How to Become a Brand Manager

July 3, 2024
3 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 7/2/24

Looking for a career that rewards creative and analytical thinking? Consider brand management, where you’ll be able to help businesses make an impact by communicating their beliefs, philosophies, and values.

Not many careers have the same diversity and flexibility that’s offered to brand managers. They help companies connect with target audiences by ensuring tactful communication on all channels. 

Brand managers use key skills and knowledge acquired from marketing, data analytics, and user experience to bring creative solutions to a fruitful marketplace and economic landscape.

Company values, qualities, and philosophies are part of brand management. How these attributes become ingrained in the public perception is one of the main job responsibilities. To discover how to become a brand manager, read on to see the most crucial steps toward this exciting and lucrative career!

What Does a Brand Manager Do?

A brand manager plays a pivotal role in overseeing and implementing the brand strategy for a company or product. Their primary task is to ensure that the brand's message, values, and identity are communicated effectively to the target audience. This involves collaborating with various departments, including sales and marketing, to create cohesive and impactful marketing campaigns.

One of the key responsibilities of a brand manager is to maintain brand consistency across all platforms and channels. They work closely with design teams to ensure that visual elements like logos and packaging align with the brand's identity. Brand managers also conduct market research to understand consumer behavior and preferences, enabling them to make informed decisions about brand positioning and messaging.

These professionals are also responsible for monitoring the brand's performance and reputation in the market. They analyze sales data, customer feedback, and market trends to identify opportunities for improvement and growth. By leveraging their creative and analytical skills, brand managers contribute to the success and recognition of the brand, fostering strong connections with audiences and driving business growth.

Steps to Becoming a Brand Manager

Wondering how to become a brand manager? Below we’ll outline a few key things you can do to break into the field. 

Step 1: Get a Bachelor’s Degree

With increasing competitiveness in the professional workforce, the number one best thing you can do for yourself is get a college degree. Obviously, with brand management overlapping significantly with business and marketing, degrees in those areas can be especially helpful.

Even if you already have an education in another area, don’t worry. Combining a professional background with a degree in something like communications, psychology, or journalism can still provide a great foundation for the role of a brand manager. 

Step 2: Acquire Certificates

Certificates are a great way to boost your resume in the competitive job market. Unlike general educational backgrounds and somewhat related experience, certificates provide hands-on and practical skills in marketing and business. There are all kinds of certificates to choose from, even outside of traditional academic settings. 

Increasingly, online certification is becoming much more popular and lucrative. Major companies like Google and Facebook host numerous different options from things like advertisements and website analytics. The steps on how to become a brand manager are customizable to your journey.

Step 3: Work on Personal Projects

Work without pay doesn’t sound like an enticing prospect. But here’s the exciting part: personal projects give you ample time to hone and exercise new skills you’re learning. Additionally, any certificates you studied previously most likely had you practice the skills you were learning with real websites and companies. 

This can extend into freelance and/or opportunities. Say for instance your friend was getting a startup going and needed someone to manage the social media presence of their company. Having real results and tangible work to show potential employers makes you a much more appealing candidate and less of a risk to hire.

Step 4: Land an Internship

Young professionals know all the hardships of trying to break into competitive industries. That’s why an internship provides an excellent opportunity to get real-world experience in an industry you care about. Through an internship, you’ll be able to see all the ins and outs of how offices and companies manage their day-to-day business affairs.

If you’re already a few years into your career and the prospect of taking a pay cut to switch fields disturbs you, don’t worry. Much of your previous experience will likely transfer over after you get your foot in the door to your new field of interest. In the long run, the right internship can provide you with all the bargaining power you need for job interviews in a new industry.

Step 5: Gain Professional Experience

Although a significant portion of brand management relies on traditional business and marketing approaches, digital marketing practices are becoming increasingly common. So while areas such as sales and marketing can provide a lot of value, newer tech areas like social media, SEO, and data analytics are changing the landscape.

Fortunately, a lot of experience can overlap with brand management, making it a viable career pivot for many professionals. The points to keep in mind are how your skills help you identify the tone and style for each unique brand you work with.

Skills Needed to Be a Brand Manager

To excel as a brand manager, mastering a diverse set of skills is essential. Here are the key skills needed to thrive in this dynamic field:

Data Analysis

Effective brand managers rely on data analysis to inform their marketing campaigns and brand strategies. By examining past sales trends and consumer behavior, brand managers can make informed decisions that contribute to the long-term success of a company. 

Utilizing quantitative metrics such as location, consumer demographics, and purchasing habits allows them to adapt their approach to the ever-changing marketplace.

Design Principles

Proper design principles are crucial for successful advertising and brand representation. Brand managers must understand how design choices communicate style and values, building credibility in the market. Striking the right balance between differentiation and familiarity is an ongoing consideration for brand managers. 

Those with a knack for design may consider exploring opportunities in top design schools to enhance their skills and contribute effectively to the brand's image and perception.


Sales departments play a significant role in a brand manager's responsibilities. Increasing product or service success is a central goal for brand managers, and they often collaborate closely with sales teams. 

Utilizing customer relationship management (CRM) software and analyzing past sales data help brand managers make well-informed decisions regarding marketing, design, and public relations. Engaging with consumers in-store allows brand managers to gain firsthand insights into the customer experience and identify potential improvements.

Public Relations

Brand managers understand the importance of the press and media in shaping public opinion. They focus on showcasing products and services in a reputable light through various channels. 

Strategic use of charitable events, assets, and previous brand successes helps shape consumer perceptions. Adopting a localized approach allows brand managers to target specific regions effectively, optimizing resources and avoiding unnecessary expenses.

Leadership Skills

Strong leadership skills are essential for brand managers to effectively work with diverse teams and uphold the company's vision and values. Successful brand managers collaborate with various departments, including sales and public relations, to ensure a unified brand strategy. 

Emotional intelligence plays a crucial role in motivating co-workers and providing constructive feedback. Brand managers with high emotional intelligence can guide and empower their teams to deliver impactful results.

User Experience

Brand managers play a holistic role in connecting with customers through the user experience. This includes website and product design, mobile applications, and packaging decisions. 

Though you don’t have to know as much as a UX designer, being able to maintain the integrity of the user experience at every step of the consumer's journey is crucial. 

Consistency across platforms is essential to establish credibility. If users have certain expectations in one area, they should expect the same quality on other platforms. A seamless user experience enhances brand loyalty and trust. 

Social Media

Being well-versed in social media is vital for effective brand management. Monitoring analytics, hashtag campaigns, and content strategy are key determinants of a successful brand presence. Studying the market and understanding demographics also help focus efforts on target audiences. 

Developing impactful social media marketing strategies within limited budgets is crucial for brand success. Utilizing social media insights can also allow businesses to tailor their approach and connect with relevant markets, which can help them optimize their impact and reach.

Brand Manager Salary & Career Outlook

Overall, the field of brand management seems to be on a lucrative trajectory towards high job growth. A brand manager's salary will typically be around $85,601 per year, with $54,036 and $135,605 on the low and high end respectively. 

Brand manager positions are projected to experience a 10% job growth from 2018 to 2028 and salaries have also increased by 8% in the last five years.

FAQs: How to Become a Brand Manager

If you have additional questions about how to become a brand manager, check out some of the most common FAQs below.

1. How Do I Start a Career as a Brand Manager?

Starting your career as a brand manager requires some discipline and planning. Having a solid background in business and marketing is especially helpful. Afterward, getting some entry-level experience in marketing for a few years will teach you the fundamental skills involved in being a brand manager. 

With the relevant previous experience, you can start looking into brand manager roles and positions. 

2. How Many Years Does It Take to Become a Brand Manager?

An undergraduate degree typically takes three to four years. After gaining additional experience in the industry for three to five years, you should have a strong background to start considering brand management positions. Altogether this process should take around seven to eight years.

3. Do Brand Managers Get Paid Well?

A brand manager's salary is commensurate with their education and experience, with average roles roughly earning $85,601 per year. The position offers good work-life balance, and opportunities to be fairly compensated for strategic business and marketing practices. 

4. Do I Need a Degree to Become a Brand Manager?

While a degree in business, marketing, or a similar field is ideal, related areas can work as well. So, it’s a good idea to give some thought to what to study in college and how to prepare. Keep in mind the role emphasizes experience more than a specific credential

Each company may have a slightly different cluster of roles and expectations for the position they’re hiring for. As a result, very specific credentials aren’t always required for every job. The important thing is to learn relevant skills from past positions when working your way up to becoming a brand manager.

With an adept skill set and strong work ethic, learning the tools of the trade becomes a natural part of the career journey. If you’re still feeling lost after schooling, consider what to do after college.

Final Thoughts

Brand management can be an ideal career choice for creative types with analytical backgrounds. Using tools of digital marketing, data analysis, and leadership skills, you’ll be able to help companies communicate their beliefs and values to the public. 

Being a brand manager means that rarely will you ever get lost in the monotony of routines, as each day will present new questions and challenges that require novel solutions. If you feel you have what it takes for this role, then consider pursuing a career in brand management, and help make a difference with brands you believe in.

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