9 Essential Skills of Successful Brand Managers

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Smriti Rajan comes from a political science and literature background, having an immense passion for writing across varied topics. She has written several articles and blogs for diverse audiences worldwide. She has produced several research publications, policy frameworks, and opinion pieces for think tanks, government institutions and corporates. Alongside this, she writes for a large Fortune 500 clientele and is a key contributing writer for Wikistrat on their EMEA desk. Currently, she resides in India.

Branding not only shapes customer relationships, but it also affects the organizational culture.  To be successful, brand managers must possess a proven, diverse range of skills. Consider how a great brand manager can boost a brand and strengthen the company with some core competencies. 

Your brand manager plays an instrumental role in building enduring perceptions of your business and guiding your brand’s growth, whether they operate in-house or at a third-party agency.

Core Attributes

Key personal attributes for a successful brand manager include:

  • Brand awareness 
  • Determination and perseverance
  • Relationship management skills
  • A strong focus on results
  • A high degree of business acumen

The objective is to maintain brand integrity across all types of products and communications and to continuously develop positive brand perception among your target audience. 

Here are the 9 most important skills a brand manager should bring to a team.

1. Relationship management

Brand management and collaboration start within the organization. When you work through various divisions and collaborate with diverse teams, the capacity to maintain partnerships, coordinate with corporate processes, and facilitate meaningful brand association internally is necessary. 

Simply placed, a brand manager must act as the gatekeeper of the company’s products and services. This suggests that everybody knows and can leverage brand marketing and messaging.  More specifically, when engaging with other departments and staff, it involves showing a sincere excitement and passion for the brand, and championing it at any level. 

Furthermore, brand managers need to have a clear knowledge of their clients and vendors,  including the ability to interpret market analysis and consumer research.

2. Good communication 

Brand managers communicate with a wide range of people, including their staff, their team members, and the clients.  To be successful, they should be able to communicate ideas, expectations, and requests clearly and effectively. Moreover, they should excel in both organizational and interpersonal communication, which means they must be able to share information in both large groups and one-on-one conversations. 

Successful brand managers collaborate through a wide variety of teams and push for company-wide collaboration on diverse projects. 

Communication skills are present during a speech, presentation, day-to-day talk, elevator pitches to executives, or between you and a peer. Therefore, each engagement is important to present the core values of Personal Brand in a positive light.

3. Analytical thinking and creative storytelling 

Top-notch storytelling and strategic creative thinking are both sought-after attributes by brand managers. You ought to be able to gather information from the data and use it to tell a story that makes the brand irresistible to consumers. 

Excellent writing and design skills are nice to have, but it’s more essential to be able to balance creativity and strategy and transition smoothly from research and facts to creativity in communication. Successful brand marketers also think analytically about diversifying engagement approaches through the whole consumer experience.

4. Innovative and Strategic thinking

Brand managers must be both strategic and creative. They should move discreetly between research and facts towards communication creativity, which requires them to be analytical, verbal, creative and visual. 

Innovation is important in every field, but innovative and better business ideas are pushing business in the corporate and marketing environment. Hence, a successful brand manager must incorporate these and be an innovator to attract, retain, and expand the customer base. 

Also being able to formulate a marketing plan that is compatible with the broader corporate strategy and ‘thinking’ creatively about all areas of marketing is something that a marketer needs to possess. Therefore, a brand manager should have a good understanding of market dynamics, to be able to establish a tailored marketing strategy, and to achieve higher business objectives.

5. Adaptability

The fundamental quality that brand managers require is the opportunity to be agile even though it appears challenging.  Due to potential market changes, the only path ahead for a brand is through adaptation. If it’s by some sort of new concept or effective marketing, the manager needs to be able to build new possibilities without neglecting the core brand ideas. It is also important to have the flexibility to use social media correctly for branding campaigns. Finally, understanding the brand conversations on these various channels is crucial and a policy needs to be adapted as these trends evolve.

Since we live in a world where information can be accessed from anywhere and at any time, consumers have multichannel access to brands. The way we perceive brands and the relationship we have with them is constantly evolving. Therefore, brand managers must adapt and evolve along with them.

6. In-depth knowledge of marketing best practices

“While applying a brand name to a product/service, brand managers are required to follow certain principles, like the name of the product should be simple to remember, easy to pronounce, highly recognizable and easily and accurately translated into all languages of the target consumer market. They should be aware of the latest trends in the market and must come up with ideas for new packaging designs, including shape, size, colors, fonts, and imagery. 

A brand manager is responsible for developing new products according to the demands of the consumer. And for this, they coordinate with various other sections and departments of production, R&D, advertising, sales, promotion, marketing research, purchasing, distribution, package development, and finance, etc. A brand manager should be able to present the product’s benefit as well as the company’s image in the market and look superior as compared to other brands in the market. Now online brand management, known as e-branding, is also becoming popular through social networking sites and blogs.

7. Effective targeting

A good marketer has made the leap of faith and accepted that fewer target consumers will deliver a better overall result. Usually, that means stepping back from the segmentation and only going after 10% or 20% of the potential market. Tight target segments mean the marketing has a chance to succeed. Too many marketers lose faith at this stage and end up targeting pretty much everyone.

“Which leads nicely to the next feature of a great marketer: being entirely comfortable devoting time and marketing money to excluding the wrong kinds of consumers from your brand. Most marketers, when asked, still don’t know the difference between marketing and sales. Marketing is as much about stopping the wrong people from buying a product as ensuring that the right ones do. Usually, the majority of potential consumers in any market will cost you money if you serve them. A good marketer knows this and uses his or her skills to ensure they are avoided.” 

8. Creativity

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use the more you have.” – Maya Angelou

Marketing is in many ways a creative endeavor. Marketing managers should be able to develop unique and interesting ways to sell products or promote the brand. This involves the ability to come up with original ideas and innovate ways to make them a reality. To be successful in the industry, marketing managers must be able to capture and hold their audience’s attention. Creative skills for a marketing manager often involve:

  • Brainstorming ideas with graphic designers and artists
  • Evaluating the aesthetic appeal of marketing materials
  • Devising creative methods for promoting and distributing products
  • Planning and executing promotional events and activities

Creative teams with strategic targets innovate the best brands. However, it is fair to say that too much structuring of these creatives hampers their innovation. Because of this, effective brand managers know to implement strategies that encourage creativity instead of restricting it.

One of the things that separate good and great brand managers is the ability to find the right balance between structure and innovation within their creative strategies. These processes should give their creative teams the chance to stay focused while boosting progress in fulfilling brand objectives. The key to this is a combination of prior planning and periodic intervention when necessary.

A good brand manager will have an understanding of when they should reiterate branding goals that encourage team creativity.

9. Social Media savvy

In the digital age, what makes a good brand manager? Must-have skills now include social media savvy, as well as the ability to leverage digital marketing tools and technology. 

A brand manager knows how to leverage digital marketing expertise to excel in the social arena. Set your brand apart from the competition by telling the story of the company and its mission with fervor through social media channels. Define what the company stands for, and let it resonate in every post and picture shared. Use vivid images that incorporate brand colors, and develop a catchy tagline to add a unique, memorable touch.

Using social media tools to listen to the conversations surrounding your brand is key. Brand managers seek honest feedback from customers and social media followers to make progressive changes online and offline. If the website or social media strategy is not reaching the target audience, revamp the social media strategy, and make improvements until you note positive changes.

The quest to establish and maintain a reputable business brand never ends as long as the company exists. If you apply exceptional branding and marketing techniques, you can build greater visibility in your market and gain the trust and allegiance of consumers. Businesses continue to look to brilliant brand managers for direction, and those who know how to achieve exceptional results remain in demand.



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