Marketing vs. Brand Managers

most-famous-brand-logos_103312.jpgThe debate continues on the differences between a Marketing and a Brand Manager’s roles and functions.  Today, we will explore this debate, base on their respective core functionalities.

What is Marketing?

Energy Shake
A Product (Commodity) Generic Energy Shake
According to Dr. Kotler, marketing is the science and art of exploring, creating and delivering value to satisfy the  needs of a target market at a profit.  So marketing is basically the ongoing communication exchange with customers in a way that educates, informs and builds a relationship over time.



What is a Brand?

Cafe Blue Coffee
Cafe Blue Coffee – Iconic Coffee Brand.






This is a specific emotion or reference point that is linked to the product or service, which results in a customer journey, when interacting with the product/service.



Marketing Management.

This is guided by the traditional 4Ps, and frames the strategic outlook and tactical execution for marketing managers- below we briefly outline the 4Ps:


The product is either a tangible good or an intangible service.  In the case of the marketing manager – the key is to understand those problems that the product is attempting to solve then, showcase the benefits offered by the product and its features (the Unique Selling Proposition – USP).


The price cover the actual amount the end user is expected to pay for a product. If there is a positive customer value, than a product may be successfully priced higher than its objective monetary value (value pricing). Conversely, if a product has little value in the eyes of the consumer (its a commodity), then it may need to be underpriced to sell. So, the marketing manager is critical to the cross function pricing team, by infusing intelligence on the distribution footprint (channel management), value chain analysis, markups and competitors pricing.


This is the communication (MarCom) aspect of marketing. This may include advertising, sales promotions, special offers and public relations. The marketing manager identifies the most effective communication channel, given the specific product, the price and the targeted end users.


Place or placement strategy has to do with how the product will ‘reach’ the end user. Distribution is a key element for the placement strategy – the focus is on RTM (Route To Market) – How a product is accessed by the end user also needs to complement the rest of the product strategy.

So, the main function of a marketing manager is to increase the efficiency of the RTM  programme for the product. This is critical and supports the expansion of the product’s distribution footprint, trade marketing programmes and financial sustainability of the product.

Brand Management

2017-06-09 18.25.12
Brand Development – Colour

The core function of brand management is to develop the Brand Purpose, and drive the Brand Promise of the product, by establishing the Brand Difference, while continually Delivering on the Promise over the product’s life cycle.  To achieve this the Brand Manager has to conceptualize and design the product’s voice, personality, and identity that would connect with the target end users.  Note that not all products will have a brand – If you decide to build a brand then, the Brand Manager will focus on the following elements for the product – called the 4Cs of Branding:


For brand managers, the strategic focus is to develop a ‘Brand Purpose‘ – What The Brand Stands for?.  It is essential that the purpose is simple and the marketing team is able to stick with it and communicate that effectively to the end users.


This is the ‘Brand Promise, the brand manager will have to be able to understand the functionality or the solution the product provides to the end-user.  Additionally,  the manager should integrate those functionalities into a specific personality trait – that connects with the end users.


Another aspect of brand management is to develop credibility.  Once you have committed to a ‘Brand Promise’ – If the product isn’t able to deliver on that promise or EXPECTATION – then it has failed the consumer’s ‘Job-to-be-done (JTBD)‘ test.   So brand managers will need to ensure the product will be able to ‘Deliver on the Promise‘ – and establish the product’s ‘right to play’ in the space.


This function is considered the most important for a brand manager.  The main task is to solidify ‘Brand Difference in the marketplace and all channels to allow for value pricing.  This typically goes beyond the functionality of the product, by establishing the brand as a lifestyle brand.  This is achieved via experiential marketing programmes.

So, Brand Managers should unleash the creativity of the product based on its functional attributes.  The Manager should manage the 4C’s towards unearthing the product’s full potential and life time connection with the end users- to drive brand relevance, awareness and presences – towards #BuildingBillionBrands  #OneBrandStrategy

Global Brands
USA Brands

So, the fundamental difference between a marketing team and brand team is that the marketing team operationalizes the tactical plan, after the brand team has conceptualized, and designed the personality for the brand.  This is all guided by the strategic outlook by the corporate and the leadership team (internal or external) to the organization. Additionally, the brand team is responsible for establishing, driving and solidifying the intrinsic ‘Value Pricing‘  and “Generate Demand” for the product – to support the marketing operational and tactical programmes. While the marketing team focuses on ‘Demand Fulfillment‘ and ‘Go to Market Strategies‘ for the product. 

3 thoughts on “Marketing vs. Brand Managers

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