Born in the 1930s, the Brand Manager System (BMS) has become a marketing organization standard through institutional isomorphism. Yet, from the 1970s onward, academics and practitioners have criticized its efficacy and even questioned its relevance in the age of data. Accordingly, our goal is to extend the influential work of Low and Fullerton (1994) to make a longitudinal historical analysis of the evolution of the BMS till today. We analyze the brand management literature through the lens of business history – 50 academic papers in top-ranking journals from 1960 to 2015 – and we triangulate these results with expert audits. We highlight three distinct periods which show that the BMS evolution is non-linear, incremental, and multi-path. Moreover, the brand manager is now torn between two diametrically opposed but complementary directions, as he or she should act both as absolute expert and galvanic facilitator.
Brands, Brand management, Brand manager,