks on a brand manager’s work dashboard, but these top three areas are constant:
1. Brand Growth
Every piece of work revolves around brand development. One must align the tasks with business objectives, map the marketing strategies, and assign or supervise the team’s daily tasks list.
2. Strategy and Implementation
Planning is step one, but ensuring execution is the ultimate goal. Implementation of ideas discussed during the internal meetings is a significant task that eats up a chunk of the time of brand managers daily.
Marketing includes both online and offline strategies. A brand manager supervises the campaigns and leads coming through diversified segments. They alter and customize brand campaigns for the target demographics.
What Kind of Professional Brand Management Certifications and Courses are Out There?
Many global institutions offer brand management certification courses both online and in-person. However, as professionals, upskilling in person isn’t always an option. So, for ease and convenience, you can opt for online brand management courses. Some examples of such courses certification are:
- Strategic Brand Management: Learn how to drive critical branding strategies, examine the trends and manage the brand.
- Advanced Certificate in Brand Communication Management: For a complete understanding of how to communicate brand language to the market.
- Basic Brand Management Certification: To learn what a brand is, how it is built and how to maintain it
- Branding, Marketing, and Advertising: To learn the relation between Branding, Marketing, and Advertising and how it affects a company’s revenue.
- Brand Management, Aligning Business and Brand: To learn how to align your brand goals with your business.
Do You Need a Degree to Be a Brand Manager?
While you do need a certain level of formal education to become a brand manager, it is a role that requires skills more than degrees. You may have your basic education in any discipline but if you have required skills and know how to use relevant tools, becoming a brand manager is possible. Some companies might expect this role to be filled by someone who has an MBA. However, this is not a rule that applies across the board.
If you want to know how to become a brand manager by acquiring the requisite skills, explore the best online courses by Emeritus from the world’s most renowned universities.
What are the Benefits of Taking an Online Brand Management Course?
Organizations worldwide now recognize online courses. So, if you want to know how to become a brand manager, online courses are a great place to begin. An online course will shape your career as a brand manager, whether you’re an upcoming or skilled professional. As a result, online brand management courses have increased exponentially, and aspirants can acquire all the benefits they always coveted:
- A Boost in Job Offers: A reputed online course can significantly increase lucrative job offers for aspiring brand managers. According to Indeed, the average salary of a brand manager in the USU.S. is $67,641 per year, and the highest monthly salary can go up to $7,622.
- Flexibility: They offer convenience and economic flexibility. So you don’t have to move to a campus or quit your day job to do an online course.
- Polish Your Skillset: They help strengthen your skills, and you can easily opt for multiple courses at different points in your career. In fact, companies look for skills rather than just degrees.
- Enhanced Networking: It gives you the community you seek by connecting you with fellow aspiring brand managers. You also get to connect with skilled brand managers to learn from.
If you want to become a brand custodian, there’s no time like the present to prepare for your dream role. Now that you know how to become a brand manager, brush up your branding skills with Emeritus and hit the bucket list of career goals.
By Yoshita Gour
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