In the gaming industry the brand manager (also called product manager) is the point person for every facet of the marketing plan for a single title or a franchise, like Modern Warfare or Madden. It’s an ambiguous title, but comes with a plethora of responsibilities. This individual is a game-lover at heart, but a business-minded shark. He or she works with a cross-functional team to package and market their brand, while keeping an eye on the competition and trend climate.
Brand managers can work within marketing firms that are hired on a contractual basis to develop marketing plans for consumer-packaged goods, or for a large game studio. In the gaming industry, most large developers/publishers, like EA and Ubisoft, employ in-house personnel whose mission it is to create and implement a strategic marketing campaign for one game or particular segment of their roster. But that only scratches the surface of a brand manager’s responsibilities.
In the development of a new game, the brand manager will collaborate across many departments to conduct market research, competitive analysis, and complete product forecasting. Next, this individual will implement strategies for advertising and packaging, manage public relations, and plan launch events. Functions such as designing TV, print, and web media, merchandising, and commissioning promotional products all fall within the scope of a brand manager’s job. Even after the game has been on the shelf for months, it is the duty of a brand manager to continue to seek cross-marketing opportunities with partners and continue to analyze market response to advertising.
Skills & Education
A degree in marketing, advertising, entertainment business, or a related field is required for a successful career in brand management, as you will be ultimately responsible for the full breadth of each marketing strategy you implement. An MBA or related graduate degree is generally preferred. The brand manager supervises the functions of numerous areas, from PR to budgeting and consumer targeting, so he or she needs a varied portfolio of knowledge. A background in finance and/or accounting is beneficial, along with a rock-solid grasp of statistical analysis. Along with those robust analytical skills, you must also be an imaginative and crafty strategist. Excellent written and verbal communication is a must; the ability to lead a team is crucial.
What to Expect
You have to be well-versed in the gaming industry; the first rule of marketing—like sales—is to know your product. Advancement as a brand manager does not favor the meek. To succeed, you must be a motivated self-starter who is comfortable managing a heavy load of responsibilities with minimal supervision. You need to be able to think strategically and execute methodically. It may seem that you have to have a split personality, but if you can be both a tenacious businessperson and creative innovator, then you may fit nicely in a position as a brand manager.
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