How to become a brand manager: Your path to success

Brand Manager

If you’re a creative person with a strategic mindset, learning how to become a brand manager could be an excellent opportunity to launch a successful new career. 

Every business needs an effective brand to connect with customers and grow. The right brand strategy is what ensures an organization can appeal to its target audience, differentiate itself, and even adapt to market trends. 

A brand manager is the individual who ensures companies have the right strategy to build long-lasting relationships with their audience. The brand manager role combines everything from marketing expertise to strategic thinking, and creativity. 

Some brand managers even focus on specific aspects of a brand strategy, from defining marketing and public relations strategies, to product development. 

Here’s your guide to becoming a brand manager, and unlocking an exciting new career path.

Brand Manager

What is a brand manager?

A brand manager is an individual responsible for ensuring a company’s goods, services, products, marketing campaigns, and brand assets appeal to a specific audience. They use their years of experience, and their knowledge of the branding landscape to support numerous members of a team.

Brand managers work alongside marketing analyst experts, the marketing team, content creation specialists, and product managers to develop and implement comprehensive strategies for success. 

The responsibilities you’ll have in your brand management career will vary depending on a range of factors. Entry-level positions may focus more on things like using analytical skills to conduct marketing research. 

Successful brand managers might focus on more comprehensive strategy development and leadership tasks. 

Common responsibilities include:

  • Conducting research to help with brand positioning, understanding consumer behavior, tracking competitors, and defining successful promotional activities.
  • Analyzing data, such as consumer surveys, customer survey feedback, reviews, and market insights for trends and information.
  • Advising and guiding multiple teams on branding strategy (similar to a brand strategist), and developing templates for branding and marketing initiatives.
  • Managing projects through various stages of development, from product creation, to developing brand guidelines. 
  • Maintaining relationships with company stakeholders, and providing regular advice on the progress of brand strategies. 
Brand Manager

The different types of brand manager

While some brand managers focus on various aspects of branding, working alongside the marketing department, product manager, and development teams, others take a more focused approach. 

As you progress in your role and gain more experience, you might look into becoming a:

Brand product manager

Brand product managers work alongside the product marketing manager and development teams within a business to focus on marketing and raising awareness for a specific product. They conduct research to find out where a product fits within a specific industry. 

They also learn as much as they can about the potential demands, goals, and pain points of target audiences, to help guide product development strategies. 

Brand marketing manager

A brand marketing manager leverages their knowledge of the marketing landscape and a company’s target audience to devise and implement marketing strategies. They may work with a social media manager to raise awareness for a brand, or use email to nurture brand loyalty. 

The focus of this brand manager position is on using marketing campaigns to achieve specific branding goals, like increasing brand equity, or brand recognition.

Senior marketing manager

Senior marketing managers are higher-level professionals that take on management positions within a business. They have the same knowledge of marketing and brand development as most branding managers, but they also have more general business knowledge.

In executive positions, senior managers use their knowledge of business administration, opportunities in different industries, and more to elevate a brand’s reputation over time, and lead the rest of the team towards success. 

Brand Manager

How to become a brand manager

Becoming a brand manager is a process that requires a combination of higher education, experience, and both hard and soft skills. 

Many professionals start a successful career in brand management with a related entry-level role. For instance, you might begin your career as a marketing assistant, PR specialist, business management expert, or digital marketing consultant. 

Here’s how to become a brand manager in today’s world:

Developing crucial brand manager skills

A successful brand manager needs advanced skills in a range of areas. There are various hard or “technical skills” you’ll need to cultivate, as well as a few critical soft skills. 

Most leading brand managers are highly skilled in:

  • Writing: Messaging is often at the heart of many brand management strategies. Strong writing skills ensure you can develop effective messaging strategies to reach your audience.
  • Communication: Beyond creating messaging for the brand, you’ll also need to communicate effectively with other marketing professionals, and market researchers. 
  • Strategy: You should be able to develop comprehensive brand strategies based on your knowledge of consumer demands, market trends, and your target industry.
  • Project management: You’ll need to be able to manage multiple projects simultaneously as a brand manager, and guide your team members towards success.
  • Adaptability: As your company’s brand identity develops, and the market evolves, you’ll need to be able to adapt to changing trends and customer preferences.

Earning brand manager qualifications

When researching how to become a brand manager, you might notice that different job listings have variable requirements in terms of the education you’ll need. Some companies require senior brand managers to have a specific business management degree or MBA. 

Others will simply expect their brand manager to have a bachelor’s degree in marketing, or a related field. The more you develop your education and earn new credentials in business management, marketing, and even sales, the more likely you’ll be to get a high-paying role. 

An advanced degree can also boost your chances of getting a senior position as a brand manager, which generally comes with a higher salary. 

Building relevant experience

While you may not immediately need an advanced degree to earn the position of brand manager, most companies will focus heavily on your work experience. 

You don’t necessarily need to have experience working as a brand manager already, but you should have relevant experience linked to the role. 

For instance, three or more years of experience in various marketing positions (social media manager, content marketing, or digital marketing manager) is often prioritized by many companies. You can also show experience working as a research analyst, or business consultant. 

At the very least, you’ll need to show you have a background working in marketing roles, as part of a sales team, or in the brand development landscape. 

Brand Manager

How much do brand managers earn?

Brand manager salary

The amount you earn as a brand manager will vary depending on various factors. One factor is the seniority of your position. A senior brand manager will often earn a lot more than an assistant brand manager, but they may also need to earn a master’s degree, or have more experience. 

Additionally, the tasks you’ll be responsible for, from marketing management, to implementing marketing campaigns, can influence your salary. Even your location can have an impact on your expected salary. 

According to Indeed, the average salary for a brand manager in the United States is around $83,884 per year. Notably, however, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics does predict that demand for management roles will rise by up to 10% through 2031. 

Senior brand manager salary

Senior brand managers can earn a little more than their less experienced counterparts. Glassdoor suggests the average salary for a senior brand manager in 2024 was around $119,973 per year in the United States. 

The more experience you have, and the more significant your level of education, the more you can potentially earn from a managerial position. 

Brand Manager

Tips for being a successful brand manager

Learning how to become a successful brand manager is relatively simple, but achieving success in this role (like any other), requires commitment and patience. 

If you want to ensure you succeed in the role of a brand manager, here are some top tips:

Prioritize essential hard skills

Develop a comprehensive knowledge of marketing and branding strategies, research and analysis methods, and business management strategies. Taking courses related to brand management can help you gain a competitive edge.

Remember soft skills

Soft skills are also important to any brand manager. You’ll need to have excellent creative thinking and storytelling abilities, strong communication and collaboration skills, and a good ability to demonstrate leadership. 

Experiment with tools

Explore the various tools brand managers use in their roles, such as CRM software (like Salesforce), social media listening tools, data visualization software, design platforms like Canva, and marketing research platforms.

Focus on constant development

Look for new ways to develop relevant skills and knowledge in your role whenever possible. Take courses in content marketing, product management, and digital marketing. Alternatively, look for brand manager certifications.

Stay curious

The world is constantly changing for brands and marketing teams. Staying curious and making sure you constantly gather new information about your target market will help you to stay one step ahead of the competition.

Start your career as a brand manager

For recent graduates in the marketing landscape, learning how to become a brand manager can be an exciting way to unlock a lucrative career path. Demand for brand experts is constantly growing, as every business looks for new ways to raise brand awareness and increase customer loyalty. 

As a brand manager, you’ll have an opportunity to build and develop some of the world’s biggest companies, finding new ways to help them build relationships with your target audience. 

Just remember, success as a brand manager requires dedication and commitment. The more you hone your skills, explore new marketing campaigns, and work with other branding experts, the more likely you are to achieve amazing things in your role. 

Fabrik: A branding agency for our times.

Stewart Hodgson
Stewart Hodgson
Our co-founder, Stewart, is responsible for content strategy and managing Fabrik’s publishing team. It’s up to Stewart to bring Fabrik to busy marketers’ attention. As a regular contributor to Brand Fabrik, Stewart creates articles relevant to anyone in branding, marketing and creative communication.

  • Sign up for updates

    Sign up for your regular dose of Brand Fabrik and be the first to receive insights and inspiration.

  • Sign up for updates

    Sign up for your regular dose of Brand Fabrik and be the first to receive insights and inspiration.