What Does a Brand Manager Do? 2024 Guide

Written by Coursera Staff • Updated on

Every business is a brand—or at least it has the potential to become one with the right guidance from a brand manager.

[Featured image] A brand manager talks through strategy with three members of her marketing team.

Working in brand management means developing a strategy that sets a company apart from its competitors and builds a long-lasting relationship with customers.   

Being a brand manager means taking on a broad role that often requires familiarity with many aspects of marketing, including market research, content marketing, digital marketing, social media marketing, and design. Brand managers aren’t necessarily expected to perform these responsibilities, but their knowledge will help guide each respective team to develop messaging and assets that align with a brand and strengthen its position in the marketplace. 

Let’s review what a brand manager’s responsibilities entail, the tools you may use in the role, and what it takes to become one. 

Brand manager tasks and responsibilities 

Building a brand strategy means building a unique story and experience for customers—something that connects them with a company and its products and fosters loyalty over time. 

Brand managers are responsible for overseeing any aspect of marketing related to a company’s brand and ensuring that all branding decisions ultimately result in stronger sales. To achieve that alignment, brand managers tend to work with multiple areas of marketing, like research, content, social, and design. 

As a brand manager, you may be responsible for: 

  • Conducting market research

  • Analyzing data for trends, insights, and information 

  • Advising multiple teams on branding strategy

  • Communicating with marketing teams to ensure brand alignment 

  • Managing projects through various stages of development

  • Managing budgets to support branding efforts  

  • Maintaining relationships with company stakeholders 

What tools do brand managers use? 

The tools you’ll use as a brand manager will differ depending on the specific responsibilities your company expects you to perform. But some common tools for brand management include: 

  • Social media monitoring and listening (Sprinklr, Hootsuite, Sprout)  

  • Media relationship management and listening (Meltwater, Cision, Muckrack)  

  • Customer relationship management (CRM) software (Salesforce, Zoho, Hubspot) 

  • Data visualization tools (Tableau, Datawrapper, Google Charts) 

What does it take to become a brand manager? 

Becoming a brand manager requires a combination of higher education and experience. It’s often a position marketers hold after working in another type of management role, like social media management or content management. Here are some steps to consider if you’d like to pursue a career as a brand manager:

Earn a degree.

Brand manager job listings vary in terms of their requirements for education. Typically, companies expect brand managers to hold a bachelor’s degree in marketing, advertising, public relations, business, or another related field (with some companies specifying which major they are looking for). Additionally, some brand managers earn their MBA with a concentration in marketing to hone their expertise and bring advanced knowledge to their role. 

Develop related experience.

Smaller companies may require somewhere between one and three years of experience, while larger companies may require more. To become a brand manager, you can expect to start with an entry-level role in sales or marketing. Working in an entry-level role, such as a market research analyst, social media manager, content marketing manager, or digital marketing manager, can provide you with the foundation you’ll need to move into brand management, such as important leadership skills. Through these roles, you can bolster your understanding of consumers and the successful messaging it takes to reach them—important components in managing a brand. 

Develop brand and marketing skills.

A brand manager typically needs to have advanced skills in the following areas: 

  • Writing: Messaging is at the heart of brand strategy, so strong writing skills can help you develop effective messaging while ensuring copywriters execute it. 

  • Communication: Beyond messaging on behalf of the brand, you’ll need to be able to communicate with a company’s marketing team and stakeholders about your strategic recommendations.   

  • Strategy: Developing or improving upon a branding strategy means understanding the market, how your company fits within it, and how to reach customers. 

  • Project management: Your ability to manage multiple projects at the same time will help as you oversee new campaigns and help teams execute everything from graphic overlays to email copy. 

  • Personnel management: Whether you manage direct reports on your branding team or oversee a number of teams who report to you for branding guidance, having some experience managing others will serve you well. 

  • Adaptability: Markets constantly change to reflect consumers’ needs, and it helps if you can be adaptable. Moreover, staying curious about trends and innovation can help you develop a more responsive brand strategy.  

If you’d like to gain more insight into what it takes to manage a brand, consider taking a free introductory course on Brand Management from the University of London. Learn at your own pace as you cover topics like brand alignment, practices, and execution.

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Brand manager salary and job outlook

The average US salary for a brand manager is C$71,211 [1]. Marketing and creative job roles are on the rise in Canada. They currently comprise around 6 per cent of total employment in the country [2]. Specific data on brand managers is unavailable, but by looking at a similar role to brand managers, and marketing managers, the potential demand growth in the near future is apparent. The Government of Canada projects that marketing manager roles will be moderate to good in Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Nunavut, Ontario, Prince Edward Island, Quebec, and Yukon Territory over the next three years [3].

Brand manager career advancement

Once you’ve become a brand manager, you’ll find additional roles to explore as you continue to grow in your career. Some brand managers move on to become senior brand managers or, eventually, marketing directors or communications directors. The advanced communication and strategic skills you hone as part of your time as a brand manager may help you move into higher-level roles that oversee more of a company’s marketing plan.

What’s the difference between a brand manager and a marketing manager? 

A brand manager works on brand strategy—or the story a company tells about itself to customers—whereas a marketing manager oversees a number of efforts to promote the company and its offerings to customers.

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Next steps 

Build job-ready skills for a career in marketing with a Professional Certificate from Meta in Social Media Marketing or Marketing Analytics. Learn key subject matter that a brand manager would likely need to know while you earn a credential for your resume.

Article sources

1

Glassdoor. “Brand Manager Salaries in Canada, https://www.glassdoor.ca/Salaries/canada-brand-manager-salary-SRCH_IL.0,6_IN3_KO7,20.htm?clickSource=searchBtn.” Accessed February 27, 2024. 

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