The role(s) of a Brand Strategist
Throughout the year I’ve been asked what it is that I actually do, as a brand strategist. And this made me realize that there is a lot of misunderstanding around this role. Therefore, I would like to add my point of view and try to simplify it as much as possible.
Let’s start by adding clarity to what a brand strategist IS NOT.
A Brand Strategist is not a Marketing Specialist.
A Brand Strategist is not an Advertising Agency.
A Brand Strategist is not a PR.
A Brand Strategist is not a Project manager.
But, in a peculiar way, a Brand Strategist is a little bit of everything of the above.
A brand is the perception we build around a product, company, or individual. Branding is actively shaping the brand and it comes before marketing. Marketing increases sales, while branding builds customer loyalty. Marketing grabs your audience’s attention, and branding keeps it. Most of all, branding creates connection.
Searching on Google, you’ll find that a Brand Strategist helps a company create and maintain its image. They work with market research, positioning recommendations for products or services in different markets to enhance branding efforts as well develop marketing plans through trend analysis of current data on consumers’ needs.
So, What’s The Role of a Brand Strategist?
A Brand Strategist is a professional who designs position recommendations for companies looking at developing or expanding their brands. Ok. But they also help guide market research analysis and set a company’s tone so that everything matches with campaign initiatives.
From my personal point of view, a brand strategist wears many hats. From a Master Planner to a Storyteller, from a Psychologist to a true Visionary Alchemist, a Brand Strategist will do everything in its power to coordinate and shape the image of your brand, its core values and mission.
I plan on sharing more about the immersive role of a Chief Brand Officer into a future article, but until then, I will focus on defining what it means to be a Brand Strategist.
A Master Planner for Brand Mentoring
Building anything requires detailed planning. But, most important, it requires a skillful project manager to sustain and improve the process. The Brand Strategist is also the first driver that will run key creative initiatives across the creative studio, tracking project status and brand project timelines, identifying bottlenecks, scheduling key creative reviews, and ensuring smooth workflow.
A Brand Strategist is more than a consultant. They deep dive into your brand fundamentals and help you gain clarity, ignite your vision, and start acting upon it. Sounds kind of intricate, but it’s one of the most important roles of a Brand Strategist.
A Damn Good Psychologist Mixed with A Perfect Coach
Mind over branding, right? Creating a successful love brand implies an intense psychological component. Everything that surrounds us was designed and built with our psychology in mind. Think about the choices we are making every day: what kind of water to drink, what kind of shampoo or butter to choose, what dress to wear?
We make billions of micro-decisions every day. And — studies reveal it — most of them are pure emotional, nothing related to reason.
Color psychology, pattern recognition, and a sense of belonging, the five brand personalities, the 12 archetypes — all these practices form part of the psychology of branding. So, it is just natural that a Brand Strategist is also a Psychologist. And even a strong one. There are emotions to catch and release, emotions to unfold, emotions to reveal. We recognize an Apple or Nike product, right? This is thanks to a very talented team of Brand Strategists working in the background.
But to follow a vision to actual results, we all need the right coach, agree?
A Damn Good Storyteller
A Brand Strategist, most of all, needs to be a good Storyteller. They must be innovative because they have to create the future for their brand, constantly focusing on what can change while still staying true to their brand’s central purpose.
More than that, storytelling is pretty much connecting with the brand through their emotions. Later, the storyscaping immerse into our lives and this new perspective allows the brand in charge of creating stories where the client is the main character, and the brand becomes part of the story. (I am planning an entire course on this topic together with Domestika.org. Keep an eye out.)
A 3-In-1 Solution: Resource Seeker, Scientist and Creative Director
The truth is that branding will always depend on creativity. Storytelling plays its own role, but still, branding nowadays depends more than never on innovation: constantly offering the next big thing, the latest trends, the newest technology. And this being said, only a Brand Strategist can pick up and roll the dice that will perfectly fit your brand.
A Visionary Marketer
Here we go: a Brand Strategist creates the vision, and a marketeer carries it out. But this means that the Brand Strategist needs to know the market, the communication, the techy trends and all the fuss. In other words, to oversee the cultivation of a coherent brand and corresponding design & story. Right?
So, I would like to emphasize that branding is actively shaping our worlds and the work of a Brand Strategist is nothing more than one-kind-of a human legacy.