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Brand Manager Career Guide

How to Become a Brand Manager

It’s not uncommon for the terms “brand” and “company” to be used interchangeably. But there are distinct differences between the two: a company is an organization that markets products or services, while a brand is the collective impact or impression that customers experience when interacting with a company and its products or services. The brand is crucial for the longevity and success of any company, which is why the role of the brand manager is so vital.

Brand managers ensure that all products and services resonate with a company’s current and potential customers. They have knowledge in many aspects of marketing such as content marketing, digital marketing, social media marketing, research, and design. With that knowledge, brand managers guide a team of marketing professionals in developing messaging that aligns with a company’s brand and strengthens the brand’s impact in the marketplace.

budget analyst crunching numbers

What Is a Brand Manager?

Brand managers are responsible for the collective perception of a company’s products or services. They work to develop strategies that set a company apart from competitors while strengthening relationships with customers. The customer and brand relationship is an essential dynamic of marketing, and a valued customer who resonates with a company’s brand is a key factor in longevity. Brand managers maintain positive customer relationships through regular research, development, management, and assessment of a company’s marketing tactics and messaging.  

What Does a Brand Manager Do?

As brand managers work to define, express, and engage the brand of a company, their day-to-day duties include:

  • Researching the marketplace: A brand manager needs to regularly research the marketplace to remain up to date on industry trends and public perception when defining a company’s brand.
  • Developing marketing strategies: Brand managers work collaboratively with other marketing professionals, including writers, designers, and analysts, to develop marketing strategies that strengthen their client’s or company’s brand identity.
  • Advising branding teams: Being a brand manager often means advising various teams to ensure that the company’s impact remains consistent across all marketing strategies. 
  • Managing various projects: Brand managers are engaged at all stages of the marketing process and must be able to multitask and navigate from project to project.  
  • Analyzing market data: A brand manager incorporates the results of market research data to guide product development, pricing, and new product launches.
  • Maintaining strong relationships: Brand managers collaborate with teams across many departments to effectively answer questions and clarify objectives. 
  • Communicating with colleagues and executives: Successful brand managers are effective and engaging communicators with colleagues and executives alike.

How Do I Become a Brand Manager?

The first step to becoming a brand manager is to earn a bachelor’s degree in marketing. With a bachelor’s degree, you’ll gain essential knowledge of consumer behavior, marketing analytics, branding, content creation, and more. At this point, gaining experience with an internship or entry-level marketing role will allow you to develop your knowledge and skills. Most companies require three to five years of experience in a marketing role before moving into brand management. Working as a social media manager, digital marketer, or research analyst in the process of becoming a brand manager can only strengthen your understanding of customer satisfaction and successful messaging. To specialize, you may consider earning a professional certification as a certified brand manager (CBM), a certified product manager (CPM), or an agile certified product manager and product owner (ACPMPO). To a greater extent, earning an MBA or a master’s degree in marketing will prepare you to lead a team of marketing professionals and move into the role of senior brand manager.  

Best Degrees for a Brand Manager

Marketing – B.S. Business Administration

For those who want to lead brands and steer consumer markets:...

For those who want to lead brands and steer...

For those who want to lead brands and steer consumer markets:

  • Time: 67% of graduates finish within 36 months.
  • Tuition: $3,575 per 6-month term.

Some careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Marketing and PR manager
  • Director of marketing and communications
  • Director of publications
  • Customer intelligence manager
  • Marketing sales manager

Marketing is a creative and exciting field—and one where an undergraduate degree will open better opportunities.

Marketing – M.S.

Two online marketing master's degree options with a focus on...

Two online marketing master's degree options with...

Two online marketing master's degree options with a focus on either digital marketing or marketing analytics.

  • Time: 70% of grads finish master's programs within 24 months.
  • Tuition: $4,530 per 6-month term.
  • Courses: 11 total courses in this program
  • Specializatin: Students choose from two specializations to focus their marketing studies on digital marketing or marketing analytics.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • Marketing manager
  • Marketing analyst
  • Marketing director
  • SEO manager
  • SEM manager
  • Email manager

A marketing master's degree will help you prepare for a wide range of exciting marketing careers.

Master of Business Administration

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on...

The flexible MBA program you need, focused on business management, strategy, and leading teams:

  • Time: Graduates can finish in 12 months.
  • Tuition: $4,530 per 6-month term.

Sample careers and jobs this business degree will prepare you for:

  • President and CEO
  • Vice president
  • Executive director
  • Chief strategic officer

Our competency-based model gives you an innovative learning experience you won't find anywhere else—and our MBA grads tell us they loved accelerating their program to see a faster ROI.


Next Start Date

Start the 1st of any month—as soon as you complete enrollment!

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Our Online University Degree Programs Start on the First of Every Month, All Year Long

No need to wait for spring or fall semester. It's back-to-school time at WGU year-round. Get started by talking to an Enrollment Counselor today, and you'll be on your way to realizing your dream of a bachelor's or master's degree—sooner than you might think!

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What Skills Does a Brand Manager Need?

Brand managers typically need to demonstrate the following skills:

  • Research
  • Strategic thinking
  • Quantitative reasoning
  • Excellent writing
  • Strong communication
  • Adaptability 
  • Proactive problem-solving
  • Trend forecasting
  • Innovative thinking
  • Dynamic leadership
male budget analyst

How Much Does a Brand Manager Make?

$105,000

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a brand manager is $105,000 per year in the U.S. Income is largely influenced by education, skills, and experience, with an associate brand manager earning around $93,000 per year and a senior brand manager earning around $177,000. 

What is the Job Outlook for a Brand Manager?

10%

Brand managers will continue to be in demand as companies maintain and expand their customer base. From 2020 to 2030, the advertising and marketing field is expected to grow by 10%, and the expertise of a brand manager in building a unique story and customer experience will remain a priority.

Where Do Brand Managers Work?

Varies

Brand managers often work at advertising agencies or as a part of an organization’s in-house marketing department. They can be expected to manage a single company’s brand or multiple client portfolios at once. Given their customer-experience skills, a brand manager has the option to work in any industry, with the highest percentage of brand managers working in professional and technical services, finance, manufacturing, and wholesale.

Additional FAQs

A brand manager is a marketing professional responsible for how a company’s products or services resonate with customers.

Brand managers maintain customer relationships through regular research, development, management, and assessment of a company’s marketing tactics and messaging.

To become a brand manager, a bachelor’s degree in marketing and three to five years of experience are necessary. Some employers prefer specialized certifications or an MBA degree.

Interested in Becoming a Brand Manager?

Learn more about degree programs that can prepare you for this exciting career.

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