As both a former brand founder and in-house marketer, I know what it's like to see a brand from an internal lens.
Between the blind spots and the curse of knowledge, you often need someone to reflect a mirror on your brand and show you what the world actually sees.
To do this, it helps to with work with an external partner.
The question is should you hire a brand coach, a brand strategist, a brand designer, or a marketing consultant?
Below I dig into the specifics of each role, so you know who to partner with, and when.
What does a brand coach do?
When you don't know what your brand stands for, or the direction to take your brand, it's time to work with a brand coach.
Because the best brands are built from the inside out, a brand coach will guide you inward to uncover your brand compass.
This compass consists of your guiding principles:
- Stories (origin story, pivotal moments, perspectives)
- Core Values (beliefs)
- Purpose (reason for existing)
- Mission (point of differentiation)
- Vision (goals)
Coaching facilitates self-discovery and gets to the root of what drives you. A brand coach will uncover what makes you, you, so your brand can be a true expression of your purpose.
With this compass, you'll have the clarity to know what aligned steps to take next. And you'll create a brand that will emotionally resonate with those who connect with your purpose.
What does a brand strategist do?
Once you know what your brand stands for, a brand strategist will help you evoke emotional connection through verbal expression.
Brand strategy is the disciplined process of building a compelling and cohesive brand through:
- Cultural Landscape (underlying themes, trends, market conditions)
- Brand Archetypes (consumer target, tone of voice, key adjectives etc.)
- Niche Positioning (partnerships, associations)
- Content Pillars (relevant, resonant content ideas)
With these elements in place, you'll have a strategic communications guide to outwardly express what your brand stands for.
What does a brand designer do?
When it comes to the brand identity and the visual expression of a brand, it's time to work with a brand designer or brand stylist.
To ensure consistency and reduce back and forth, engage a brand designer only after you've worked with a brand strategist to hone in on your communication guidelines and guiding principles.
Based on your brand strategy work, a brand designer will create a cohesive visual style guide to bring your brand to life.
Brand identity design is the creative process of building a brand, it consists of tangible elements like:
- Color Schemes
- Graphic Design
- Website Design
- Social Media Content
Brand identity design is evoking emotional connection through visual expression.
While I don't offer brand design work, I'll be there to coach you through the process to ensure all elements of your brand are aligned.
What does a marketing consultant do?
The key difference between a brand strategist and a marketing consultant is a brand strategist focuses on the macro, long-term view of your brand. A marketing consultant focuses on micro, short-term tactics. They're executors who are responsible for tangible deliverables.
Typically, marketing consultants are subject matter experts in a specific area of marketing:
- Content Marketing
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
- Public Relations
- Influencer/Brand Partnerships
- Digital Advertising
If you want to build an enduring brand, it's critical to work with a brand strategist before hiring a marketing consultant to execute.
Brand strategist takes a brand from a commodity product to a meaningful brand that resonates on an emotional level. We're living in a purpose economy, brand strategy is more important than ever before.