Shadow My Day as a Brand Manager at a Consumer Packaged Goods Company in the Bay Area


MJ Lin
Hi! My name is MJ and I do brand management at a Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) company in the Bay Area. Each day can be quite different but hopefully this article gives you a sense of what we do!


7:30 am Waking Up — After months of trial and error, I found that 7:30am is the last possible minute I can wake up, have literally just enough time for my morning routine (not a minute more) and get to work on time (or at least 95% of the time). 

8:00 am Working on my Way to Work — I get on the 8 am BART train. My commute is about an hour. I turn on the hotspot on my phone, take out my laptop and start responding to emails. Like most CPG companies, mine operates in a hub and spoke model where marketing sits at the center and leads strategy and execution with the help of cross functional experts across sales, digital, PR, retail, R&D, legal, etc. Teams are big and alignment is needed across functions before decisions are made. This means a lot of meetings and a lot of emails.  

9:00 am Morning Meeting #1 — Arrived at work just in time for my first meeting! I’m sitting with my PR and digital leads to understand how a campaign has been doing. We pour over metrics, highlights and lowlights. The good news is that engagement looks great - people are spending a good amount of time on our content and social sharing is higher than we expected. The bad news is registration is coming in a little lower than expected. We decide to tweak a couple things but overall, we are meeting projected plan so we are happy. We spend the last 15 minutes reviewing new content for our website. 

10:00am Morning Meeting #2 — On to the next meeting. This one is a weekly call on a critical product launch. I kick off the call with my updates and ask my cross functional partners to share updates on their various work streams. My peers across sales, retail, PR, digital, packaging design, R&D, legal and operations are super on top of it. We breeze through the call and figure out next steps and priorities for the upcoming week. I type up the notes and followups and send them out.

11:00 am Presentation Prep — I have the next hour free. I start working on a PowerPoint deck for a presentation with the VP of Marketing next week. The marketing team wrapped up a significant PR campaign and we will be sharing out the results to cover what went well and what we’d change for the year. I put the core information on the slides (the easy part) and then spend another 30 minutes working on the formatting to pretty it up (the tedious part). In the last five minutes, I do a quick skim for urgent emails to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

12:00 pm Learning at Lunch — Today we have an internal Brand Manager event where Senior Brand Managers talk about how they successfully navigated their first couple of years in the role. I heat up my food and go in search of the conference room. I catch up with peers about life and work as the panel is getting assembled. It’s a great panel - informative and engaging and funny! I feel inspired leaving with a few good tips.

1:00 pm Afternoon Meeting — My team just wrapped up a packaging redesign and I wanted to share the work with the sales folks so they know what is coming down the pipeline. I start by sharing the project vision and objectives, go over the weakpoints of the current packaging that necessitated the work, then I share the redesigned packaging and the consumer insights that guided our approach. There are a lot of questions and we have a lively discussion. We end by talking timeline for production and shipment to stores. 

2:30 pm On the Fly — I am back at my desk doing emails. My retail lead drops by to ask a question about coupons. We do some quick calculations to figure out what coupon value to offer for an in-store campaign. She gives me the update on the retailer, quantities and promotions. All sounds good. 

3:00 pm “Free” Time  Another precious hour free. I am back on my emails trying to give input, remove roadblocks and move projects forward.

4:00 pm Last Meeting of the Day — I have a quarterly meeting with the eCommerce lead and the General Manager of our brand. The goal is to provide an update on results from the last quarter. We had strong performance and saw great things. The eCom lead ends by sharing her priorities and goals for the next quarter. I love that my cross-functional partners are all so strong!

5:00 pm Back on Email — I go back to my desk for another round of emailing. 

5:30 pm Work is Done — I pack my things and head to the Bart for my ride home. Normally I’d open my laptop and continue emailing but today Im a bit tired so I decide to open my NY Times app and skim the headlines. 

6:30 pm What’s for Dinner? — Half of the time, my boyfriend and I eat out for dinner. But tonight, I feel like cooking so I start whipping up some food as we talk about each others’ day.

7:30 pm Dinner!  Time for Yummies! 

8:30 pm After Dinner Time — The boyfriend loves TV so I humor him and we watch a couple episodes of the latest detective show he’s into. 

10:00 pm Trying to Get to Bed — I need more sleep than my boyfriend, so I start getting ready for bed and rush him along to do the same. I am the sleep Nazi who ensures we get enough sleep.

11:00 pm Actually Getting to Bed — I didn’t do a good job here and somehow we lost an hour. Noooo! Now I seriously rush him and myself off to bed. 

11:30pm Shut Eye — ahhhh how good it feels to snuggle under our soft comforter after a long day! zzzzzZZZZ