Being a brand director for a company or institution can seem like a dream job. You get to use your creativity, mount interesting marketing strategies and viral campaigns and see your ideas have an effect on your target audience.
But a brand director—sometimes called a brand manager, art director or creative director—has to juggle a lot of responsibilities to succeed both in technical design and business leadership. If you’re up for the challenge, pursuing a career as a brand director can provide work that is satisfying, creative and well-compensated.
The job opportunities are on the rise for brand directors. In the past decade, digital marketing has shifted from a specialized area into a mainstream domain of the marketing field. More than two billion people worldwide use social media; the digital marketing landscape is enormous. Companies are in search of those with the right skills to help them excel in this competitive landscape.
What does a brand director do?
A brand director has the responsibility of guiding the creative direction of a company or institution’s marketing efforts. The brand director’s primary responsibility is to create and manage the company’s brand to maintain cultivate greater brand awareness.
Branding is the practice of creating a visual and conceptual identity that will express a company’s or product’s sensibility. Corporate brand strategy in particular often prioritizes raising brand awareness. The goal is to make a brand immediately identifiable and expressive of specific values or feelings. A brand comprises a variety of elements, including logo, typography, color, imagery, illustration, style and messaging. Branding must be based on ideas that transcend the composite elements so that a brand can evolve and grow with the company.
In addition to managing the branding, a brand director is an important advocate for creativity as a driver of business success. Brand creatives can bring an important marketing-oriented perspective to business, especially data-driven tech businesses that are prominent in the marketplace today. Creative directors can be “translators” to bridge the creative and technical worlds within a business.
What are the responsibilities of a brand director?
A brand director or director of brand strategy usually has a variety of roles within a company, from consulting with the creative team on details of visual expression to liaising with the C-Suite on messaging and brand vision.
Importantly, a brand director will help design a brand identity based on the institution’s values and ideals, then direct the creation of all aspects of brand identity, such as logos, graphic standards, digital representations, product packaging, signage, advertisements, events and other marketing resources. Those in this role may be doing the design work themselves, but it’s more likely that they’re setting a vision and giving direction to a team of creatives. This requires working at higher levels within the organization to ensure that brand strategy and execution matches leadership priorities.
“I wear a number of hats,” says Kieron McCann, director of marketing and strategy at Cognifide, a marketing technology consultancy. He works with the marketing team to design and execute social media outreach, public relations, events, digital marketing and marketing campaigns. He consults with the leadership team to strategize about messaging and refine the brand’s identity. He also helps develop messaging and value propositions for products and services, ensuring that positioning aligns with the core brand.
What skills and traits should a brand director have?
A good brand director will have not only design skills and a good eye for visual language, but also an array of other business-oriented soft skills to help them successfully collaborate with teams across departments and at all levels of an organization.
A brand director needs an excellent grasp of design, including proficiency with all the latest design software. Digital and web design skills and experience with multimedia production are also extremely important for success in this role. Brand directors need familiarity with social media marketing, expertise in marketing campaigns; and a solid understanding of content marketing. Project management and organizational skills are also highly valuable for brand directors.
Brand directors also need a variety of personal attributes to excel. The best brand managers have good interpersonal skills, proactive communication skills, cultivate management and leadership abilities and are able to bring out the best in team members.
Some traits that seem positive can become weaknesses in a brand director, such as perfectionism, which can stifle creativity and new ideas; self-sufficiency, which can result in too tight a control over creative direction and a resistance to delegating tasks; and creative genius, which can lead to erratic management and a sense that others’ creative ideas can’t compare.
What education do brand directors need?
Those looking to become a brand director will need at least a bachelor’s degree, and may well want to pursue a masters degree in the field. You’ll also need a professional background that indicates success in designing and creating marketing campaigns and managing teams. Therefore these positions usually require, at a minimum, several years of work experience in marketing.
Brand directors usually take degrees in marketing or digital marketing, media and business. A brand manager should be trained in business concepts, finance basics, market research, marketing communications and consumer behavior. It’s also wise to learn the basics of IT and web development, especially as more and more marketing is based on consumer data and utilizes advanced tech tools like artificial intelligence.
Coursework that a brand director should expect to pursue may include digital design and marketing research, advertising and marketing communications, media theory, Web design and development, consumer behavior and market research, business strategy and innovation and statistics and finance.
Why pursue Yeshiva University’s Master of Science in Digital Marketing and Media program to become a brand director?
The Yeshiva University (YU) online Master of Science in Digital Marketing and Media (MSDMM) at Katz School of Science and Health offers excellent preparation for a career as a brand director.
The program trains students in social media marketing, SEM, SEO, mobile, email, content and video marketing methods. The program also teaches students how to apply data-driven insights and KPIs using tools in marketing analytics such as Google Trends, Google Analytics, R and Tableau. Students get hands-on experience working with startups on marketing campaigns through the YU Innovation Lab, learning the ins and outs of marketing management. They are taught by professors who are leaders in the field and are able to build a professional network in the New York City marketing scene.
Excelling in the fast-changing world of digital marketing requires up-to-the minute training in a variety of subjects and hands-on experience designing marketing campaigns for digital-first companies. Yeshiva’s Master of Science in Digital Marketing and Media sets students up to succeed in this exciting and flourishing field. Learn more about the online MSDMM today.