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Marketing Career Focus: Brand Management

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Each of these Marketing Career Focus posts will cover a specific track or specialty track within the MS in Marketing degree program. is a good job search site because at a glance it shows average salaries, years of experience for many midlevel positions, the quantity of available jobs, as well as locations.

I looked at 10 to 15 job descriptions from major companies and the skills most frequently mentioned at such employers as Colgate-Palmolive, The Richards Group, YUM! Brands, AT& T, Citibank, and others. However, there is NO substitute for your doing your own searches and analyses.

What does a brand manager do? 

This description by Jenell Talley in “What Does Brand Manager Do?” on Media Bistro offers one of the better definitions:

“A brand manager is responsible for the overall image of a product or person. Key elements of the job are researching the marketplace to determine where the product or client fits in (i.e., analyzing competitive positioning, products, brands and spending); developing marketing and advertising strategies and managing those budgets; helping create designs and layouts for print and digital advertising concepts signage and collateral; overseeing promotional activities; analyzing pricing and sales; and (re)evaluating how the brand can appeal to a wider consumer base.”

MS Marketing-Brand Management Specialty Track - For details, please see our MS in Marketing degree plan.

Average years of experience and salary average (There are not many sponsorship opportunities in brand management for international students.)

Brand managers can work on the advertising/marketing agency side or for a corporation, managing one of the portfolio brands. Agency brand managers with three years of experience tend to have salaries on the lower side: $40,000 to $55,000. For a corporate brand manager with three years of experience, salaries range from $55,000 to $128,000.

What is the size of the market?

If “brand manager” is used in a search on or, then some 1,150 open positions in the USA are returned. Limiting the search to “brand management” yields far fewer: only 67 open positions.

The charts shown below from and provide examples for this specialty and average salaries in the career area.


Typical job description for brand managers (from a Colgate-Palmolive posting).

The Brand Manager is responsible for developing current and long-range business plans for Tom's of Maine Oral Care that balance both the conventional category needs but also ensure that “effectiveness” and “natural” are the core components of the bundles, to drive sustainable growth.

Principal duties and responsibilities:

• Develop, assist and ready for commercialization new products that will incrementally grow Oral Care as well as support broader category growth.

• Help in concept development, qualification, optimization, and validation.

• Partner with Insights community to mine relevant consumer and customer insights; execute research plans as needed to guide business decisions and validate opportunities.

• Managing project timelines, processes, and activities across large cross-functional team to develop new product bundles.

Evaluating new product business analyses

• Managing relationship with Go-To-Market team and Customer Development to execute successful new product launches and identify and recommend the right mix of exclusive opportunities for strategic customers of first to market/evergreen.

• In partnership with base business category leaders, help develop multi-year category growth strategies leveraging product development and marketing innovation.

• Manage brand equity considerations as input to driving business decisions.

Basic Qualifications

• 3+ years of professional experience packaged goods/CPG marketing or relevant business environment and 1+ years of category Innovation experience.

Top skills mentioned by at least 10 major companies with this job title posting


Courses of special relevance for brand management - see course syllabi for the exact lineup of skills, as not all are covered in each instance.

Ability to Represent the “Voice of the Customer”

Deep Understanding of Marketing Fundamentals

MKT 6310 Consumer Behavior

MKT 6342 Marketing Customer Insights Development

MKT 6301 Marketing Management

Take Brand Ownership

Monitor Market Trends and Research Consumer Markets

MKT 6330 Brand Management

MKT 6309 Marketing Research

MKT 6335 Advertising Research

Strategy Development Skills

MKT 6350 Competitive Marketing Strategy

Strong Analytical Skills

OPRE 6301 Statistics and Data Analysis

Associations and Meetups

• The Association of International Product Marketing and Management (AIPMM) - This is the world’s largest professional association of product managers, brand managers and other related brand-management specialists.

• Dallas Brand Marketers + Agency Professionals Meetup

Major Professional Certifications

There is no major industry-wide accepted certification.

The AIPMM has a brand manager certification program for members.

Newsletters and Blogs

• Brand Strategy Insider

• Copyblogger

• Percolate

Some recommended books on brand management:

Brand Leadership: The Next Level of the Brand Revolution, by David A. Aaker and Erich Joachimsthaler

(New York: The Free Press, 2000)

Brand Relevance: Making Competitors Irrelevant, by David A. Aaker (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2011)

Emotional Branding: The New Paradigm for Connecting Brands to People, by Marc Gobé (New York: Allworth Press, 2010)

How Cool Brands Stay Hot: Branding to Generations Y and Z, by Joeri Van Den Bergh and Mattias Behrer (London: Kogan Page, 2016)

Sticky Branding: 12.5 Principles to Stand Out, Attract Customers, and Grow an Incredible Brand, by Jeremy Miller (Toronto: Dundurn, 2015)

The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding, by Al Ries and Laura Ries (New York: HarperBusiness, 2002)

What Great Brands Do: The Seven Brand-Building Principles That Separate the Best From the Rest, by Denise Lee Yohn (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2014)

Alex Edsel

Alexander Edsel is the director of the MS in Marketing program and faculty member who teaches courses in digital marketing. Topics include e-commerce platforms, marketing automation, mobile apps, search-engine optimization, pay-per-click and web analytics Read more articles

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