Brand Strategist may sound like a fluff position to you; but, in reality, it may be the most important person you hire for your company. A Brand Strategist specializes in research, analysis, positioning, messaging and the development of an informed, PR/marketing communications plan that will effectively connect your company to your customers to build and further your brand equity.
Brand equity is the commercial value derived from consumer perception of the brand, rather than from the product or service itself.
Following is a list of 10 reasons why your company should hire a Brand Strategist.
#1: You have a friend who’s a graphic designer.
Sure, images are important to your brand. But, an image is only as strong as the message behind it. I’m not saying you don’t need a graphic designer. But, you wouldn’t send your kicker into the game without a coach’s game plan, right? There are many players – photographer, videographer, developer, etc. – that you may need to engage with as you build and grow your brand. And, though you own the team; you can’t win the game without an expert coach. That coach is your Brand Strategist!
#2: What worked for your friend’s business may not work for yours.
No two businesses are the same. Even if you work in similar industries or have similar target customers, the same strategy should not be blindly applied. Can you imagine if Coca-Cola and Pepsi deployed the same brand strategy? Customers would likely be confused and/or turned off. After all, the appropriate brand strategy for your business begins with the research and insights for your company with your target audience(s) and ends with the implementation and measurement of a strategic PR/marketing plan all your own.
#3: Your brand isn’t what you do, it’s why you do it.
The purpose of building a brand for your company is to build your identity and connection with your customers. Now, you can have transactional relationships with your customers and relational relationships. In case you didn’t already know, you want the latter. Relational relationships are built on emotional connections and it isn’t what your company does; but, rather why you do it that builds that more long-lasting relationship. A Brand Strategist helps you to discover your most authentic brand story.
#4: Not all of your customers are created equal.
As I mentioned, research with your target audience(s) is important. And, if you think your audiences are the same, think again. Your brand likely has several audiences – investors, customers, employees, etc. And, the message and strategy won’t be the same for them all. A Brand Strategist can help you to identify, prioritize and customize the message for each of your audiences.
#5: Because you don’t ‘just need social media’ support.
For many brands, some presence on social media is essential. But, I wouldn’t recommend any brand prioritize social media before they’ve identified their best brand message and strategy. And, because social media is a means to an end, your social followers will most likely (and ideally) find their way to your website. It is paramount that your website be dynamic, user-friendly, and, above all else, presentable. Your brand must be continuous across all of your communication channels. No one channel can stand alone. Brand equity is built through consistency!
#6: Every reporter doesn’t want to write about your company or product.
Yes, you have a great product or maybe even the best service. But, the truth is every business believes that; and, of course, you should! But, with so many great companies and products out there, a reporter needs something more compelling to sink their teeth into. What makes your story unique or timely? Are you the first or only one to do something? These are some of the essential questions to ask yourself to identify your best story angle for the media. The brand discovery process can also help to reveal it!
#7: Because the last direct mail piece, email campaign or (you fill-in-the-blank) didn’t pan out so well for you.
Maybe you’ve worked with a consultant in the past or maybe you’ve even been DIYing your marketing efforts. But, whatever you’ve been doing just isn’t working (or at least working consistently) for you. A Brand Strategist can help to review your campaigns to pin point what has and hasn’t worked for you in the past. They’ll diagnose the problem and create a recipe for success. Diversifying your approach is important as your company and customers continue to evolve.
#8: You’re not a PR pro or marketing guru.
Nor are you expected to be! And, the only thing you should DIY is your business’ core competency. Unless you have a background in PR or marketing, chances are you should hire a professional to help you market your business. Even on a consulting basis, a Brand Strategist can offer expert counsel and help you to plan and grow your best business.
#9: You don’t have budget.
In the beginning, it can be hard to spend your money on PR/marketing when you have supplies to order, operational costs and more! But, I can’t recommend it enough. Set aside at least some budget for PR/marketing efforts if you’re starting your business or if you’re planning your budget for the next quarter/year. The general rule of thumb is 10% of your annual revenue.
The truth is you can always get free or low-cost advice; but, you’ll likely find it at a chance business gathering or webcast. These presentations are great for general guidance; but, they’ll never give you what you really need because that speaker doesn’t know your business and there’s just no consistency. A Brand Strategist will commit themselves to learning about your brand, discovering your best brand story and building a plan to effectively communicate and share it. It pays to have an expert in your corner!
#10: You have investors (or advisors) questioning your marketing decisions.
We all know it’s good business to have a counsel of advisors for your company as you build and grow. Or, maybe you’re a startup and you were lucky enough to receive a couple of investors. At any rate, you likely have someone(s) looking over your shoulder and/or providing input on how you scale and grow your business. These same individuals may even make the decisions about your business’ growth. A Brand Strategist, as an outside expert, can offer research and strategy and be vital to establishing better checks and balances for your investors.
Can you relate to any of these reasons? Wherever your business is today – the beginning, two years in, five years in or more – it’s never too late to invest in your brand! A Brand Strategist is a connector. They help connect your business – to your message, strategy, team and customers –across all your communication channels to optimally grow your business equity.
Looking for a Brand Strategist? Contact us today!