I have been in Marketing now for a number of years. I was ‘classically trained’ in brand management and only recently moved from an FMCG environment to a retail environment. One of the things that i have learnt from my career so far is that it is not possible or important to play every role within a project but it is vital to coordinate everything. That to me is what brand management or project management is really all about.
I used to compare the role to that of a football manager trying to get the most out of his team or the concept of spokes on a wheel with the brand manager at the centre. However, more recently i believe a better comparison is to that of an orchestra, with the brand manager being the conductor. There are a number of similarities and critical points i would urge you to consider:
1. The conductor of the orchestra has to provide clear direction and leadership to the entire group. He is the maestro and the one everyone looks to, including the audience. If it all goes smoothly, he/she gets the credit but if something goes wrong, he/she gets the blame.
2. It is vital that every musician in the orchestra is playing from the same music sheets. Everyone has to be ‘singing off the same hymn sheet’ if the recital is going to go smoothly.
3. There are some musicians within the orchestra who may only play a very small role in a particular concerto. However, everyone plays a vital part in the delivery of the music to the audience and they all need to be part of the journey from the start, even if they are only involved late on.
4. Everyone in the orchestra stays alert and pays attention all the time. This is vital as the conductor brings in the right people at the right time to make it all work and the musicians have to be ready and waiting for their instructions.
5. The orchestra is a team with every member a critical part driving to ensure that the music sounds as perfect as possible. Their goal is to play great music together, not to sound or look great individually.
6. The conductor doesn’t have to play every instrument (or in fact any instruments) but instead his role is to bring good musicians together and help them play at the right time, in the right place and at the right speed to make the music sound right.
7. A great sounding orchestra keeps the audience in awe
The comparison to brand and project management is clear. To deliver a project we don’t (and often can’t) do everything ourselves, and nor should we. We must try to bring the right team together and lead and support them to a great project delivery. As the brand manager, we have to become maestros!