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What is Branding? Why is it so Sought After?

In the wide category of Managers, there comes a sub-type called the Brand Managers. These Managers are a tad more diverse than the most common type, as they combine various disciplines into one mixing bowl, and let all their skill diversity work towards achieving one common goal- creating an appealing Brand Image.

What is really building a Brand Image? Branding or Brand Management is working on the components of products presentation in the market. A product, as a plain available commodity, needs a stage to be polished and presented into the market to attract customers. Therefore, morphing a Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) for consumption, and differentiating it from all other similar products available in the market to construct an ‘image’ or a ‘concept’ for the product that the customers can relate to – this is the rage a Brand Manager catches! Hence, a Brand Manager is a metaphorical architect who designs, trims, and glazes at the emotional appeal of the brand. He builds the circles of customer loyalty towards the brand, and recognizes and strategizes the targets the way in which this image can be perpetuated in the minds of target customers.

This field requires a combination of concise planning and expansive creativity. A Brand manager plays with big ideas and plans and analyzes the local and the global market to uphold a desired brand image. Here, everything starting from product aesthetics, price and packaging to the central target audience and the customer experience- all fall under the single banner of a Brand Management.

Qualification Needed for a Career in Branding
This profession values industry knowledge, marketing qualification, and, most importantly, creativity. Usually, an ideal recipe would be a respectable work experience after graduation in ones’ field, and an MBA or an equivalent degree that provided the invaluable knowledge of Business and Marketing along with a specialization in areas like Consumerism, Brand Management, Market, and Strategy. These credentials usually give candidates an upper hand in understanding the product altar and a holistic view of the product. A prior experience in understanding post-production life of the product definitely helps the debuting Brand Managers to succeed. Professionals with an experience in Sales, Marketing teams, Publicity and Communication find an easier entry into this line of profession.

Skills Needed for a Career in Branding
Brand Management is an amalgamation of an interesting set of skills, mixed together to achieve the motive of Brand promotion. Therefore, to find out prompt ways to set your product to shine out of the gamut of similar products available requires strategic thinking. Next will be Communication and Presentation skills, which are an asset in any profession, and are mandatory set of skills in Branding because a Brand Manager will be constantly drafting reports, proposals, and recommendations. Analytical abilities to interpret and decode present market wave and to understand the future of the product, good delivery skills to eloquently put your ideas forth to the client, creativity to understand the aesthesis involved with the products like advertising and packaging and, of course, a genuine interest in product-consumer relation – all are crucial skills for a Brand Manager
Although all the above skills are the core skills required to succeed in the career like Branding, Leadership and managerial skills often prove to be a very beneficial possession in this profession. Further, since this career deals with consumer demands, ability to understand consumerism and proactively act in this accordance is imperative.

Hierarchy in Branding Career Path
Joining Branding right after your MBA, one can expect to join a firm as a Marketing Analyst or an Assistant Brand Manager. After one has successfully conquered this milestone, the path from here depends entirely on one’s ability to strategically show alignment to this field, which is not easy because of the hefty competition. After taking a few years, if one has successfully proven one’s proficient angle to execute Branding plans, it depicts the vivid skills one has acquired and it’s time for the ascent! As an Assistant Brand Manager, you will be juggling between various cross-functional teams to execute all the brand related PR, Advertising and Marketing, Product Aesthetics and sales related duties. Be ready to be the communicator, facilitator, thread and the glue between all of these teams to keep the kite flying.

After you have passed these introductory Branding philosophy lessons, next in line comes the post of Brand Manager. Here, one would typically be an in-charge of an entire Brand portfolio. Thus, there will be less juggling between the cross-functional team and more of pitching ideas and concepts for your brand. Additionally, one would also be leading teams and assessing the work of Marketing teams and Assistant Managers. With an experience of a few good years under one’s belt, one can now head to the position of a Marketing Director/ Business Principal/Partner. One will now be overseeing an entire Business Unit, where one is the captain of overall ‘concept’ and ‘philosophy’ placed forward by Brand and Assistant Brand Managers. The salary packages of a Marketing Director are generally generous, validating the number of increased responsibilities. One is now a director of the entire business motive, handling the resource inflow towards a brand, and the finances- profit and loss.

Pros of a Career in Branding
As stated, Branding is a very diverse kind of a professional orientation, mainly because of the variety it infuses in the job profile. Similarly, even though this is a 9-to-5 job, it still has excitement of working with the ‘new’, involves creative aspects, and might also involve occasional travelling. Because of the creative angle, many Brand Management companies allow a certain amount of flexibility and the convenience to work from home. If one catches the opportunity to work with an international brand, they may have to travel overseas occasionally. The pay is quite good, if one is working with a respectable firm, with a respectable career growth.

Cons of a Career in Branding
There is very high competition to sustain in this field, since after attaining considerable experience, it takes extra ambitiousness to work one’s way upwards. After assuming position as a Brand Manager, the pressure to compile and organize each team into one functioning unit and work towards the greater goal of promoting a Brand can be challenging.

Who is a Career in Branding good for?
Are you a buttoned-up project manager, who can keep on schedule and budget and organize meetings, interviews, present to clients, ask for money, write proposals, and inform creative teams? Or are you a great “people person” who can interpret brand values into human actions? Or are you a phenomenal designer with a portfolio of brilliant logos?

Answers to these questions matter when it comes to deciding on Brand Management as a career. Apart from all the analysis, planning, coming up with creative ideas and keeping tabs on the marketing front, a Brand Manager also has to take care of and maintain the practical approach towards the Brand. If one is comfortable with crafting big ideas, one might fit well in a career like this.

Best Companies for a Career in Branding

1. Amazon
2. Coca-Cola
3. Apple
4. The Walt Disney Company
5. Honda
6. Costco
7. Samsung
8. Whole Foods
9. Microsoft
10. Sony