Guide to Brand Management: Definition, Jobs, Careers (2022)

Written by Coursera • Updated on

What is brand management? Learn more about brand management, brand manager jobs, and how to take your first steps into a brand management career.

[Featured image] A group of brand marketers is brainstorming ideas.

Brand management is the development and management of the reputation and image of a brand. The goals of brand management include building brand awareness, fostering positive customer associations, and differentiating the brand from its competitors. 

As a brand manager, you’ll typically work in marketing and advertising departments and be responsible for developing and executing marketing plans, overseeing research initiatives, and managing promotional activities. To be a successful brand manager, you must have strong communication, analytical, and strategic planning skills. By choosing a career in brand management, you become a vital part of the brand-building process.

What exactly is brand management?

Brand management is creating and maintaining a strong, recognizable brand. This includes developing and managing your brand's image, identity, and reputation. As a brand manager, you'll define and create relationships with customers, employees, partners, and stakeholders. Brand management is a strategic process where you’ll align your brand strategy with the overall business strategy.

Read more: Brand Marketing: What It Is + How to Create your Brand Marketing Strategy

What are the principles of brand management?

You’ll need to have certain principles in mind to frame the brand management process. The principles relate to different aspects of the branding process, including:

  • Conceptualizing and creating a unique identity for the brand

  • Protecting and enhancing the equity of the brand

  • Managing and adapting the brand to offer customer value over time

As a brand manager, you’ll need to research and stay ahead of the competition. You’ll need to understand how your marketplace perceives your brand. As you build and maintain your brand, you’ll need to keep these fundamental principles in mind.

  • Think about who you’re trying to reach with your message.

  • Make brand messaging concise and clear.

  • Target your audience. 

  • Focus on what makes your brand different from competitors.

  • Continuously monitor and tweak your brand strategy.

  • Aim to make an emotional impact on your customers and prospects.

  • Have a central repository for brand assets and guidelines to keep things consistent.

  • Ensure your brand is consistent across channels: from your website to social media to your physical collateral.

Why is brand management essential?

When you have a successful brand, you can earn more, spend less on advertising, and build value in your business. Here are some of the ways your brand impacts your bottom line. 

  • Your brand management process may help you build customer loyalty and repeat business. 

  • A well-planned brand can make it easier to attract new customers and help your company expand into new markets, spending less per sale. 

  • A well-managed brand can help you improve your company’s impression and help you earn a higher price for your products or services. 

  • Effective brand management can help your company protect its intellectual property and defend itself against imitators.

What processes will you follow as a brand manager?

As a brand manager, your job is to ensure that your company's image is positive and that consumers see its products as high quality. You'll need to be able to create and maintain a strong branding image. Here are some processes you might go through as you manage brand identity. 

  • Analyze customer and competitor insights.

  • Analyze sales forecasts and relevant financial data and report on product sales.

  • Design and develop brand assets, including your style guide, digital asset guidelines, value proposition, and brand vision.

  • Execute communications and media actions across all channels, including your website, print media, and social media.

  • Manage the advertising and promotional budget.

  • Establish and maintain product branding through the creation and management of promotional collateral.

Read more: Marketing Career Path: How I Became a Brand Marketing Manager at Coursera

Job titles of brand professionals

*All US salary data is sourced from Glassdoor as of September 2022

You’ll discover many different brand management jobs in this industry. Some of the most common roles and their base annual salary include:

  • Brand manager: $79,053 [1]

  • Assistant brand manager: $70,013[2]

  • Associate brand manager: $69,770 [3]

  • Senior brand manager: $100,410 [4]

  • Brand strategist: $69,050 [5]

  • Brand marketing manager: $91,734[6]

  • Brand activation manager:  $51,720 [7]

  • Director of brand marketing: $124,453 [8]

  • Director of brand strategy: $137,789 [9]

Where do brand management professionals typically work?

Most brand managers work for corporations or marketing firms. You’ll uphold and promote the image of the brands you represent. You’ll work closely with marketing, advertising, and sales to steer the brand in the right direction. Your role will typically fall under the marketing department supervised by a marketing director or chief marketing officer (CMO).

How to build a successful career in brand management 

To have a successful brand management career, you’ll need a strong understanding of marketing and branding principles. You’ll identify customer needs and develop strategies to meet those needs. College qualifications, certifications, courses, and experience can teach you the competencies required.

Earn suitable qualifications and experience. 

Brand management is a challenging and rewarding career. To be successful, you'll need the right qualifications and experience. A bachelor's degree in marketing, advertising, business, or a related major is a good start. Some employers may require an MBA, or similar advanced degree. Relevant industry and work experience is essential for some employers to consider you for a role in brand management.

Become certified - Some top recommended certifications. 

You can choose from several certifications related to brand management. Some that you might like to consider include: 

  • Certified Brand Manager (CBM)

  • Certified Product Manager (CPM)

  • Certified Product Marketing Manager (CPMM)

  • Agile Certified Product Manager and Product Owner (ACPMPO)

To become certified, you'll need to complete an accredited program and pass an exam. Once you have your certification, list it on your resume and include it in your LinkedIn profile so potential employers can see that you have invested in your career.

Build a professional network.

Get connected with other professionals in your field and attend industry events. Join relevant online communities and forums. Start networking with potential employers. Attend job and career fairs, and reach out to companies that interest you. 

Read more: How to Use LinkedIn: A Guide to Online Networking

Develop and demonstrate essential competencies. 

When applying for brand management jobs, your resume must demonstrate that you've built the knowledge and skills to do the job. You'll have to present yourself as an expert in managing all aspects of the brand lifecycle, from planning and development to launch and ongoing management. These are some of the brand manager skills you'll need to demonstrate through your experience, education, and training:

  • An understanding of building brand awareness and the marketing mix

  • Knowledge of product packaging and retail

  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills

  • Collaboration and teamwork

  • Determination and perseverance

  • Relationship management skills

  • A strong focus on results

  • A high degree of business acumen

  • Analytical thinking

  • Creative thinking

  • Project management and leadership skills

  • Excellent at multitasking and delegating

  • Organization and responsibility

Job outlook and career prospects for brand management professionals

The demand for brand management competencies is expected to grow as businesses increasingly rely on branding and marketing to reach their target audiences. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a 10 percent growth in advertising, promotions, and marketing manager jobs from 2021 to 2031  [10]. 

Career paths in brand management

Brand management careers can take many different paths. Here is an outline of some of the junior, mid-level, and senior roles that you could target as you move through your career.

Junior roles leading to brand management

You might be able to get a junior brand manager role straight from college. As a junior brand manager, you’ll develop and execute marketing plans, conduct market research, and analyze data to determine the effectiveness of marketing programs. The following are some entry-level and junior roles and their average base salary that may help you build the competencies you’ll need in brand management: 

  • Sales representative (US): $65,996 [11]

  • Customer service (US): $40,056 [12]

  • Data analysts (US): $63,975 [13

  • Project management (US): $72,806 [14]

  • Marketing research (US): $49,001[15]

Mid-level roles in brand management

Mid-level roles in brand management tend to involve more strategic planning and decision-making than junior roles. As a mid-level brand manager, you'll develop long-term marketing strategies, set budgets, and oversee the execution of marketing plans. You'll also monitor competitors’ activities and developments in the marketplace. Here are some mid-level brand management roles and their average base salary:

  • Brand manager: $79,053 [1]

  • Senior brand manager: $100,410 [4]

  • Associate brand manager: $69,770 [3]

  • Product manager: $96,251 [16]

Senior roles and moving on from brand management

Senior roles in brand management involve even more strategic thinking and decision-making. As a senior brand manager, you'll be responsible for: 

  • Developing an overall branding strategy for a company

  • Managing complex budgets

  • Ensuring that all marketing initiatives align with the company’s overall business strategy

  • Leading a team of brand managers and other marketing professionals

You may also be responsible for developing long-term brand plans, managing multiple brands, or working with international markets. As you progress your career and build your competencies, you may be able to look at board-level roles. Here are three possible roles and their average base salaries:

  • Director of marketing: $116,737 [17]

  • Chief marketing officer (CMO): $179,223 [18]

  • Vice president of marketing: $165,409 [19]

Want to learn more about brand management?

If you want to learn more about brand management, consider taking some courses. Many different types of courses are available. Choose programs that fit your needs and interests to enhance your resume. For example, you might consider the Brand Management: Aligning Business, Brand and Behavior Course offered by the University of London.

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Brand Management: Aligning Business, Brand and Behaviour

Professor Nader Tavassoli of London Business School contrasts traditional approaches to branding - where brands are a visual identity and a promise to ...

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BEGINNER level

Average time: 1 month(s)

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Skills you'll build:

Corporate Branding, Brand Marketing, Brand Management, Brand Identity

Article sources

1. Glassdoor. “How much does a Brand Manager make?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/brand-manager-salary-SRCH_KO0,13.htm.” Accessed July 27, 2022.

2. Glassdoor. “How much does an Assistant Brand Manager make?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/assistant-brand-manager-salary-SRCH_KO0,23.htm.” Accessed July 27, 2022.

3. Glassdoor. “How much does an Associate Brand Manager make?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/associate-brand-manager-salary-SRCH_KO0,23.htm.” Accessed July 27, 2022.

4. Glassdoor. “How much does a Senior Brand Manager make?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/senior-brand-manager-salary-SRCH_KO0,20.htm.” Accessed July 27, 2022.

5. Glassdoor. “How much does a Brand Strategist make?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/brand-strategist-salary-SRCH_KO0,16.htm.” Accessed July 27, 2022.

6. Glassdoor. “How much does a Brand Marketing Manager make?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/brand-marketing-manager-salary-SRCH_KO0,23.htm.” Accessed July 27, 2022.

7. Glassdoor. “How much does a Brand Activation Manager make?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/brand-activation-manager-salary-SRCH_KO0,24.htm.” Accessed July 27, 2022.

8. Glassdoor. “How much does a Director of Brand Marketing make?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/director-of-brand-marketing-salary-SRCH_KO0,27.htm.” Accessed July 27, 2022.

9. Glassdoor. “How much does a Director of Brand Strategy make?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/director-of-brand-strategy-salary-SRCH_KO0,26.htm.”  Accessed July 27, 2022.

10. US Bureau of Labor Statistics. “ Advertising, Promotions, and Marketing Managers, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/advertising-promotions-and-marketing-managers.htm#tab-6.”  Accessed July 27, 2022.

11. Glassdoor. “How much does a Sales Representative make?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/sales-representative-salary-SRCH_KO0,20.htm.”  Accessed July 27, 2022.

12. Glassdoor. “How much does a Customer Support make?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/customer-support-salary-SRCH_KO0,16.htm.”  Accessed June 12, 2022.

13. Glassdoor. “How much does a Data Analyst make?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/data-analyst-salary-SRCH_KO0,12.htm.”  Accessed June 12, 2022.

14. Glassdoor. “How much does a Project Manager make?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/project-manager-salary-SRCH_KO0,15.htm.”  Accessed June 12, 2022.

15. Glassdoor. “How much does a Market Researcher make?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/market-researcher-salary-SRCH_KO0,17.htm.”  Accessed June 12, 2022.

16. Glassdoor. “How much does a Product Manager make?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/product-manager-salary-SRCH_KO0,15.htm.”  Accessed June 12, 2022.

17. Glassdoor. “How much does a Director of Marketing make?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/director-of-marketing-salary-SRCH_KO0,21.htm.”  Accessed June 12, 2022.

18. Glassdoor. “How much does a CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER make?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/chief-marketing-officer-salary-SRCH_KO0,23.htm.”  Accessed June 12, 2022.

19. Glassdoor. “How much does a Vice President of Marketing make?, https://www.glassdoor.com/Salaries/vice-president-of-marketing-salary-SRCH_KO0,27.htm.”  Accessed June 12, 2022.

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