How to Ace a Brand Management Interview

Heather Satterfield Heather Satterfield, Marketing Manager

Brand managers are responsible for planning strategies for marketing a business’s brand. This is a demanding position that directly impacts a company’s bottom line. A company wants to be sure that the brand manager they hire is going to produce results and prove to be a worthwhile investment. For this reason, an interview for this type of positions is likely to be quite rigorous. If you want to get hired as a brand manager, you have to make sure you’re well prepared for the interview.

Do Your Research About the Company

Each company requires its own unique branding strategy. You can’t expect to ace an interview if you show up with a generic idea about how to market brands. It’s essential that you come prepared with detailed research about the company that’s interviewing you. This can be a grueling task if you have multiple interviews scheduled. Still, it’s important that you display a real familiarity with the particular company’s style and challenges.

You should familiarize yourself with the company’s basic financials. This will give you an idea of its marketing budget, which in turn gives you clues about what kind of strategies you might employ as a brand manager. For example, if you’re interviewing with a medium-sized company with a modest budget, you wouldn’t suggest advertising at the next Super Bowl. You also should understand the demographics of the company’s customers. Find out the age, gender, income, location and other characteristics of their target market.

Know the Competition

Just as you should be familiar with the company that’s interviewing you, it’s important to know a little about the competition. Even if the interviewer doesn’t specifically refer to competitors, you’ll impressive him or her if you display some knowledge in this area. Try to come up with at least one idea on how you would help the company differentiate itself from a competitor.

Explain How You Would Help the Brand Grow

Assuming you’ve done your research, you should be able to make some suggestions about how to improve the company’s brand management. In this area, you have to take into consideration the overall personality and style of the owner or CEO. While you might suggest certain modifications as a brand manager, you don’t want to come across as arrogant and recommend a total overhaul of their current brand management approach.

It’s best to take a moderate approach and look for innovative suggestions that are still within the general parameters of what they’re already doing. For example, if the company is already very active on social media, look at which platforms it favors. You might then come to the interview prepared with some ways to improve the Facebook page or LinkedIn profile.

Provide Examples of Past Results You’ve Achieved

As with any type of interview, it’s likely that you’ll be asked to discuss what you’ve accomplished in past positions. It’s ideal if you can give examples where you helped a company increase its visibility, reputation or profits. It’s important to list specific strategies that you implemented to achieve these results. Always emphasize the areas where you were able to achieve quantifiable improvements, whether in terms of profits, social media followers, customer retention, website traffic or whatever your area of focus.

Talk About Brands and Campaigns That You Admire

One likely question that you’ll be asked at the interview is to name some high-profile brands that you admire and possibly some specific campaigns that especially impressed you. You want to be able to explain in detail what you like about these brands or campaigns. This type of question gives the company some insights into your personal style of brand management.

A variation on this question is to ask you what your dream brand management job might be and why. It’s fine to mention a high-profile brand but you also have to be careful about explaining why this would be your choice. If you say that it would be nice to have a virtually unlimited budget and get to travel around the world, a smaller brand might conclude that your goals are too grandiose. At the same time, don’t be too enthusiastic in your admiration for other companies. Remember that your goal is to get a position at the company for which you’re interviewing.

Establish Your Credibility as a Problem Solver

Interviewers love to pose questions that test your problem-solving skills. They might ask for an example of how you helped another business overcome a difficult period. Or they might pose a hypothetical situation where you have to solve a branding or reputation problem. This is a good chance to illustrate your ability to diagnose a problem and come up with a solution. This is also a test of your adaptability, which sometimes entails abandoning a strategy that’s not working and trying something new.

Additional Tips to Ace Your Interview

  • Keep in mind that your main focus is convincing the interviewer that you have what it takes to strengthen their brand. No matter what questions you are asked, remember to relate everything back to the contribution you intend to make with this company.
  • To ensure you’re well prepared, rehearse giving answers to likely questions. If possible, recruit a friend to act out the part of the interviewer. This will help you increase your confidence and refine your responses.
  • One caveat to keep in mind when discussing strategies that could help the brand is that you don’t want to be too specific. Otherwise you risk providing so much value in the interview that they don’t have to hire you! If you happen to get an especially brilliant insight about a possible campaign, you might want to drop a few enticing hints and hold back a little.
  • Find companies for which you’re a good match. Don’t try to remake your whole personality to get a job where you won’t really fit in. You’re better off focusing on companies where your experience and personality are truly a good match.