fusion point research Marketing Research Reports

Marketing to Brand Management in CPG

Understanding Their Role

At its most simple level, a brand is a name and logo used to identify a product or a company, but brands can also take on deeper and more powerful meanings, representing promises made to consumers, or even the ideals and aspirations of an entire company.1 2 The practice of understanding and building brands has flourished over the past few decades, and brand management is now a central role in CPG companies. Most consumer products companies have brand managers that coordinate all campaigns and initiatives related to their brand.3 The brand manager is responsible for the brand’s “position” in the marketplace. This position is a carefully crafted plan identifying the product category the brand competes in, its target market segment and the brand’s point of difference from competitors. The brand manager communicates this position, sometimes written in the form of a “positioning statement”, inside and outside the organization to drive decisions made by market research, product development, the salesforce, retail partners, and advertising agencies.4


Once a brand is established, it had a powerful effect in the marketplace. Most consumers regularly buy only one brand of cola, deodorant, paper towels, etc. Once consumers choose a brand, they essentially make a long-term commitment, rarely moving to competitive products. Consumers loyal to a brand are less price sensitive, and often stick with the brand as prices increase.5 This ability of a brand to command higher prices and repeat purchases is called brand equity. Although difficult to quantify, the combined brand equity of all of a consumer product company’s brands is considered one of its most valuable assets.


Managing a mature, established brand is different from establishing a new brand. Since new products and innovations are launched daily, brand management is never ending as it attempts to navigate changes in consumer perceptions and competitive offerings.6

“The job of a brand manager has become more complicated. There is absolutely no doubt about that… It requires a brand manager that is in tune with society; that is agile, very close to new technologies….”

- Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever. 7

1 Cooper, Nick. “Great Brands and the Role of Ideals.” Market Leader, no. Q2 (2012): 28 – 31. EBSCOhost(73954589).

2 Phillips, Phil. “Facts, Data and Opinion? Branding.” Coatings World 19, no. 9 (2014): 40. EBSCOhost(98268025).

3 Michel, Mark. An Introduction to the Consumer Products Industry . Edited by Kristina Michel, 2011.

4 Tybout, Alice M. and Calder, Bobby J., ed. Kellogg on Marketing. 2nd ed. John Wiley and Sons, Inc., 2010.

5 Bronnenberg, Bart J, Jean-Pierre H Dub, and Matthew Gentzkow. “The Evolution of Brand Preferences: Evidence from Consumer Migration.” American Economic Review 102, no. 6 (2012): 2472 – 2508. EBSCOhost(82144632).

6 Tybout, Alice M. and Calder, Bobby J., ed. Kellogg on Marketing.

7 “McKinsey conversations with global leaders: Paul Polman of Unilever”. McKinsey & Company. Available at: http://www.mckinsey.com/insights/strategy/mckinsey...


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Copyright © 2016 Fusion Point Research, Inc.

Consumer products companies manage brands to improve consumer loyalty and earn higher prices for their products. Brands can take on deeper meanings and symbolize a promise made to consumers. Brand management is at the center of many CPG activities.