How To Become A Brand Strategist
[Just Creative Q&A #2]

What to learn how to become a brand strategist?

In this Q&A with Jacob Cass from JUST Creative, we dive deep into some of the most frequently asked questions.

Some of the questions that we cover include:

How to sell brand strategy?

What the deliverables are of brand strategy?

Do you need to become a brand strategist?

Can you not just be a designer today?

There’s a lot of talk about brand strategy as a road that you need to go down so we get into all of those details and more in this session so check it out!

How To Become A Brand Strategist
[The Video Breakdown]

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Question #1
Do All Designers Need To Become
Brand Strategists?

Jacob Cass

“There’s a lot of disconnect about what brands strategy is and what it’s not. It means something different to everyone and some people may feel like it’s not enough just to be a designer anymore.

Do all designers need to evolve to become brand strategists?”

Stephen Houraghan (Summarized)

“Regardless of the design field you’re in, whether it’s graphic design, print design, brand design UX design, if you love what you do and you don’t need anything more, then no, you don’t have to become anything else.

Especially if you’re:

Doing the work you love

Working with the clients you want to work with

Earning the money you want to earn

But if that isn’t your situation and you want to evolve on what your doing or you want to:

Provide a higher level of service

Work with bigger clients

Charge higher fees

Then in the field of branding, providing brand strategy services is the obvious route for you to evolve as a brand specialist.”

Question #2
What Is Brand Strategy And What Are The Deliverables Of Brand Strategy?

Jacob Cass

“I want to move into the next question, which was from Nicole Williams, which was “What exactly is brand strategy and what are the deliverables of brand strategy be apart from the logo?

I had a similar question when I first heard about brand strategy, how was it different to what I was already doing, is there a document outlining how the brand should work.

So a good question and I think a lot of designers would love to hear your answer.”

Stephen Houraghan (summarised)

“When you provide logo designs, you provide the visual aspect of the brand.

You hand over the artwork files and if you’ve developed a brand identity system, then possibly a style guide too.

Brand strategy on the other hand, defines how the brand will express itself in the market not just through it’s looks but through its position, its messaging, its personality and its visuals.

All of these elements need to be developed strategically which starts with who the audience is and what challenges they have.

The end product of this strategic work is a plan and a guide to express the brand as is defined from the strategic work.

The deliverable is a brand management guide that defines the expression of the brand which is applied to all brand communication and all touch points.

It allows the brand manager to express the brand strategically in the market.

The brand strategy may also include a brand awareness campaign or marketing strategy, which outlines the strategic plan of delivering the brand messages to the audience in the most effective way.”

Question #3
How Do You Sell Brand Strategy?

Jacob Cass

“Well said, thanks for that insight I think the next leading question would be from Bautista de Lusarreta, I’m sorry if I butchered your name.

The question is: How do we validate a brand strategy session, I’m guessing he’s asking how do you sell through strategy and the value of it.”

Stephen Houraghan (Summarised)

“If you have prospects asking you “how much for a logo?”, then chances are you haven’t positioned your own brand effectively enough.

When you begin to offer brand strategy services, you want to make room for these clients by turning down clients who don’t fit the mould.

This is a great place to start to polish your “brand strategy conversion” skills.

When a prospect asks for a logo, ask them if they have any strategic direction for you in the way of a brand strategy.

Of course they won’t but it opens up the conversation for you to educate them on what branding actually is.

Most prospects aren’t necessarily looking for the lowest price. They want the right advice and they want to give their business the best possible chance for success.

You would rather a mechanic tell you what the real problem is with your car rather than simply fixing what you thought was the problem. We’re not only happy to pay the extra amount, we’re grateful for the mechanics expertise.

By discussing brand strategy, you educate your prospects.

If you do it effectively, they will have their own epiphany and come to their own conclusion that a logo won’t give them the tools they need to build a successful brand.

This is how you sell strategy. Not by “being salesy” or trying to “close the deal”, but by simply highlighting the strategic road that’s most likely to get them to where they want to go.

This is also a very good way to filter out clients who chase the lowest price, which are often the clients you lose money on.”

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Question #4
How Do You Take A Client ThroughA Brand Strategy Session? 

Jacob Cass

“So once we’ve sold it through, how do we actually start with brand strategy how do we go through a session with the client? and that question is from Prince Symenouh.”

Stephen Houraghan (Summarised)

“When you talk to your prospects, you are the brand and they are the audience. This is brand strategy 101.

You want to understand them as best you can.

Showing this understanding allows you to resonate with them and begins your relationship off on the right foot.

You need to open the floor for them to talk about their business. They’re most likely passionate about it and we love to talk about our passions.

By asking questions and showing genuine interest in their idea and vision, you create a bond that you can build on.

From this point, you want to encourage their idea and offer some valuable insights about how they can get to where they need to go.

As you ask these questions, you want to gather all of this information which will for the initial input in your brand development, however, this is only the bare bones and will evolve through extensive research and development.

Most of the brand development work is done behind the scenes. Extensive research uncovers gaps opportunities to position the brand effectively.

When a brand position has been identified through extensive research on the audience and the competition in the market, you have a strong foundation for the rest of the brand to be developed.

From here you build the brand block by block including the human brand persona, brand personality, brand voice, messaging framework, storytelling, visual identity and brand collateral.

Build a strategic brand like this takes a lot of workbut it’s not difficult. The Brand Master Secrets course has all of the tools, techniques and processes you need and shows you step by step how to build a strategic brand.

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Question #5
How Do You Find And DevelopThe Personality Of Your Brand?

Jacob Cass

“”I’m always told in branding workshops that your brand needs to have a personality my question is how do you find and develop the personality of your brand?”

Stephen Houraghan (Summarised)

“This is one of the areas that got me hooked on brand strategy because it starts to go into the science and psychology behind branding.

I use a scientific framework called brand archetypes which has been around since the early 1900’s.

Archetypes are a set of 12 distinct personality types that represent all personalities.

Each personality has unique characteristics and are driven by specific desires. Our desires dictate the characteristics we’re most attracted to which allows us to use these characteristics to appeal to our audiences.

But archetypes are only the framework

Once you identify the personality type of your audience and adopt an archetype most likely to appeal to them, then we need to further develop that personality so it starts to feel like a real person with attitudes on life an opinions on the world.

The relationship between brands and consumers has changed. We demand more from brands today and expect them to talk to us on a human level with personality.

The more you understand about your audience, their personality, how they speak , the language they use, what inspires them, the better positioned you are to develop a personality that will appeal to them.”

Question #6
How Do You Balance Authentic Expression And Being Relatable? 

Jacob Cass

“I also find that fascinating. The next question I have is from Janelle Mccomie : how does one find a balance between authentic personal expression and being relatable to your target market when it comes to personal branding?

Stephen Houraghan (Summarised)

“When building a business brand, we’re attempting to make than brand as human as possible.

When it comes to personal branding, the brand is already human.

There is only one way to do authenticity and that is to be truly authentic. No brand archetype or developed brand personality can ever replace genuine authenticity.

If you were to develop a personality for you personal brand that is not you, then that’s the definition of inauthenticity.

So you need to connect and resonate with you audience based on who you really are. So find the common traits between you and your intended audience.

Identify and extract those characteristics they’re most likely to be attracted to you and go all in on being you.

It’s not easy in the beginning but give yourself the room to make mistakes and find your voice and it will eventually click. Once it does, you can start to be yourself and that’s when your real personality and true authenticity comes out.”

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Question #7
How Do You Develop A Good Brand Name?

Jacob Cass

“Ubakanma Amaka & Ha Designer asks: how do you develop a good brand name?”

Stephen Houraghan (Summarised)

“Unfortunately as brand builders we often don’t get the opportunity to work on the brand name because in most cases our clients come to us with a brand name they’re already attached to.

In my own brand building process and the brand building process I teach, we don’t address the brand name until late into the process when a lot of work in terms of the position and the personality and even the communication framework has been developed.

The tagline and the name are developed at roughly the same stage because they’re both strategic tools that share the same goal and they’re goal is to plant a seed in the mind of the audience in order to associate the brand with a difference a value or an idea.

If we’re armed with the information as to why our brand is going to be different, the value of that difference and wheat we want our audience to remember and associate with our brand then we’re in a much stronger position to be able to develop a name that has the best chance of achieving its goal.

So an effective name should consider all of the strategic branding elements that we want the audience to know, understand and remember about the brand and then we can develop a really effective brand name.”

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  1. Very insightful and inspirational, thank you for taking the time gentlemen, this is greatly appreciated. I definitely want to sink my teeth into learning this skill so that I can better service my clients.

    1. Thanks Anesu,

      Delighted you’re enjoying the content.

      It’s definitely a skill that will boost your branding career no matter what aspect of brand building you’re part of from design to copywriting to strategy itself


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