Brand management is one of the most sought after career paths within the consumer marketing world.
In a nutshell, a modern day brand manager’s job invariably involves developing, communicating and implementing a brand plan, however, executing this successfully is much more complicated and involved than it may initially appear. It requires first class project management skills and excellent stakeholder management as well as a whole host of other requirements that all need to come together in order to get the desired result.
The brand manager needs to have flair and a creative approach yet be commercially aware and financially minded at the same time. No two days are ever the same, it’s rewarding, challenging, there is a genuine career path and you have the kudos of shaping, influencing and promoting a brand that will ultimately be showcased to the end consumer. There’s a lot more to it than this of course, but is it any wonder that once you’ve started your career within brand management you tend to keep going?
I’m generalising here but a typical career path within brand could look something like this: Marketing Assistant to Assistant Brand Manager to Brand Manager to Senior BM to Head of Brand to Marketing Controller to Marketing Director. Of course, it all depends on the size and structure of the organisation that you’re working for, the brand or brands that you’re managing etc., but if you are ambitious (which marketers generally are) then how do you progress your career and what will entice you to look for other opportunities externally?
In my experience there can be any number of reasons with the main culprit being a lack of career progression and development opportunity with a current employer, which is a reason more commonly associated with smaller, less well-known brands. That said, larger more established brands owned by the big FMCG’s are often competing for credit with each other internally, potentially causing conflict, and they don’t always offer the fast track promotion opportunities you would expect. Indeed many of the smaller brands, should they perform above expectation, can typically offer faster progression due to their less formal processes and red tape. So, as always, there are pros and cons to both and it would be interesting to hear from any brand managers out there about what has prompted them to look elsewhere in the past.
In a job market where good brand marketers are worth their weight in gold and are hard to replace, employers are understandably reluctant to lose good people and are continually putting measures in place in order to help retain more of their key people. In a candidate driven market there are an increasing number of opportunities for good brand marketers should they want to look externally – safe to say that if you’re already somewhere along this career path then the likelihood is you enjoy what you do and are pleased with your career choice!