To the unpracticed eye, the terms “brand manager,” “marketing manager,” and “product manager” may seem similar enough to be completely interchangeable. But in the machine that is marketing and product development, each are important and distinctive cogs that are vital to the success of a company and its products. Understanding the unique differences between each role can help you see just how mutually important they are–and how they lean on one another for success.
The brand manager oversees a role that is highly strategic in nature. By cultivating the message that a company wants to send to consumers, brand managers can be considered advocates for organizations. It’s nearly impossible to inspire purchases from a brand that makes consumers feel uncomfortable, so brand managers are charged with creating a feeling of trust and assuring consumers that the organizations’ values align with their own. They can get significant feedback through social listening. Brand managers are also tasked with rebranding, should that strategy arise.
If brand managers are strategic in nature, marketing managers are those that are more tactical. As the brand managers inspire trust and cultivate messaging, marketing managers are responsible for ensuring that consumer communication aligns with the brand’s M.O. Marketing managers activate consumers to what to buy, teaching them the who, why, what, and when of a product so that it feels nearly indispensable.
Before a marketing manager can tell consumers all about the who, what, why, and when of a product, it’s up to the product manager to develop the answers to those deceptively simple questions. From concept to market, product managers learn what customers want and then create products that directly answer those desires to improve chances of success. Product managers oversee the product through development to marketing, aligning product characteristics to match brand ideals. They will also report directly to chief marketing officers.
They may sound similar, but brand managers, marketing managers, and product managers offer distinct benefits for organizations looking to increase market success. Whether it’s the packaging style or the way you feel when you watch a commercial, each experience has been carefully crafted by each unique professional.