Although it may be hard to live, breathe and dream of barbecue sauce, a brand manager must have -- or develop -- a love for the product they are working on, or at least be fascinated by the marketing process. You may personally hate the taste of barbecue sauce, but if you are intrigued with when people use it, how they use it, and what memories are created when they use it, then you do have the required consumer passion. Ultimately, it is this drive toward consumer understanding and how to reach consumers that will make you a great marketer.
Marketers must be able to create an environment that encourages risk-taking and innovation. A brand manager must be able to develop a strategic direction and then champion it and communicate it across all cross-functional departments. You must be able to align people behind a common goal and achieve results.
You must embrace the philosophy that "no brainstorm is a bad brainstorm." In making products stand out in a crowded field, a brand manager must creatively and effectively develop ideas. You must be able to "walk on the wild side" and develop your sense of humor. Who would have ever thought that the L'eggs Egg would have been such a success? Or that the Trix Rabbit would be an icon for children for generations to come? If you aren't creative or you don't feel comfortable surrounded by creativity, then marketing is not right for you.
A brand manager must have excellent oral and written talents. Brand managers constantly lead team meetings and write project proposals that will be reviewed by senior management. Clear, analytical, and persuasive writing and presentation skills are vital.
Teamwork is the most essential skill in marketing. All work is done in teams so it is imperative that you create and participate in an environment that fosters and rewards teamwork. A more senior manager will also be asked to manage people underneath you and representatives from other departments. It is crucial that you learn how to train, mentor, and motivate these people.
A brand manager must strive to reach business objectives. In order to accomplish these goals, a brand manager must be able to assess ways to track her business and understand how to grow market share and volume.
The marketing environment is always changing. A typical brand manager is only assigned to any given brand for 12 to 18 months. On Monday you could be ridding the world of mildew stains and then on Tuesday be thrust into the world of insect repellants. Each assignment has distinct business issues and team players. Therefore, it is important to be able to adapt quickly and have a "take charge" attitude.
If you don't like to "rock the boat" once in a while, then marketing may not be the right career choice. Every day new products are introduced in strategic ways that force established brands to "reinvent" themselves, or at least rethink their marketing programs. A brand manager must be able to look at business situations from a variety of perspectives and take acceptable risks. You must feel comfortable making smart business decisions when not all the data is available and when using your intuition is crucial.
Marketing managers must not be swayed by personal biases. For instance, you might adore a particular ad campaign but the consumers in your focus groups hate it. A good brand manager must put her own preferences aside, because attracting consumers is key.
Not everyone is cut out for life in marketing and brand management. Succeeding in the field requires a very specific set of personality traits. See how well you match up.