How To Become a Brand Manager in 2024

Looking for a job that’s creative, challenging, strategic, and offers plenty of variety on a day-to-day basis? Then becoming a brand manager might just be the career-selection you’ve been searching for. In an age when brand perception is more important than ever, brand managers play a vital role in helping businesses establish and maintain a positive image in the eyes of existing and potential customers.

Brand management scores highly on job satisfaction surveys, and the pay can be decent, too, with the average salary being a respectable £43,500 ($55,000) in the UK. Competition for brand management roles can be fierce, however, so it’s unlikely that you’ll just walk into the role. A strategic approach is necessary. In this post, we’ll run through everything you need to know about how to become a brand manager, including outlining some brand management courses that can help make you a stand-out candidate. 

Understanding Brand Manager Responsibilities

Brand management is a broad, wide-ranging role that touches upon many different aspects of a company’s marketing operations. Day-to-day responsibilities can include:

  • Conducting in-depth market research.
  • Creating short, mid, and long-term marketing strategies.
  • Ensuring internal and external brand coherence across all departments.
  • Reviewing marketing work of more junior members of staff.

It’s a role that requires both hard and soft skills. A creative, adaptable mindset, robust analytical skills, and excellent collaboration capabilities are all essential for success in this field. 

How to Become a Brand Manager in 2024:

First of all, it’ll help if you have an undergraduate degree in a marketing-related field. If you have an undergraduate degree in a different field, then you’ll need extensive experience and will almost certainly need to complete a brand management course (note: they’re also recommended if you do have a marketing-related degree). In any case, except for in exceptional circumstances, you’ll probably need a degree to land a brand manager role.

Let’s take a look at how to become a brand manager in more detail. 

Perform a Skills Review

Reviewing your existing skills can help to identify whether you’re ready for a brand manager role. Some of the primary skills brand managers must possess include:

  • Communication
  • Research and analytics
  • Market understanding
  • Technical competency
  • Data understanding
  • Budget management

How do your skills stack up against these requirements? While brand manager roles can vary significantly from company to company, the above skills will form a foundational part of each. If there are one or two skills you’re not as hot on, then work on bringing them up to speed. 

Work on Getting Experience 

You’ll need to have plenty of marketing experience before you land a brand manager role. Virtually all brand managers have a background that encompasses a variety of marketing tasks and responsibilities. It’s best to work on acquiring three years of experience, which is what most employers will ask for when hiring a brand manager. 

Marketing experience that involves market research, strategy development, and branding is particularly advantageous. If you work in a marketing role that doesn’t currently touch upon those marketing elements, then speak to your employer and see if you can work on those types of projects — it’ll be a great help further down the line. 

Complete an Online Brand Management Course 

Hiring brands will look for evidence that you will succeed in a brand manager position. If it’s your first brand manager role, then it’ll be your experience and qualifications that provide that evidence. Even if you have a marketing degree, it’s recommended to complete one of the many brand management courses that are available online. Many of these take only a few months to complete, yet will give you a significant advantage when you apply for your first brand management role.

Let’s take a look at some of the best brand management courses:

Brand Management: Aligning Business, Brand and Behaviour

This course, offered by the University of London on Coursera, offers an entry-level introduction to brand management. It takes around 17 hours to complete, and you can learn at your own pace. Once you’ve finished the course, you’ll have an in-depth understanding of branding, brand management, and brand design.

Mark Ritson’s Mini MBA in Brand Management

This course from brand management expert Professor Mark Ritson is more expensive than other options, but you get what you pay for. You’ll learn the ins and outs of brand management from a professional who has been there, done that. Some of the key areas the course touches upon include:

  • Brand management.
  • Brand positioning.
  • Tactical execution.

In addition to learning about brand management, you’ll also get a year’s access to the Mini MBA Alumni Network, which can be an invaluable tool for finding brand manager roles. 

Brand Management: Build Successful Long-Lasting Brands

This course, provided by Udemy, provides students with the skills they need to create, grow, and manage brands. Highly affordable, the course is provided in the shape of videos and lectures, as well as self-study. It’s recommended for relative newcomers, as the first phase runs through the basics before taking a deeper dive. 

Utilise LinkedIn

It’s no secret that LinkedIn is one of the best job-seeking assets on the web. It’s recommended to put together a professional, branding-focused profile before you begin searching for brand manager roles. You’ll include your LinkedIn profile in your applications, but it can also just be a great resource for virtually networking and trying to find a brand manager role the organic way. Don’t be shy to reach out to recruiters!

Identify Start-Ups and Agencies

Becoming a brand manager at an internationally recognised brand may be your dream, but in the early days, it’ll be best to look at start-ups and agencies, both of which are in need of brand managers. You may be paid less at a start-up, but you’ll get plenty of hands-on experience. Agencies usually require brand managers to help juggle their various clients, which can help provide exposure to a greater range of businesses. And plus — it’s just easier to get a job with a start-up or an agency!

Final Thoughts on Becoming a Brand Manager

Competition for brand manager roles is tough, but virtually all brands need a brand manager, so landing a position is very much achievable. Take our tips above, and you’ll be giving yourself an excellent chance to get a role that takes your career to the next level. 

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