The digital age has changed consumers’ relationships with brands on an unprecedented scale. Thirty years ago the average person saw approximately 2,000 ads per day. That seems like a lot…until you learn that number has skyrocketed to 5,000 today. But are ads any more effective? A saturated market doesn’t mean a savvy market, nor does it mean a sympathetic one. Instead, ubiquity begets inflation and often annoyance — just think of all those pop-ups.But there’s another, bigger problem: brands are more exposed than ever. One misstep — however sleight — can be catastrophic. You see it every day on the news (or on social media). Ten years ago, such a scenario would’ve been unlikely; thirty years ago, it might’ve been impossible.Given this corporate catch-22 — in which companies must keep a high, but not too high, but not too low profile — brand managers are more than ever. They’re also in high demand.But first things first…
What is a Brand Manager?
A brand manager is essentially a specialized marketing manager who focuses exclusively on the promotion and protection of their client’s public image. (Unlike the generally big-picture responsibilities of marketing managers, i.e., sales, HR, business strategy, forecasting.) Leading a team that includes market researchers, analysts, and creatives, brand managers support, control, and enhance clients’ brands through projects like marketing campaigns and PR management. Anything that concerns public perception the brand manager oversees.
Salaries and Job Prospects for Brand Manager?
According to CNN, brand manager ranks among the best jobs in America. Median pay is just below $90k per year, nearly double the US median household income, and top earners can make up to $135k. Better yet, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 9% job growth over the next decade, or twice the average rate. In other words, while digital has made brand managers’ jobs harder, it’s also expanded job opportunities.
Valuable Skills for Brand Managers
Excellent written and verbal communication skills
Understanding of marketing theory and practice (traditional and emerging)
Proficiency in a CRM software, i.e., Salesforce, Oracle, Microsoft Dynamics CRM, SAP, etc.
Familiarity with web design, graphic design, and production
No GMAT or GRE required A Top 100 University for nearly a decade
Education for Aspiring Brand Managers
Depending on experience, aspiring brand managers have either a bachelor’s or master’s in marketing, of which there are high-quality and affordable options online. Public Relations and Communications tracks are equally helpful, especially for demonstrating more specific expertise. If a full two- or four-year degree doesn’t fit your needs, you might consider alternatives like marketing-related digital bootcamps or MOOCs, which offer flexibility and affordability, plus a built-in experiential learning angle.