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Brand Strategists – What Are They And What Do They Do?

Brand Strategists – What Are They And What Do They Do?

When people think of brand strategists, they think of big names such as Ogilvy & Mather, Wieden & Kennedy and even the ad agency BBDO. But there are plenty of smaller agencies also offering brand strategy services, and these smaller brands are often overlooked.

There's no doubt that having a solid brand strategy is essential when running a business. You can't just put your name out there and expect people to recognise it. It takes work. 

A brand strategy helps you get the most out of your business. Whether you run a business selling products or services, the strategy will help you communicate your values and beliefs and help you create the right image and reputation in the minds of your customers.

The term “brand strategist” has a ring of sophistication to it. You know what I mean. The guy shows up at events wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase. But do brand strategists do anything? Yes, they do! 

You may also hear that brand development refers to this job function. Some might say that it's simply another way of saying strategic marketing. I prefer to think of it as a distinct and vital role. 

Here's a closer look at what a brand strategist does and how you can use the skills you develop to boost your brand.

The rise of digital media has brought an unprecedented opportunity for marketers to communicate directly with the people who matter most: consumers.

What is a Brand Strategist?

Brand Strategist Jobs

Brand strategists are usually business-minded people who understand the importance of the brand to the company's bottom line. 

They're also good at marketing, strategy, customer service, or PR and communications. They are also familiar with digital marketing, social media, SEO, content marketing, and analytics.

If you're starting to research the world of marketing and branding, it may seem like many people call themselves “brand strategists.” But there is only one kind of brand strategist, a creative director. They're responsible for designing a brand's image, positioning, and overall look and feel. Their goal is to create a distinctive brand identity that resonates with customers.

A brand strategist focuses on the intangible aspects of your brand (as opposed to your tangible product), like how the company communicates with its customers. A brand strategist can help a company develop a distinctive identity. They can also help companies improve customer relationships.

What makes a brand a “brand?”

Brands tend to be associated with a certain feeling. They may evoke a particular emotion (good or bad) or even serve a specific function (like a functional product). Brands can be associated with:

  • A company's reputation.
  • A product's quality.
  • The quality of service you receive.
  • Even a brand of a specific thing like a particular beer or a particular type of chocolate.
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A brand is a promise that is made to consumers. It promises that the brand will deliver what it says it will deliver.

What makes a brand a brand is its unique ability to influence people's purchasing behaviour. Brands are powerful. They can shape people's perceptions of products and services and become the “default” when consumers shop. 

The first step to understanding how we can leverage brands is understanding what a brand is. Brands are a collection of attributes or characteristics that people perceive when interacting with a company or product. 

These attributes make up a brand or how customers perceive the brand when they think about it. There are four main types of brands: functional, emotional, symbolic, and intangible.

How Do Brand Strategists Work?

Brand Strategists Skills

When I first started learning brand strategy, I had no clue what I was getting into. I thought I would create a website with many pictures of cats and funny quotes and hope people liked it and bought stuff from me. 

After all, everyone knows a company with a cute logo and a catchy slogan that sells stuff. But as I began to meet with brands, I quickly realised how much more complex branding and strategy were. Brands are complicated, and there are a lot of moving parts. 

One part of my job was to understand who those brands were and how they fit together. Whom were they targeting? What problems did they solve?

A brand strategist creates and manages the branding of a business. This involves developing, implementing, and ongoing management of a brand's identity, visual elements, and communications strategies. Brand strategists must possess a thorough understanding of their target audience and values.

Brands have a brand personality. Every brand is unique, just like people are unique. Some brands are all about being honest; others are about being fun. Some brands are more serious; others are more playful. 

Each brand is different from the others. The brands that seem like they belong together may not be related at all, but there is something that binds them. For example, Starbucks is the most iconic American coffeehouse brand, but it's also the most prominent coffee roaster globally. Why? Because of the quality of the coffee and the convenience of the stores.

What do you want to achieve with your brand?

In other words, what do you want your brand to represent? To answer this question, you need to determine what your target audience wants and needs and what problems your brand is supposed to solve. 

After that, you'll be able to develop ideas for what you should be doing to position your brand. For example, a company might be working on developing a new product or feature to increase its market share. Still, it doesn't yet know whether its new feature will work, so it must decide whether it wants to focus on trying to sell the feature or figuring out why it isn't selling. 

In some cases, you may not even know what you want, so you need to identify the problem your brand is supposed to solve.

Every brand has a purpose, and every purpose should align with its audience, the market, and the environment in which it operates. This is because a brand has a unique identity, and that identity is based on who it is and what it stands for. 

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So it would help if you always considered what you want to achieve with your brand. For instance, if you run a blog about fashion and want to help people look good and feel good about themselves, your brand's identity would likely be ‘stylish, fashion-forward, and fun.' 

This means that you would want your blog to focus on the positive aspects of fashion and make sure that people who visit your site don't leave feeling self-conscious or ashamed.

What does it take to be a great brand?

Branding is what differentiates a company from its competitors. A good brand is like a friend: you don't need to love it, but it's better to have one than to be without one.

When you're trying to build a brand, the most critical thing you can do is stand out. But just what does that mean? 

According to Brand Metrics Institute, four traits distinguish a great brand from an average brand: 

  1. Consistency, 
  2. distinctiveness, 
  3. relevance, 
  4. emotional appeal.

Great brands tend to live up to their promises, whether made on paper or a website. Think about the last time you had a bad experience at a restaurant or a store. The company probably went out of its way to make it right, and your next choice of where to shop is likely to be that business. When your customers aren't happy, you won't be happy.

How Does a Brand Strategist Help Brands?

What Is Co-Marketing Strategy

For a brand to become more influential in a specific space, they have to learn the art of strategy. The strategic thinking process involves asking questions like “What do we want to accomplish in this space?” and “How do we accomplish that?”

Brands need to understand the language that consumers speak. They also need to have a story to tell—one that people will relate to and feel passionate about. These two elements combined are the foundation for a brand strategy. 

To help brands tell their stories, a brand strategist can use various methods, including advertising, public relations, and digital strategies.

Brand strategists use a wide range of tactics to help brands increase their market share, boost visibility, and create a more favourable impression. 

The strategies include branding, public relations, sales, marketing, and advertising. Brand strategists also help companies create a brand personality and make sure it aligns with consumers' expectations.

Where do they fit in the marketing process?

It may be that the very thing that makes brand strategists unique makes them uniquely valuable to a company's marketing efforts. 

Brand strategists often possess the expertise, focus, and insight that isn't easily found elsewhere in the organisation. Combined with their ability to think outside the box, they make them a valuable asset to any marketing department.

Brand strategists are brand marketers and planners who specialise in identifying opportunities to enhance and extend the brand experience for a company, its products, services, and employees. 

They help brands reach their objectives by thinking about the audience, not the product. That means they focus on what makes a brand unique and desirable to consumers rather than what makes a product or service unique and desirable. 

Brand strategists take brand building to a new level by analysing and testing brand strategy.

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What is the brand promise?

When thinking about your brand promise, it's vital to think about what you're saying. You may have a brand promise, but is it clear to your customers? 

If you don't have a clear brand promise, you're probably not using it properly. What are the three most important words I need to communicate to my customers? Your answers should tell you what you're selling and what it's all about.

Branding is simply the art of communicating a unique value proposition that speaks to the consumer's needs, wants, and aspirations. 

When done well, branding is the cornerstone of any business, but there's no point in selling something that isn't differentiated. 

To be differentiated, it must have its promise. And the promise should be clear and compelling. The brand promise is a concise statement about what a company offers its customers.

What Can Brand Strategists Do for You?

Challenges Of Scaling A Business

Brand strategists are those people who are responsible for helping organisations build and maintain brands. It's a lot more than being the person who designs the logo or creates a tagline, or other things you may think are part of a brand strategy.

A brand strategist focuses on the overall design of a company's marketing strategy and communications plan. In contrast, a marketing strategist has a narrower focus, typically on one area such as social media, SEO, email, etc. 

You can hire either of these professionals to help you create a cohesive strategy that will help build a more substantial business. Still, if you need someone who can bring all of these elements together to create a unified marketing strategy, you should consider hiring a brand strategist.

How do they differ from a branding expert?

In branding, the focus is on how people see your company. This means making sure everything you do, say, and write reflects your company's image. 

Branding experts work to understand your company's culture, history, and goals. Their job is to help you communicate these qualities to customers through your brand, website, and advertising. Brand strategists are the experts who work to craft a brand strategy that aligns with the brand image.

If there's a difference between brand strategists and branding experts, a brand strategist tends to focus on strategy's role in developing a brand strategy. 

A brand strategist typically doesn't have much brand design and identity expertise but instead focuses on strategic thinking. Branding experts tend to focus on creating a distinct brand identity within a business context. 

They may be able to offer input into the development of a brand strategy. Still, they aren't usually concerned with the details of the actual visual design of the brand identity.

How can you position your brand?

This is a critical aspect of any branding strategy. It's not just about positioning yourself or your business—it's about positioning yourself in customers' minds. 

Once you've determined what the value of your brand is and what makes your company unique, you can start thinking about how to use this to your advantage. 

If your product solves a problem or satisfies a need, you have a clear position to take, and you can use that to differentiate your brand in the market.

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Brand positioning is a concept that refers to communicating the characteristics of a company or product to customers. A brand must tell consumers who it is, what it does, and why they should care. It must also establish a clear identity that will guide future decisions made by customers.

What is the Difference Between Brand Strategy and Marketing?

Branding And Marketing Definition

The first step in creating an effective brand is to ensure that all marketing materials are consistent with the message you want to communicate. 

Whether it's your logo, your colour scheme, the products you sell, or even your website, everything that communicates to consumers should support the central idea of your brand. 

A brand strategy is the first stage in building your brand. From there, you'll want to create a brand image. This includes your logo, colour scheme, and other visual elements representing your brand's personality. It's important to stay true to your brand, but don't get too rigid or narrow.

A brand strategy can be considered the foundation of marketing and vice versa. It can be seen as the overall plan of action that guides everything. 

At its most basic level, a brand strategy establishes the guiding principles that govern the identity and personality of your business. It sets out the purpose of your business, the vision for what you want your business to become, and the goals you want to achieve.

What should you include in your brand communications plan?

Brand communications include everything that happens between your company and its target audience over a specified time. This means everything that happens on your website, in email newsletters, on social media sites, and on any other channel you communicate with your customers. 

It also includes brand identity elements such as a logo, tagline, and colour palette. But it doesn't stop there. There's an entire universe of creative content you can create for your brand that can help to establish a strong brand presence, educate your audience, and boost your sales.

Before you start thinking about whom you'll target, you need to understand the messages you're trying to send. 

Your brand messaging should match your brand values and be consistent across all communication channels. Brand messaging is about creating a clear, concise message, using the correct tone of voice, and making sure the words convey the right message. For example, if you run a financial services company, you should communicate professionalism and expertise.

How Do You Hire a Brand Strategist?

Strategy 4X 4X

Brands hire brand strategists to help them determine their brand direction and purpose and provide strategic counsel on ways to communicate their brand messages and purpose to consumers effectively. 

While many companies believe that they need a full-time brand strategist, in reality, all companies can hire a part-time brand strategist who will be able to guide and inform them through the process. 

These experts are hired on a contract basis for anywhere between three months to several years, depending on the organisation's size, the complexity of the project, and the need for ongoing support.

It's easy to hire a designer to build a brand identity, but how do you know if your brand is strong? How do you hire a strategist to help your brand evolve? 

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There are plenty of tactics and processes to figure this out, including a new process developed by Google called “Brand Amplification.”

How can a brand strategy help grow your sales?

“A successful business is about getting customers who spend money,” says Marty Neumeier, author of The Brand Gap. And if your brand isn't aligned with your company's culture, you'll never find those customers.

There's no doubt that brands are vital to every business's growth strategy. But the truth is, they're often a tricky part of it. 

Brands are a complicated beast. They involve a host of people, processes, and other organisation pieces, making it tricky to create a consistent brand identity across all facets of the business. 

But if you don't, you could miss opportunities to engage your customers in new ways. If you want to make sure your brand strategies help your company thrive, start with the basics: brand architecture and strategy.


Brand Strategists are the face of your brand in a media-dominated world. They are responsible for creating a consistent message and tone for your brand and ensuring all communication channels (digital and physical) reinforce that message. 

If you're starting a new brand or growing a current one, you'll want to hire a full-time Brand Strategist who can create and maintain your brand personality, messaging, and tone across multiple channels and audiences.

We help brands build stronger identities and communicate them effectively across multiple channels.

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Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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