How to be an effective brand manager

You’ve landed a new job as brand manager for that small start-up business you’ve been stalking on Instagram and now you are ready to elevate the brand to industry domination. You have survived the morning of onboarding meetings; your laptop is open and the clock has struck Start O’clock. There’s just one more hurdle: how does a brand manager do it all?

We have a bag of tips and tricks to share with you on how to be a Brand Manager and thrive whilst juggling all those different hats you’re expected to wear. If you’ve been a brand manager you’ll nod your head in agreement when we say the first few weeks on the job is like flopping headfirst into a pool of murky water without goggles, swimming in all directions to find the best and fastest way around the pool.

So, what is a brand manager?

A brand manager leads, co-ordinates and manages all aspects of the brand of a company to build a community and grow brand awareness. She/ he is also the person responsible for most of the tasks related to (drumroll, please):

  • branding
  • advertising
  • PR
  • marketing
  • social media management
  • content creation
  • graphic design

Yes, that is a long list and it grows with each passing week.

The role can become quite demanding as it evolves. It’s like being a marketing intern and creative director at once, so time management and organisational skills are essential, as are creativity and a strategic mindset.

As demanding as it may seem, the role of a brand manager is incredibly rewarding as you watch a brand grow and mature with every piece of content planned, posted and reported on.


How to be a brand manager


Be clear on your intentions and goals

Understand what the brand would like to achieve and which marketing touch points are best aligned with your brand. The easiest place to start is to put together a ‘brand bible’. A brand bible or brand guide is a document that outlines the following important aspects of the brand:

  1. Manifesto – the reason for being and the brand’s mission, vision and values
  2. Logos – primary logo, variations and how/where to use them (the dos and don’ts)
  3. Brand typography and how/where to use each font
  4. Brand colours – primary brand colours and supporting colour palettes
  5. Brand tone of voice (tone, voice and writing style) – the brand as a personality
  6. Brand words and phrases, and brand-related hashtags
  7. Image styles and use
  8. Social media guides – guidelines for making graphics, taking and editing photos, IG grid aesthetic and posting structures (e.g. post a quote every 6th post)
  9. Contact page with contact details and social media account information

Your brand bible can be shared with everyone in the team and potentially with agencies that you work with so that everyone knows exactly how to communicate with clients and customers. The intention of the brand bible is to keep the brand image, tone and voice consistent throughout all communications with the outside world. (Read more about why you need one in Jo’s blog post on the topic)

Set up social media accounts and management tools

If the business doesn’t already have social media accounts set up, go ahead and sign the business up on social media platforms you think are relevant. Not all social media platforms work for every businesses, so do some research into your industry and determine which platforms competitors are on.

To make your life as a brand manager easier, sign up to content management and social media management tools. You already have a lot on your plate and manually posting social media posts is time consuming. We would recommend Hootsuite and Planoly. Automate everything you can so you can get back to the fun tasks like strategising and creating content.

Streamline your work

Create a content strategy, a content calendar and campaign-related spreadsheets to help you keep track of your work.

Create a content strategy to plan how much content needs to be posted every week and each month, whether the content is social media posts, blog posts or a monthly newsletter. Determine how many times you will post a week or month, as well as when you will post, and stick to it. Consistency is key to building brand awareness.

Content calendars are monthly calendars populated with important holidays, calendar dates, events and brand launches that you can use to inspire content creation. Fill in the rest of the days with promotions and information about your product or service.

It’s pointless having a plan of which content will go up when, if you don’t know how to create that content. Content is King and it is not difficult to be the king of the castle if you’re smart about it. Make sure you brush up on your design skills in case there isn’t budget for a professional graphic designer. Try Adobe Spark, a free tool offered by Adobe which is the perfect tool to create quick, branded graphics. Canva is also a must-have for all things branding and content.

Lists and spreadsheets are your friend – keep them up to date! These could be lists of potential influencers to collaborate with or media contacts you can connect with for PR coverage. It might be useful to keep tabs on collaboration data too, like how many followers you had before and after each collaboration or giveaway with another brand or influencer. Another important list might to a social media follower count which can be updated at the start of each month. These will help you with reporting when you need proof on how impactful your marketing budget has been and you need to show off your efforts.

Keep calm and carry on

It may seem like there is a lot of work to take on as a brand manager, and there is. However, there are many useful tools, apps and articles out there to help you. Once you get the momentum going and have grown the business to a level where you feel you can outsource some of your role to an agency, give us a call and we can help you navigate the next step of your journey.

Once you’ve taken the plunge into the pool of murky water and found your bearings, the water will clear. You will soon be gliding your way around in freestyle, eyes closed and smiling. All you’ve got to do is start.

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