Brand Man

Academic Focus: City University London
June 6, 2010
The LAB: Innovating the Lego with S.I.T. (June 2010)
June 21, 2010

The role of brand manager may be the most difficult yet rewarding of all marketing jobs. It defines much of what marketing is about. The brand manager is multifaceted and works at several levels in a company. Duties are varied and challenging. Brand managers see the product being created and manage through all of the product's journey. Brand manager is the most important person to have around when a new product is being created or even when an old product needs to be re-launched. How has the role changed over the years, and what is the role's impact on new product or service innovation? Here is the first job description for a brand manager. It's from an internal memo dated May 13, 1931 that I got it from Ed Rider, head archivist at P&G's Heritage Center, a corporate museum that documents the history of the company and its brands. It is titled, "Brand Man:"

The role of brand manager may be the most difficult yet rewarding of all marketing jobs.  It defines much of what marketing is about.  The brand manager is multifaceted and works at several levels in a company. Duties are varied and challenging. Brand managers see the product being created and manage through all of the product’s journey. Brand manager is the most important person to have around when a new product is being created or even when an old product needs to be re-launched.

How has the role changed over the years, and what is the role’s impact on new product or service innovation?  Here is the first job description for a brand manager.  It’s from an internal memo dated May 13, 1931 that I got it from Ed Rider, head archivist at P&G’s Heritage Center, a corporate museum that documents the history of the company and its brands.

It is titled, “Brand Man:”

  1. Study carefully shipments of his brands by units.
  2. Where brand development is heavy and where it is progressing, examine carefully the combination of effort that seems to be clicking and try to apply this same treatment to other territories that are comparable.
  3. Where brand development is light:
    • Study the past advertising and promotional history of the brand; study the territory personally at first hand – both dealers and consumers – in order to find out the trouble.
    • After uncovering our weakness, develop a plan that can be applied to this local sore spot. It is necessary, of course, not simply to work out the plan but also to be sure that the amount of money proposed can be expected to produce results at a reasonable cost per case.
    • Outline this plan in detail to the Division Manager under whose jurisdiction the weak territory is, obtain his authority and support for the corrective action.
    • Prepare sales helps and all other necessary material for carrying out the plan. Pass it on to the districts. Work with the salesmen while they are getting started. Follow through to the very finish to be sure that there is no let-down in sales operation of the plan.
    • Keep whatever records are necessary. and make whatever field studies are necessary to determine whether the plan has produced the expected results.
  4. Take full responsibility, not simply for criticizing individual pieces of printed word copy, but also for the general printed word plans for his brands.
  5. Take full responsibility for all other advertising expenditure -Field, D.C.A etc. – on his brands.
  6. Experiment with and recommend wrapper revisions.
  7. See each District Manager a number of times a year to discuss with him any possible faults in our promotion plans for that territory.
“In short, when the brand men have approached their fullest
responsibilities, they should be able to take from the shoulders of the
Division Managers and of the District Managers a very heavy share of
individual brand responsibility. This would leave the sales heads in a
much freer position to administer the sales policies of the Company and
apply general volume pressure without having to give such a large
proportion of their time to thought on how to bring up volume on a
certain brand in a certain part of the territories.”
Now here is a current job description, almost 80 years later:
  1. To begin with, they need to work extensively with the research and development department of the company, and with their help, formulate the best possible way to market the product.
  2. They need to supply the engineers (who are working on developing the product) with the results of the market research and on the basis of which the product will be based.
  3. They also check if the engineers are following the decided path and suggest changes for improvement.
  4. They need to be fully aware of the product at hand. What is the product capable of doing and what will be some of the improvements that might take place in the future.
  5. Once the product is ready, he must gather a core group for testing. The results from these tests will help him to determine whether the product has been able to achieve the desired result or not.
  6. After the product has passed this test, he will have to think of the marketing strategies for the same. What will be the audience, the target group at which the product will be directed etc.
  7. The packaging of the product – the best way in which the audience will be able to connect to the product and how the packaging will be able to convey what the product is all about.
  8. The pricing of the product is also an important factor that will need the drawing up of several strategies. The brand manager will work with several other departments to determine this aspect.
  9. Then he will undertake the extensive planning of the techniques and methods by which the product will be launched in the market.
  10. The advertising strategies that will be used. What modes of mass media will be utilized to ensure the success of the product.
  11. The methods of promotion that will be used will also need to be determined by him.
  12. All this will be dependent upon the budget that has been allocated. He has to also make sure that all these techniques employed like the promotions, marketing, advertising costs , all of them fall under the allotted budget and no more.
  13. After the product has been launched, he has to monitor the sales.
  14. Depending on the sales, he needs to change strategies or techniques in marketing, advertising or promotions to lead to maximum success. Read more on marketing strategies.
  15. He has to plan for the future about the course of the product – what will be the future strategies etc. so that continued success is guaranteed.
  16. Bringing about changes in the product from time to time so that it includes whatever the audience wants and is thereby accepted more openly by the audience.

Notice three things: 1. how similar the job descriptions are across time 2. how broad and more detailed the role has become, and
3. how the role relates to new product development and innovation.

Brand Man = Innovation Man.