What is brand strategy?
A brand strategy is the plan you create to develop, grow, and maintain a successful brand. Branding usually involves researching your target audience, understanding consumer behavior, defining your mission, creating a unique selling proposition and market positioning, and setting the business objectives. Based on these elements, a brand strategist will create and coordinate the messaging and visuals (logo, web design, brand colors, etc.), identify the main marketing channels, organize marketing events and activities, set budgets and timelines, and so on.
Benefits of hiring a brand strategist
Hiring a brand strategist can benefit your business, as they can help you drive your marketing efforts to successful results. A branding specialist will help you with your:
A brand marketer can help you identify the right target market and position your business, products, and services to meet their needs. This is essential, particularly in a world with so many competitors in virtually every market.
Messaging and narrative
You want all your communications to adhere to the same standards. A brand strategist can craft the right story for your brand and create a narrative that resonates with consumers and puts your brand at the top of their minds when they're ready to buy. They will also devise marketing strategies that help push your message to the right people, so they boost chances of conversion and increase customer loyalty.
Unique selling proposition
A unique selling proposition (USP) is a statement that defines what sets your business, products, and services apart from the competition. A brand strategist can help you create a compelling USP and ensure it is communicated consistently and effectively.
Building a brand to support long-term growth
Short-term gains are, of course, important. But as a business leader, you should consider the long-term growth as well -- and that's exactly where a brand strategist can help the most. They will you build a brand that can stand the test of time and continue to grow and thrive even in the most competitive markets.
What do brand strategists do?
In a nutshell, brand strategists create plans and pick tactics to ensure your company is recognizable, reliable, and attractive to potential customers. They do this by handling your
You need to make sure your brand is properly positioned in the market. This means your message, visuals, and product strategy need to hit the nail on the spot regarding what your customers need, want, and can resonate with. A brand strategist will help you get this done.
Market research and understanding
Markets are perpetually changing, and it's essential to keep up. A brand strategist can help you understand your customer’s needs and wants, who they are, what they want, what makes them tick, and, yes, what makes them buy too. Running customer interviews, surveys, polls, and focus groups will go a long way in going past assumptions and into what your ideal customers actually want from you.
Uncovering the brand’s unique offering
Every brand has a unique offering -- even when they seem very familiar with other companies in the same niche. A brand strategist can help you uncover the unique angles of your product or service and create messaging, visuals, and other elements that set your business apart from the competition.
Building a strategy for the marketing team
Your marketing team needs an overall strategy to help them make decisions and pick the right tactics. A brand strategist can craft this strategy, define what business goals need to be achieved, and choose the tactics your team needs to implement for successful results.
Creating the tone of voice and editorial guidelines
A brand strategist's job is to ensure your brand is consistent across the board, including in your communications. They will help you create the right tone of voice for your business and editorial guidelines that ensure anyone creating content adheres to it.
Building the brand’s story
Lastly, a brand strategist can help you craft a powerful story for your brand. Stories are an essential part of marketing and can create an emotional connection with consumers and make them more likely to take action.
Managing/ collaborating with creatives
Although a brand strategist is not necessarily a creative director, they need to know how to collaborate with creatives (designers, copywriters, video editors, and so on.) They will guide the creative process and ensure the visuals, copy, and other elements express your brand accurately.
How to shortlist brand strategists
Hiring a brand strategist can feel confusing, but here's how to assess your candidates and see if they're right for your business:
Does your chosen brand strategist have solid experience in your industry? Although most brand strategy skills are transferrable, industry knowledge will help them better assess where your business stands -- and where it needs to go from here.
Brand strategists don't work in "voids" -- they need to know how to communicate, interact, and build together with other digital marketing specialists and members of your team. Think of it this way: you don't build a solid house with just one contractor, and don't build a solid, time-tested brand if your brand strategist doesn't properly collaborate with your team.
Reviews, recommendations, and feedback
Ask shortlisted candidates for past projects and reviews from clients. You should also ask for recommendations from other businesses in your industry to ensure you're working with someone experienced and trustworthy.
Top 4 skills brand strategists need to have
When hiring your brand strategist, make sure they have the following skills:
Social media marketing
Social media is the place to be these days. As more and more people want to consume platform-specific content, your brand strategist needs to understand the different platforms and how to build a social media strategy that aims for maximum impact.
SEO and organic search marketing
SEO (search engine optimization) and organic search marketing can be an inexpensive yet efficient way to build an audience, get your message out there, and put your business in front of more potential customers. A brand strategist may not be an expert SEO marketing specialist, of course -- but having solid knowledge of how search engine optimization works will help them design solid, efficient strategies.
Good design is essential today, from logos and website designs to billboards and TV ads. A brand strategist should understand graphic design basics and have an eye for good visuals that will help your brand stand out from the crowd.
Your brand strategy consultant needs to be able to thoroughly research your market, ideal customers, and competitors to get an accurate understanding of where your business stands. They'll need to use research results to create a strategy that will give you the best competitive advantage.
How much does a freelance brand strategist cost?
A freelance brand strategist can cost between $65 and $185 per hour, depending on how experienced they are, what their track record is, what brands they have in their portfolio, how knowledgeable they are in a specific industry, and so on.
How to hire a brand strategist
There are many ways to hire a brand strategist, such as:
Post on a job board
Posting a brand strategist opening on a job board can attract many candidates, bringing many advantages (as you'll have a larger pool of candidates to choose from), but it can also be very time-consuming. This may be the right option if you have enough time to sift through dozens of applications and undergo a more traditional recruitment process.
Hire on freelance platforms
Upwork, Guru, Fiverr, and other similar sites have a huge pool of freelancers in every industry and specialization, so you have plenty of options. You can hire privately (i.e., filter potential candidates and contact them) or post a job as you normally would on any other job board.
Ask for referrals
If you want to hire someone who comes with a recommendation from someone you know and fast-track the hiring process, asking your business contacts and associates for referrals can be a great option. You'll have more trust in the candidate you hire this way, as you will be able to get a sense of their work and experience from someone who is already familiar with them.
Hire on Mayple
Hiring on Mayple is one of the easiest, fastest, and most efficient ways to start working with a brand strategist. We only work with vetted specialists with a proven track record of success in specific industries, and we can match you with the best ones for your business in a matter of days. Contact us and let's discuss your needs!