How To Become A Brand Strategist

[Step-By-Step Guide]

So you want to learn how to become a brand strategist right?

It’s no surprise.

Whether you’re in branding, marketing, social media or copywriting, all roads lead back to the brand strategist.

You see the strategist is the brand navigator who maps the landscape, sets the course and plans the route to brand success.

Brand strategy was once reserved for global brands, but more and more business owners are beginning to understand the importance of brandand the strategy that builds it.

In this article, you’ll learn how to become a brand strategist so you can build successful strategic brands and raise your specialist profile.

So you want to learn how to become a brand strategist right?

It’s no surprise.

Whether you’re in branding, marketing, social media or copywriting, all roads lead back to the brand strategist.

You see the strategist is the brand navigator who maps the landscape, sets the course and plans the route to brand success.

Brand strategy was once reserved for global brands, but more and more business owners are beginning to understand the importance of brandand the strategy that builds it.

In this article, you’ll learn how to become a brand strategist so you can build successful strategic brands and raise your specialist profile.

How To Become A Brand Strategist
[The Video Breakdown]

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Brand Strategist Definition

Before we define what a brand strategist is, let’s clear up exactly what brand strategy is.

Brand strategy is the plan of brand expression

The goal of any brand is to shape the perceptions of its audience to ultimately influence their buying decision both short and long term.

The brands strategy therefore, sets out the plan for shaping those perceptions through its various forms of brand expression including visual-verbal and otherwise.

So, What Does A Brand Strategist Do?

So, if the brand strategy is a plan of brand expression…

The brand strategist is the chief planner of the brand strategy who defines the Who, What, How, Where and When of the brand expression.

In other words, the brand strategist’s job is to identify and strategise…

Who the audience is

What the brand offers

How to resonate with brand messaging

Where to engage

When to engage

The Key Role Of The Strategist

The roles and tasks of a brand strategist are many though the overarching role is:

  • To bring the audience and the brand together.

The brand strategist does this by obtaining an almost obsessive understanding of who the audience is before positioning the brand as a perfect solution.

Using their understanding of their audience including their personality, journey and emotional investment, they formulate a plan to engage them.

The end goal of the brand strategist is to ultimately influence the audience’s perception of the brand as the most appropriate solution to their want or need and build a strong relationship with that audience.

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Qualifications For A Brand Strategist

The qualifications of strategists in branding are broadly varied.

Though education across the marketing sector is advantageous, many successful brand strategists have come from a wide range of communication roles, some with little to no university background.

As with most industries today, evolution is fast paced and the many techniques taught by universities just five years ago are now obsolete.

The modern strategist has their finger on the pulse of the industry, their tools and more importantly, their audiences.

Common Brand Strategist Career Path

Traditionally, there has been no direct educational route to become a brand strategist.

Brand strategy has been historically relegated to a footnote in almost all bachelor of marketing degrees with few opportunities for specialisation.

Those in brand strategy positions across the Fortune 500 almost always cut their teeth in traditional marketing positions before climbing their way to the role of chief brand navigator.

Today however, the role of brand strategy and with it, the brand strategist is experiencing increasing importance.

The Rise Of The Freelance Strategist

Our decreasing tolerance for push marketing is at an all-time low, which is coinciding with the increased importance of “brand”, “branding” and “brand strategy”.

Every business influencer from Gary Vaynerchuck to Grant Cardone is talking to their audience about the importance of their brand and having a plan to communicate that brand.

This means every entrepreneur creating a business whether they’re funded with $100 million or are bootstrapping it from their basement, are going out in search of strategists to help them with their brand.

Today, more professionals in the branding and marketing space from designers to copywriters are leveling up their skills, becoming brand strategists to serve this growing demand.

What Does A Brand Strategist Do?

There are many tasks at hand in the building and development of a strategic brand.

Depending on the experience of the strategist and the budget of the company, the strategist will take on some or all of these roles.

Task #1
Audience Research

One of the first tasks is to understand the audience the brand wants to connect with in great detail.

By create an audience persona (or multiple personas), the brand is armed with a crystal clear idea of who they’re attempting to engage with.

Through their personal preferences, situation, journey, challenges, pain-points and emotions, the strategist can devise a plan to connect and resonate with this group of people.

Task #2
Competitive research

Through understanding the audience and their needs, you can begin to understand the options that already exist for them in the marketplace.

The brands offering these options represent the competition and in order to position the brand effectively, the strategist must have a laser-focused understanding of the competitive landscape.

This understanding paves the way for gaps and opportunities for the brand to take advantage of.

Task #3
Brand Positioning

Defining the position of the brand through a unique differentiation strategy is one of the most important roles of the strategist.

Through an intimate understanding of the market landscape including the audience and competitors, the strategist, working closely with the leadership team, must define the difference they will represent to the audience.

This difference and its subsequent value to the audience becomes the focal point fore the messaging strategy and influences the entire brand building process from this point on.

Task #4
Human Brand Persona

If the role of the strategist is to bring the audience and the brand together, then they must use every tool available to make that happen.

Brand personality, language and tone of voice are all strategic brand elements that humanise the brand.

This humanisation through a human brand persona shapes how the brand will deliver its message and will enable the brand to connect and resonate with the audience through characteristics and human expression.

Task #5
Brand Messaging + Copywriting

One of the most important tasks in developing a strategic brand is the development of the strategic messaging.

The work up until this point including research, development, positioning strategy and human persona, set the tone for the brand messaging.

Defining the key messages that will shape the audiences understanding and perception of the brand will go a long way to the brand solidifying its position in their mind.

Few tasks influence the success or failure of a brand as much as its messaging strategy.

Task #6
Brand Storytelling