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A Day in the Life: Assistant Brand Manager

by Jen Goodman

Interested in brand management? Take a look at a typical day in the life of an assistant brand management... and get ready for a lot of meetings.

8:30 Get into work. Listen to voice mails. Check e-mails. Print out calendar of today's events. Skim the Markets section of the Wall Street Journal to find out what's happening "on the street." Go to the cafeteria and grab breakfast. (Of course, you're only eating products that your company produces or has some relationship with!)

9:00 Meet with market research department to discuss specifics of your latest round of quantitative research. You are trying to understand why people are not repurchasing your product, but you don't feel that the data presented actually answers your questions. You decide that you'll need to design another round of research--but where's the money going to come from?

10:00 Budget meeting to determine how you will be spending 2nd quarter funds. Given the decision to spend more money on research, you might need to cancel an instant redeemable coupon or a local promotion in a poorly performing market.

10:30 You head to the long-awaited product development meeting. Your team has recently discussed reformulating your product to take advantage of new technology. This new technology may raise your product's performance levels, but it will cost more to manufacture and will take some advertising effort (and more money) to explain the changes to the consumer. The group must decide whether these changes are strategically and financially justified. As always, very few people agree. You decide to summarize all the costs and benefits to the project and present the issues to your brand manager at the status meeting you have scheduled for the end of the day.

12:00 A fancy lunch with a People magazine salesperson. For months the magazine has tried to convince you that your product should be advertised in People. During lunch the represenative explains to you how the publication can effectively reach x percent of your target audience and how it can provide you with the extended reach you need to communicate with potential new users. You leave lunch with a fancy People backpack and a headache. Where can I find the money to add People to my media plan? Let's ask the media department?

1:30 Media planning meeting. Because sales of your product have come in slightly under budget, you have been forced to give up 10 percent of your media budget. You now must meet with the media department to determine how to cut media funds without sacrificing your goals (to reach 20 percent of your target group, and to have a continuous presence on TV etc?..) Maybe you can cut out two weeks of TV in July when not many people are home anyway?.but is that your product's peak purchase cycle? Decisions, decisions?

2:30 Time to review changes to the latest advertising campaign. Your ad agency presented a new concept about three weeks ago that was a diamond in the rough. You and your brand manager made comments to the storyboard (drawing/copy that explains a commercial) and now you are anxious to see what the agency comes back with. You review the changes with the agency via conference call and promise to present the new work to your brand manager at your status meeting later in the day.

3:15 Keep the ad agency on the phone and bring in the in-house promotions department. This ad campaign will be blown out into a promotional campaign in the top 20 performing markets in the country. You want to make sure that before you get the promotions people working on a concept, they agree with the agency on the strategy going forward?the following 45 minutes is a creative brainstorming session that offers wonderful possibilities. You promise to type all ideas up and distribute them to the group later in the week?

4:00 Strategy development with sales manager. Your category manager is insisting that all brands work to gain a better presence in supermarkets. You meet with the regional sales manager to understand what types of strategies might work to get better shelf space and more consistent in-store promotions. Once you hear his/her ideas, you start to cost out options and see if this is possible within the current budget.

5:00 Status meeting with Brand Manager. You present the proposal for new research as well as the implications of the new product development issue. You also review the latest advertising changes and the changes to the media plan. You aggressively present your data and your opinion and discuss these with your boss. The two of you decide on next steps.

6:00 Back in the office you wrap up for the day. You spend an hour checking the 20+ email/voice mail messages you received during the day but failed to return. You go through your "in" box to read any documents relevant to your product. You start to attack all of the work you have to do and promise that tomorrow you'll block out some private time to make some progress.