The Inside Scoop: What it’s like to be a brand manager
Sometimes a job description isn’t enough. It can’t tell you what a job is really like, what an average day could be, the workload, the education you need or the salary.
Lauren Capron is a brand manager at Johnson & Johnson and she shares her experiences on working in her field in her own words.
What do you do?
I’m a Brand Manager at Johnson & Johnson. Currently, I work on the CLEAN & CLEAR® face wash brand.
As a brand manager, you develop a vision to grow your brand and then work with internal cross-functional partners and creative agency partners to bring it to life. Your job is to make sure that all marketing activity is focused on executing your strategy and ensuring that everything a consumer sees is aligned to what the brand stands for. I’ve heard people say that in a lot of ways being a brand manager is like being the CEO of your brand.
What is an average day?
Honestly, there really is no average day. Every day there are new challenges to solve and I really enjoy that the work varies a lot. Some of the projects I might work on in a given day include:
- Creating a business case to determine whether it makes sense to launch new product innovation
- Attending consumer focus groups to uncover new insights
- Writing a creative brief for our agency partners to use as they develop a new TV or digital activation
- Organizing a brainstorm session with our regulatory partners to come up with a new claim
- Working with our sales and supply planning partners to forecast how much volume we are going to ship to key customers over the next few months
- Crafting feedback for our agency partners on our monthly social media content calendar, TV spot, or paid media search strategy
- Analyzing our latest sales data to see whether our strategies are helping us drive growth and gain market share versus our competition
How stressful is it?
It’s no surprise that life in the fast-paced consumer goods industry moves quickly, but that’s what keeps it interesting. It’s all about agility, speed to market, and problem solving. Some days can definitely be stressful, especially if you’re asked to deliver something last minute or during crunch time leading up to a big presentation. However, day-to-day, I personally don’t find it to be very stressful. When problems arise, we take a very collaborative approach to finding the best solution, so you’re never in it alone.
Is it good for intro- or extroverts?
Based on my experience, it’s more common for people to be extroverts but it’s not black and white – I’ve seen both introverts and extroverts thrive. With that said, you do spend a lot of time working in a team setting and you need to have strong communication skills to keep the team excited about the vision and possibilities for the brand’s future.
Are the hours long?
During busy times, days can be longer but on average I’d say I work from 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Given that there is so much variety, I find that the days go by quickly and I never feel like I’m watching the clock.
What’s the pay like?
The pay is very reasonable. Most companies provide you with a base salary along with a bonus target so that you are motivated to deliver your financial targets and drive as much growth as possible. I like being rewarded for a job well done, so I appreciate this aspect of the compensation structure.
According to Payscale, the average salary for Brand Managers in Canada is $65,758.
What education do you need?
The minimum requirement is a Bachelor’s degree. Most often we hire people who have completed an undergraduate business degree or have an MBA.
What job experience do you need?
There is no specific type of job experience required for an entry-level brand management position. However, it definitely helps to have a relevant summer internship experience and extracurricular activities from university on your resume to draw from. Realistically, the key is to have experiences that helped you gain skills that will be transferable and relevant to a role in brand management. Some of the most important skills required include leadership, collaboration, strategic thinking, analytics, problem-solving, and – most importantly – a fierce passion to create the best possible experience for your end consumer.