Hiring a brand manager is an important step for any business. Not only is brand building an essential marketing objective, but it is also quite often the key to success. The most loved brands are not successful because of luck. They have a solid audience who are loyal to the brand and come back time and again.
“By collaborating with a creative consultant early on, you get a valuable external perspective on your own brand that often is incredibly hard to gain internally since you’re so close to your product, brand and market. You’ll benefit from refreshingly new ideas for how you might strategically position your startup and your products in the market for sustainable, long-term success.”
— Adrian Finzelberg, Passionfruit Specialist
In this article, we’ll explain why it’s worth investing in an expert marketing manager and unpick everything you need to know about hiring the right brand manager for your business.
What is a Brand Manager
A brand manager is an integral part of the marketing team, they are responsible for developing and promoting your brand strategy, creating lasting customer relationships and ensuring your business stays one step ahead of the competition. In short, they ensure your company’s products and services are in line with its projected image.
Responsibilities of a Brand Manager
Analyze Brand Positioning & Customer Insights
Brand managers are responsible for analysing current brand positioning and conducting regular market research. Fact-finding like this helps to identify key trends and gather useful consumer insights that help to improve sales and ensure your brand remains ahead of competitors.
Shape & Help Communicate Company Vision and Mission
Brand managers play a crucial role in shaping and communicating a brand's message and purpose both within the business and to customers. In short, it is the responsibility of the brand manager to effectively communicate what makes a business, service or product truly unique.
Turn Brand Elements into Plans and Go-To-Market Strategies
Brand managers are responsible for taking core brand elements and turning them into go-to-market campaigns and innovative growth strategies. The key to success? Making sure customer needs and expectations are met.
Manage a Team (Potentially)
Depending on the size of a company, most brand managers will be responsible for managing a team of marketers. A responsibility that allows them to ensure the effective execution of brand strategies at every point of the customer journey.
Help With Business Conversion
Brand managers play a crucial role in motivating your target audience to take action. It’s their job to monitor market trends and review marketing efforts to determine what works and what doesn’t. Taking time to do this will enable them to create effective marketing plans that guarantee a return on investment (ROI) and market share. After all, a business can’t rely solely on a sales team to get results - brand equity is earned!
Business Critical Responsibilities
Brand managers are responsible for establishing key performance indicators (KPIs) - the benchmarks which help to determine the effectiveness of campaigns across the marketing mix. They are also responsible for assisting with product development, pricing and release to ensure consistency in the market.
Measure & Report KPI Progress
Brand managers are often responsible for updating key stakeholders such as marketing directors on the performance of new and existing marketing campaigns, following analysis of both ROI and KPIs.
Top Brand Manager Requirements
Having previous experience is necessary but experience in a similar sector whether it’s B2B, B2C or SaaS, isn’t always essential. When it comes to hiring talent, keep your eyes peeled for individuals who have a history of working with high-growth start-ups - experience with early-stage start-ups can often outweigh years and years of experience.
Make sure the candidates you interview have a strong track record in developing brand strategies that drive conversion. Without this sort of experience, there is no guarantee that you will achieve the market share you desire.
Don’t be afraid to ask candidates to share examples of effective campaigns from previous roles. Whether they work in-house or on a freelance basis they will have strong examples of their achievements.
Good Marketing Understanding
An experienced brand manager should have a strong understanding of the wider marketing mix including content marketing, digital marketing and social media marketing. While you shouldn’t expect them to be an expert, a solid understanding of these channels will ensure they are able to effectively execute and monitor your brand strategy.
Strong Analytical Skills
Data analysis is an integral part of the role, brand managers must possess strong analytical skills in order to successfully extract important information. If you’re unsure about a candidate's ability to pull the right data, don’t be afraid to ask them to complete a small task as part of the interview process.
Data Driven Thinking
A good marketing manager is results driven - they make decisions based on what they learn from the data. Look for someone who works hard to identify opportunities that push your brand forward and differentiate you from competitors.
“The best brands aren’t merely based on storytelling, they’re based on a creative angle that comes from a deeper truth. Dedicating proper time and energy to finding this kernel of truth to base a brand on might be one of the most undervalued things within your control. If done well you should find something that truly resonates with both your brand and your audience rather than ending up with something that might seem unique but is lacking a deeper connection to your company and vision – because it has been made up out of thin air.”
— Adrian Finzelberg, Passionfruit Specialist
Great Communication Skills
All brand managers must possess excellent communication skills. It is their responsibility to communicate what needs to happen, why it needs to happen and how it needs to happen to everyone from their immediate team to key stakeholders. After all, everybody needs to be on the same page to ensure brand strategies shine through in everything the company does.
If you’re not sure what to look for in a potential candidate, keep an eye open for an individual who is articulate, diplomatic and a good listener. Leadership experience is also a big plus.
Brand Manager vs Marketing Manager. What's the Difference?
Although the brand manager and marketing manager form part of the same team, the brand manager is typically more senior than the marketing manager as they are responsible for brand growth (i.e. developing and executing the marketing strategy).
A brand manager's primary responsibility is to ensure the brand remains in line with the consumers’ interests, while the marketing manager's main job is to present a product to the public and increase sales through different marketing channels. So, while brand managers inspire trust and assurance in a product or service, marketing managers strive to make sure that the way the consumer is communicated aligns with the brand.
How to hire a Brand Manager
What's the Cost of Hiring a Brand Manager?
Hiring can be a lengthy process but it can also be an expensive one. Before you look to hire for a role make sure you have the budget to cover the necessary costs (e.g. job boards, salary, etc). If you’re interested in reading more about how much it costs to hire a freelance brand strategist, click here.
Where to Find Brand Managers?
To find the right brand manager for your business, consider trying out a few recruiting strategies:
- Post on LinkedIn: It’s likely you’ve built up a strong network of influential marketeers and growth experts since launching your business. Make the most of it by sharing news of the role with your network. It’s likely that they’ll know someone who is a great fit or be interested in applying for the role themself
- Use Passionfruit: Finding the right talent can be difficult so why not reach out to Passionfruit. They’re experts in helping start-ups (like you) find their perfect freelance marketing hire
- Hire From Within: There may already be people in your company who have the required experience for the position. Conduct interviews with potential candidates within the company to see if they’re a fit for the job.
Writing a Brand Manager Job Description
Writing a detailed job spec is key to finding the right candidate for the role. Take time to clearly outline the role (including a detailed list of responsibilities) and the required/ preferred skills for the position.
Remember to make sure it is specific to your brand - don’t just copy a template you’ve found on the internet.
Interviewing Brand Manager Candidates
Make sure to use interviews to identify the right candidate. Don’t be afraid to ask probing questions (similar to the examples below) to ensure candidates have the necessary marketing skills for the role.
- How do you decide when to stop investing in a brand strategy and move on to another idea?
- If you had the opportunity to entirely rebrand our company, how would you start this project?
- How would you pitch a new branding campaign that requires a financial investment to company leadership?
- What marketing metrics do you value most for brand management?
- How would you manage a marketing budget?
Red Flags to Look Out For in a Brand Manager
They Cannot Explain Their ROI
Don’t be afraid to challenge candidates about their experience, it’s important they demonstrate how they achieved success with other brands. Strong candidates will be confident in answering questions about effective campaigns, helping to make it obvious which candidates don’t have the marketing skills necessary to succeed in the role.
No Proven Experience
If a candidate is unable to share examples of successful marketing strategies that they have been responsible for, it’s recommended you don’t move forward with their application. A good brand manager should always be able to demonstrate their success (and failures). In fact, we’re yet to meet a brand manager who doesn’t love talking about their ROI!
They Rely Too Much on their Team
A good brand manager must be a team player but a great brand manager must not be afraid to use their initiative and work on their own. Candidates who are hesitant to take charge or work autonomously, are unlikely to be the right candidate for the role of brand manager.
Hiring a brand manager can have a huge impact on the growth of your business. Not only does it help to drive revenue, increase visibility, build brand trust and attract new consumers - all while maintaining your existing consumer base. Hiring a brand manager can also help your business stay ahead of the trends and the competition. While it might take time to find the right marketing hire, it will most certainly be worth it. And, if you’re still not convinced, give this article on why building a distinctive brand is key for startup growth.
What makes a good brand manager?
A good brand manager must have strong communication, time management and organisational skills in order to build lasting relationships with fellow employees, marketing directors and customers. They must also be an analytical thinker to ensure they make data-driven decisions based on what really matters.
Who does a brand manager work with?
Typically, a brand manager will work closely with a handful of marketing specialists whose role may be to plan, manage or execute the individual marketing and communication activities of the brand. They usually work closely with an assistant brand manager.
Who does a brand manager report to within an organisation
Typically, a brand manager will report into key stakeholders and marketing directors.
Hannah is a Communications & Brand Consultant. She is an experienced PR Specialist with a strong reputation for developing, delivering & managing standout campaigns for consumer brands.