5 Brand Manager Skills for the Modern Business Setting
Posted by Cory Schmidt
Brand managers are gatekeepers for company products and services. Their efforts impact internal and external communication and are essential to company image. A successful brand manager creates enduring impressions by producing the right brand image. Here’s a brief rundown of what a brand manager does, followed by some key skills they require for success.
What Is a Brand Manager?
A brand manager is in charge of implementing and maintaining a brand strategy for companies. They uphold brand consistency throughout numerous marketing campaigns and different department communications. Brand managers work extensively with each department of a company to uphold brand.
Now that you have a base understanding of what a brand manager does, here are five essential brand manager skills you should adopt to ensure you create memorable brand.
1. Strategic Creativity
Creative teams with strategic business targets innovate the best brands. However, a common dilemma is too much structure around creative teams hampers their innovative output. Because of this, effective brand managers implement overarching strategies that encourage creativity rather than restrict it.
The most successful brand managers balance structure and innovation using their own creative strategies. These strategies keep creative teams focused and boost innovation while fulfilling company branding objectives. The key is a combination of prior planning and intermittent intervention. Periodically review and improve your own strategies for creative teams.
When you task a team with creating a new brand asset, clearly outline your expectations beforehand and relay them to the team. Put these in writing, include tangible examples and refer back to them often. This ensures your strategies are optimized. Most importantly, find opportune times to reiterate branding goals and ensure they foster team creativity.
2. Quantitative Reasoning
One of the core brand manager competencies is the ability to justify branding efforts with data. The quantitative rationale behind your branding strategy legitimizes it within the company – especially with upper management. Most branding outcomes are understood qualitatively but expressing them using numbers is what keeps the brand manager afloat.
The key to synchronizing data with branding is measuring branding reach before starting new processes. Though brand perception is subjective, some measurements can be ascertained for branding justification. For instance, a brand manager can calculate conversion rates to show how well new key messaging is perceived. Whichever way you tackle this, be sure to use data and give updates early and often.
Once you have your data, present it to the company in a dynamic and engaging way. One of the most important brand manager qualities is a refined presentation style. Use a unique blend of quantitative reasoning and real-world examples to make your data-driven case for further branding activities internally.
3. Strong Communication
Brand managers work across many departments and implement company-wide cooperation on larger projects. Be sure you’ve built relationships through good communication practices prior to starting a big rebranding project. Here are some valuable ways to improve your communication.
First, make yourself visible and available as often as possible. Go to different departments and ask questions. Try to attend creative meetings as an observer to learn their workflows. Build relationships with teams whenever possible. Finally, be available for brand questions if they arise.
There are often branding questions in other departments that aren’t asked because the brand manager has not made themselves available. Furthermore, brand consistency starts internally, so make it clear to your team that they need to be available for branding questions from their colleagues in other departments.
4. The Ability to Immerse
Immersion into key markets is crucial for brand managers to grasp the presence of their brand. Marketing research informs brand managers what types of videos customers and prospects watch, the sites they visit and social media conversations they’re engaged in. Knowing these is essential for outbound marketing and to understand what types of brand messaging are effective.
One way to immerse into your target markets is to study the media products your customers consume. The best way to see whether your messaging is compelling is to look at it from a customer perspective. For instance, if your company sells SaaS products, you should read digital publications in that space and follow influencers who engage with the topic.
After you’ve immersed yourself in customer-centered media and conversations, you’ll have a better perspective when looking at your brand messaging. It gives you first-hand insight that is infinitely more valuable than customer surveys.
One of the foundational attributes of a brand manager is flexibility. When faced with changes in the market, a brand manager adapts and pushes the company forward. They do this by creating a new design or key messaging while keeping the core brand intact and maintaining brand consistency.
Conversations surrounding customers’ experiences with your brand happen in real time on social media platforms and other mediums. The flexibility to harness social media for your branding campaigns is crucial. Furthermore, researching brand discussions on these platforms is important. Be sure to change your strategy contemporarily as trends develop.
Brand management used to be a slow and steady process but today it moves quickly. Companies need to manage brands as fast as customers’ opinions change. Because of this, brand managers must continually keep up with discussions within their industry and about their brand.