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Marketing and Brand Management: Graduate Area of Work
Consumers relate to products through brands and the values they are associated with conveyed via marketing strategies.
Brand management is an ever-expanding area within the marketing function, especially within the consumer goods sector. This area of work appeals to many marketing graduates because consumer goods companies are often viewed as “marketing-led” with their generous marketing budgets, resources and expertise.
If you are looking for a graduate career in marketing and brand management in the consumer goods industry, you’ll need to have a good understanding of who your customers are and how to best communicate with them. Typically, before a career in branding management, you’ll start as a commercial graduate trainee where your role may have some overlap with the job scope of your colleagues in sales.
A career in brand management can appear to be glamorous, but it comes with a lot of hard work and pressure because of the brand name at stake. However, to succeed in the task of effectively communicating the value proposition of the product is something that is immensely rewarding for brand managers and marketers.
A graduate looking to enter this area of work typically starts off as a commercial graduate trainee where they are expected to move between sales and marketing, before progressing to become brand managers.
In the early stages of your graduate career in consumer goods marketing, you may expect to find yourself tasked with responsibilities, such as organising product launches, liaising with external agencies over brand communications and exploring marketing opportunities by working alongside colleagues in sales, market research, or technical development.
As you rise up the ranks and earn an offer to become brand manager, your duties as brand management will expand to generating names and ideas for new and existing products and services, developing and implementing marketing strategies for effective communication to the masses, and monitoring distribution of products and consumer reactions through market research.
If you are looking to advance your career beyond the role of a brand manager, you may progress to become a global brand market manager or marketing director for a particular country. The opportunity of course does not present itself for everyone. It would require years of experience and has to be earned through merit and hard work.
Recruiters in the consumer goods industry, especially the major players of the industry, prefer to hire candidates who have completed a graduate scheme. Leading employers in the consumer goods sectors often run a marketing scheme as part of their internship and graduate programmes. It is in your best interest to seek an internship while you’re still a university student as that will help you get a head start when you apply for graduate programmes.
Graduates from any degree discipline can enter a marketing graduate scheme, but recruiters do look for specific skills that are necessary to succeed in this area of work. You’ll have to demonstrate that you’re both creative and analytical. Good commercial awareness and negotiating skills are also necessary for you to go far in this career path.
The ability to think strategically and on your feet, communicate well with people across levels and be a team player are qualities highly sought after by employers of this sector.
Ups and Downs
Most FMCG brands, especially the major ones, compete in a very well-developed and in elastic markets. Due to this, most marketing activities can tend to defend market share and maintain the brand image. This would usually mean that marketing strategies can in fact be bureaucratic and process-driven rather than being innovative and exciting.
However, the FMCG sector offers genuine exposure to all areas of the marketing job, making the sector an excellent platform to develop your marketing career. It is also important to remember that the only differentiation consumers make between your products from other products is down to the quality of the marketing and brand message. So, to be able to play a key role in that, is something marketers in this sector take pride in.