Project and Management. Two words, which can give heartache and headache to the brand marketers worldwide! The reason behind this is the existence of a strong link between brand marketing & project management.
Confused? Let's understand this co-existence in detail.
Project management demands tremendous attention to detail. In addition, don’t forget the relationship that brand marketers need to build with writers, designers, developers, agencies, and even their superiors just to make sure that the job gets done with grace and within the planned schedule.
Do you know what the scary bit is though?
You never learn project management skills when you are doing your program in brand marketing. You basically end up juggling deadlines and learning how to meet them, ensuring no processes are missed or overlooked on the job.
Possibly this article in Forbes describes it best. “Traditionally, marketing experts are not strong project managers. They are creative geniuses who produce their best ideas by themselves or in small collaborative teams.”
But what if you indulged in proactive project management instead of reactive project management in your brand marketing. Logically it would mean that you would encounter fewer workflow issues and bottlenecks.
Now, that’s a start, wouldn’t you agree?
Project Management Skills You Need in Brand Marketing
To be a great brand marketer, you need a unique set of skills - being organized, having your to-do list on the top of your mind, project management, and there is more.
Some of the skills that help brand marketers to be good at their jobs are innate because they are primarily personality characteristics. They are innate and cannot be taught. Others include soft skills that can be honed and improved over time.
Similarly, for marketers, the list of skills is more exhaustive. That’s because you are managing a lot more - projects, planning, budgets, campaigns, results, reporting, and so much more. The list seems to be never-ending.
The issue is with project management in marketing. In addition, it is a task that adds up to their already jam-packed roles. And in most cases, the majority do not get the hang of it.
But it's not really the fault of the brand marketer. Being isolated in teams, tons of communication challenges, and tools that are disconnected makes managing brand marketing even more difficult.
So, what do you do?
Try out some makeshift marketing.
Remember that you are creative geniuses. So, there are many ways that you can pool in your skills to manage your brand marketing projects better. End the struggle between these two polarities and deep dive into all the project management skills to focus on your goals. Plan your tasks super-efficiently, prove the ROI, and then kick some butt at your brand marketing role.
Let’s start by looking at the core skills that are vital. Every brand manager needs to possess or imbibe these skills to be able to optimize and increase project success rates.
Look: brand managers have tons of strategic ideas and concepts and they spend a whole lot of time brainstorming with their teams and departments. The objective is to enhance the initial concept to be able to produce a maximum impact on their customers.
Where they seem to lack in spite of perfecting their concepts through these numerous brainstorming sessions is not properly documenting the entire process. Therefore, having all of this in their heads is definitely not the ideal scenario.
Minus good project management skills at this stage of your brand marketing undertaking, you can expect some of these problems to crop up. Take a look:
1. You have your team present at these brainstorming sessions where everybody took notes, but there was no cohesive action plan drawn up. In the absence of an action plan, there are chances that things can get a bit messy. It is possible that your team members may miss out on small but important tasks, have miscommunications and misunderstandings, and sometimes even have task overlaps.
2. There may be the slightest chance that one or more of your team members did not get the concept clearly. Even misinterpreted it in some way. Having an action plan in place will help in resolving these what may seem insignificant but can have a resounding impact on the overall venture.
To many, documenting this may seem like an added task. However, the documented plan is not just a piece of information. It is a secure method to ensure that whatever goals you have to achieve through brand marketing is not lost due to poor project management skills. It helps keep sight of your main goals and drives you to focus on elements that really matter.
Team members may be able to figure out the missed details and work it out at their end and take appropriate corrective measures. However, what matters the most is keeping the focus clear, which may get diluted to some extent. Brand managers are creative by nature. In other words, they tend to concentrate only on the bigger picture. This means that the tiny but important details may not be adequately attended to by your team members.
As the leader, it is your responsibility to make your team understand the idea, concept, and then deliver on that vision. And this is where you need to jump-start your skills in project management once again.
Remember that orientation to detail should be a priority to ensure that the project is successful.
Having a concept is awesome, but just brainstorming around is not enough. You also need the right tools, such as project management software, to properly execute and implement it. In conclusion, keep in mind that it is the small details that can make all the difference between failure and success.
As a marketing expert, you must calculate the probability of risk as you venture into your brand project. Additionally, you may have a great idea and concept. So you must be able to identify any associated risks. Chalk out a plan on how you intend to deal with them as and when they surface.
If you recognize some of the critical risks right at the very beginning, you can take action to avoid or prevent them at all costs. For instance, considering the ones that you encounter suddenly, your role is to minimize the impact as far as possible.
When the risk assessment seems to be on the higher end, you may want to consider an alternative path. It may look tempting to stick with the route that you know because it is familiar. But picking up the courage to venture beyond that can be rewarding. After all, you’d want to try all of your best shots.
This is where your project management skills come into play too. After that, you would want to be as ready as possible, which means you should have a flowchart of possible actions and reactions and subsequent corrective measures drawn on standby. At the end of the day, you do not want your project goals to be affected in any way.
The perfectionist in you will want to do all the jobs by yourself. It is an impossible task to achieve. Remember that you have a team to support you in your brand marketing venture.
Switch on the project manager within you and become the master of task delegation. That’s the only way you can get your project up and running.
Do you feel that it is inappropriate for you to delegate tasks to team members? On the other hand, it can make the processes more efficient and effective. Take a look at the reasons why:
1. A brand marketing project will constitute of several gradations of jobs. Some of them might be too simple to perform but maybe quite time-consuming. Why not delegate these jobs to appropriate team members? This way, you can use your time to take on more important tasks and put your mind to things that may have a more significant impact on the project.
2. You can successfully achieve your project objectives and goals when you have time to work with a lighter workload.
3. Task delegation can also be done by using relevant smart tools like project management software which can automate specific processes. This is another method of squeezing out some more time for the essential stuff.
Apart from letting your creative juices flow into your brand marketing project, you also need to know how to negotiate. This is a core skill for any project manager given that most ventures are in a continual state of negotiation.
Think of how a venture typically tends to pan out. First, you hammer out the initial scope through the process of ideation and conceptualization. And then, of course, comes sharing this scope with your C-suite stakeholders. That’s when the negotiation skills are on red alert. Also, be prepared for some hard fighting for your ideas in the boardroom.
Once you get through your top management, you still remain in a continued state of negotiation. With whom, you may ask? Your team members, of course!
Believe it or not, you will be involved in daily negotiations with the ins and outs of the project. Common project management negotiations that you may encounter frequently include:
1. Discussing cost and budget 2. Outcomes and deliverables of the project 3. Who will be on the team 4. Addressing roadblocks 5. How to get access to the tools they need to succeed
And the list goes on…
Too many negotiations may leave you with a bitter feeling. After all, no one really likes to be a part of overly adverse circumstances. However, you should treat it as a necessary form of two-way communication.
Remember that the end goal is to find a solution that works for you, your stakeholders, team members, client, and for anyone else who has an interest in the project.
Your brand project cannot be successful unless you leverage your experience to its fullest potential. Designing workflows, looking after production, incorporating social media marketing strategies, ensuring quality control and adhering to deadlines to ensure that the project reaches completion requires a lot of discipline and juggling skills.
Not only that but making sure that your project implementation happens according to your vision is also completely dependent on how you manage the project. Equally important: having a less regimented strategy can be fruitful. Be that as it may, you will still need your skills to assess your approach, any plans of action, and then have them executed and implemented accordingly.
From time to time, from the perspective of a brand manager, there is a lot of focus on ideation, conceptualization, brainstorming, and tons of communication. That’s a lot, isn’t it? Nevertheless, it's still not enough.
Conceptualization of the idea is not all that you can bank on. You need to back it with project management, and that’s when it becomes easy. As a result, your campaign execution will fall into place too.
Make your teamwork to bring your ideas to fruition. For this reason, they need your guidance and supervision. Minus that, accomplishing your vision of the project will not really take off in the direction you want it to.
Therefore, you need to imbibe the spirit of the project manager to approach your brand marketing venture with diligence so that reaching your goals will become more achievable.
Mentorship, Coaching, and Leadership
When you are in the midst of a project, it is easy to lose yourself in it. As a brand manager, you must do your utmost to avoid such a situation.
Your role is to offer mentorship to your team members and lead them in the direction of your vision. Along with that, you must be able to offer them guidance whenever necessary. Respond to their questions, share your feedback and opinions. It is not your job to do it all but ensure that the job gets done.
Understandably, letting go of your creative geniuses is going to be difficult. But don’t let this feeling overwhelm you as your obligations are also of a project manager where you need to deliver your campaign on schedule.
Take a hint out of the project manager’s ‘Book of Play’ and cozy up with your team. With your leadership skills, you will be able to set the vision for the venture, drive and motivate your team, and make yourself available to resolve challenges and overcome any roadblocks.
Bear in mind that you are the sole person responsible for your team members and their contribution to the project. By coaching them right, your team members will be motivated to achieve any professional and personal goals that they may have set for themselves too.
What you get by doing this is transform may be an average working team to a high performing one. This, in turn, also raises the likelihood of your project having a successful outcome.
What’s next about your brand marketing and project management strategies?
Many brand marketers still think of project management as a science. Even though the link between brand marketing and project management does plainly exist, most are inclined to believe that it is best suited for product assembly software development — no link to brand marketing, whatsoever.
However, they could not be more wrong.
Here are the advantages that companies would likely experience if their brand marketers starting thinking like project managers.
● Metrics would skyrocket. ● Shorter timelines. ● Competitive edge.
Achieving this blend of the core characteristics of the two roles will drive teams to deliver innovative and stronger marketing campaigns with greater efficiency.
That’s the future to look forward to!
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