What is the Difference Between a Brand Marketing Manager and a Product Manager?

Marketing ManagerSometimes consumers become so familiar with a brand that it becomes the symbol of a product, and that is when the difference between a brand marketing manager and a product manager matters most. Branding takes place when a product assumes its own personality. People often say “Kleenex” when they mean facial tissue or “Google it” when they mean to look something up on line. Marketing branded products is a little different than marketing products in general.

What is a Brand Marketing Manager?

Once a product reaches the stage of being a recognized brand, it often eclipses even the manufacturer’s name. According to the Tronvig Group, marketing “contributes to a brand, but the brand is bigger than any marketing effort.” Brand goes beyond marketing to the relationship with the consumer. Brand marketing managers are involved with retailers and consumers to establish and maintain the trust that a brand implies. They form relationships with vendors that ensure their product will be featured at the front of displays, in ads and in prominence above other similar products. They work to maintain the integrity of the brand; the manufacturers of Kleenex, for instance, feature ads that have an emotional punch, because their product has been branded as the trusted comforter. They came up with a popular marketing ploy that encouraged consumers to send a small package to someone they love. Brand managers do not have to sell the merits of their brand because it has already been accepted by the consumer. He works to maintain and strengthen that perception. The manufacturer may even have other products in the same line, but the brand manager is concerned only with his.

What is a Product Manager?

Similar, but somewhat different, is the job of the product manager. While the brand marketing manager concerns himself with only the brand, product managers work with products as a whole. Besides Kleenex, Kimberly-Clark also manufactures paper towels, diapers and wipes, among other products that are not as highly branded. The product manager works to promote and market these. He interacts with other departments like production and product testing. The product manager may even work with suppliers in B2B relationships. His job is to use marketing strategies and skills to promote the assets of these unbranded or even new products.

Do the Positions Ever Overlap?

The Difference between a brand marketing manager and a product manager comes down to focus. They do many of the same things, but for different products. Both must be concerned with sales statistics and marketing trends. Both have backgrounds in marketing and advertising. In fact, sometimes the terms are used interchangeably. Branding managers, however, are more concerned about the image or the reputation of the product, and even the manufacturer, than they are about the product itself. Both managers, however, must understand consumer behavior and use marketing skills to achieve their goals.

Related Resource: Become a Director of Marketing

Corporations must brand products for optimum success. That is the goal of marketing, because branded products “sell themselves.” Bringing a product to that point, showcasing the quality of the product, its value, its “coolness” or its ability to meet consumer real and perceived needs is the job of the product manager. Once the consumer accepts the product and “bonds” with it, it is the job of the brand marketing manager to maintain that relationship. That is the foundational difference between a brand marketing manager and a product manager.