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To become a brand manager typically requires the right combination of education, technical skill, and business experience. Most brand managers have both undergraduate and graduate degrees in a business-related field. In addition to the degree, an employee usually must demonstrate creative skills for advertising and promotion, and technical skills, such as project management and budgeting. Also, many major companies require between three and five years of experience as an assistant before being elevated to a brand manager position.
Many large companies make or sell a variety of products offered under individual brand names. These products can range from consumer items, such as food or cosmetics, to business needs, such as heavy equipment. A brand manager typically is responsible for creating a positive, trustworthy image for the brand in the appropriate marketplace, implementing advertising and marketing campaigns that sell the product, and doing those jobs within prescribed deadlines and budgets.
It can be important to choose the right undergraduate degree program since it typically is a prerequisite to become a brand manager. A bachelor’s degree in marketing or communications can be a good first step. Other possible degree fields include general business, sales, finance, or accounting. Whichever field you chose, an undergraduate business-related degree typically is the requirement for an entry-level job.
To become a brand manager and move up from the assistant level typically requires earning a master’s degree in business. This often is done while working as an assistant. Many corporations will help pay for a graduate degree.
Doing the job of an assistant brand manager well is a good first step toward advancement. At the entry-level position, the potential brand manager should demonstrate the ability to determine the needs of the brand and spearhead effective campaigns to promote it. At the same time, the assistant who wants to move up needs to exhibit strong interpersonal, management, and financial abilities. At this level, future brand managers also show they can handle increasing levels of responsibility, work under pressure, and make sound business decisions.
A brand manager’s job is much like running a business, which is why many have traits that are similar to entrepreneurs. The job requires vision, creativity, salesmanship, leadership, and accountability, and is a key job in most companies. This is why a rather lengthy apprenticeship of three to five years of successful experience is typically a necessary requirement for the job.
@Cafe41 - I used to work supporting a brand manager and my favorite aspect of working in the department was doing competitive analysis. Learning about what are competitors were doing and the market share that they had as opposed to what we had was really motivating.
It was like a benchmark that told you how close the competitor was getting. We always analyzed our advertising campaigns as well as our competitors and after a while you do develop insight as to what a customer would want. It is really a field for very creative people.
I think that when you work in this field long enough you develop instincts for creating the right product image.
I wanted to add that my sister started her brand management career as a marketing analyst. After getting a BA in marketing she was able to land a job with a major cosmetics firm.
After working as a marketing analyst she moved up to a regional product manager and later became a Vice President of Marketing and promotions. She really enjoys the competition between other cosmetic brands and really thrived in this market.
She always had great ideas on how to develop the brands that she was assigned. She also helped develop several products and was even involved in selecting the product spokesperson for one of her brands. I really think that this is exciting work that never gets boring.
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