We are going to take a deeper look at the role of brand consultants, how they can help your business and some of the key things that must be considered when hiring a brand consultant.
We look at how brand consultants can impact your business, marketing efforts and ultimately how they can support you to grow and build a better, more profitable business.
Ever wondered how some brands are so memorable, distinctive or even disruptive? In some cases the business name can impact this but for many it is because they have a very clear vision.
Their persona and identity is incredibly strong. They relentlessly drive forward and ensure everything is aligned towards their longer term branding strategy. Every customer touchpoint is consistent in design and communication and in doing so they create a holistic and cohesive brand.
One thing we can all agree on is that typically marketing activity has a short term focus. Whereas brand consulting and brand building is considered a longer term strategy.
Building your business and consistently positioning it in the minds of your customer will impact things such as sales, business growth and profitability. It will also help to shape and determine things such as your brand personality, brand values and brand loyalty.
These are commonly some of things businesses find challenging and where a brand consultant can help you work through these issues.
Working with a brand consultant can give you a competitive advantage over your competitors. It means that you no longer have to compete on price, offers or even product/service offering.
Building and nurturing your brand will help position your business for future growth. Brand consultants often see the businesses who take the time to invest in their brand development outperform their competitors by +30%. They build lasting relationships with their customers that are built on trust and in doing so are rewarded with long-term customer loyalty.
Market research and understanding your target audience is something a brand consultant will do to help form the core pillars and brand foundation. All businesses have a story to tell but many struggle to do so in a way which is meaningful and compelling for your target audience.
Brand consultants can help to guide and shape that story so that it successfully positions your business in the minds of your customers. Brand consultants can help develop a tone of voice, and market position that attracts your target clientele, and this is where a brand strategist (or brand consultant) uses their expertise to help you.
Consumers want to purchase from businesses that they feel aligned with. They look for shared values and understand that the brands they buy into say something about their own identity. Brand consultants enable you to connect with your audience on a deeper level.
They understand that a company’s brand has the ability to connect with people on an emotional level. Creating something that goes beyond a product or service. Branding consultants will elevate your business tremendously.
Are you looking for a branding consultant?
Are your marketing campaigns resonating with your customers?
We will answer all these questions below so read on if you wish to know how a brand consultant can transform your business! Or, need our help right now… Lets Talk!
Why is brand strategy important?
You may not know it but your brand strategy affects every element of your business. A well defined brand strategy helps to align your team, connect with your customers and your customers needs and helps to clearly define and position you away from your competitors.
Clarity in your communication overcomes any challenges you have when it comes to differentiating your products or services. Brand strategy focuses less on what you do but the real reason behind why.
A brand consultant will help to visualise and communicate a wider more long term vision. Many brand consultants will support how you aim to reach those goals, prioritise the things that you value the most and importantly set out any promises and commitments you intend to make to your customers.
Your branding strategy is what helps you to consistently communicate across all customer touch-points. These touch points could be online (apps, social media, website, online store) or they could be in person experiences (interiors, print, conversations/talks, events).
Effective branding strategies will enable your business to transform new customers into returning customers. A brand strategist or good branding consultant can help you to connect with your target market and clearly differentiate you from your competitor brands.
Every business should have a mission and compelling reason why they get out of bed every morning. A brand consultant can help to build the clarity needed around this to transform it into a meaningful brand strategy.
A brand strategy will help to clearly define and communicate this mission and help to build intangible brand elements. Intangible elements cover things like values, tone of voice, personality and character. When implemented successfully they help to humanise your business and create a much deeper emotional connection with your customer.
Brand consulting helps to educate you on the value these attributes hold and how they can help you to unlock your full potential.
Did you know that we have a Free Brand Strategy Template that you can download and start to work through yourself?
In the most basic form a brand consultancy will help evaluate and improve the performance of your brand. A brand consultant will work with you to understand more about your business, the problems your business solves and any challenges you face with positioning your business successfully in the minds of your target audience.
Any new customer looking to purchase and learn more about your brand will have to take a journey that creates a certain amount of interactions through a variety of different brand touch points. This could be through conversations with your staff, your website, social media, products, email newsletters, brochures, advertisements etc.
Strategic thinking brand consultants typically will have a process that enables them to highlight any areas of your brand that are underperforming or need improving.
Brand consultants work alongside the leadership team (founders, operations, sales, marketing coordinators) to help understand the impact of these issues.
Brand consultants start to engage with businesses that may need support with the following;
- Company’s Brand Image
- Brand’s Target Audience
- Brand Management – Managing Multiple brands
- Marketing Campaigns | Marketing Materials
- Brand Architecture
- Brand Communications – Marketing Messages or Brand Message
- Brand Performance
- Branding Strategies
- Brand Growth
- Brand Guidelines
- Brand Implementation & Brand Training
- Competitive brand analysis
Any successful business needs to be able to clearly communicate why people should care about their offering. Many businesses are very good at communicating what they do and how they do it but have spent considerably less time thinking about the why.
A brand consultant will help provide the clarity around your ‘why’ and then start to build a strategy that will enable you to successfully communicate this internally and externally.
Brand consultant works to each client’s specific goals. By undertaking thorough research into the market, existing performance, and competitors, brand consultants then analyse these points, versus the business goals and target audience.
They create a bespoke strategy for success that is embedded in your brand communication. Brand strategists are focussed on removing any grey areas that exist within the communication of your business.
It is important that clarity is created amongst your team to ensure that you are able to communicate verbally (brand communication and marketing materials) and visually (identity and design) in the most consistent way possible.
We find is that if you were to ask a variety of different people within a business what the brand stands for you will get a number of different responses. This is a problem! The impact of this is that all these different interpretations are communicated throughout your customer touch points.
Communication is a little inconsistent, brand messaging and communication is unclear and creates a disconnect between your business and customers. A branding consultant will help align the team and create the clarity required in order to build a cohesive brand that can be consistently communicated.
Brand consultants are more uniquely positioned to see these issues because they’re not tasked with working within the business. Quite often a brand consultant will quickly notice things that existing teams and staff who are immersed in the business cannot see.
What does a brand consultant do?
A brand consultant could be viewed as an umbrella term for an incredibly in-depth profession with a varied skill set. Brand consultants typically work with the business leaders and wider executive leadership team to ensure there is a good cross section of people involved in the process.
They typically offer complete branding services (listed below), usually used for start-ups, rebranding, or repositioning of existing businesses. Sometimes, as in our case, they are hired to create a brand story for a new brand or product launch or designing brand-led interiors.
As experienced brand consultants we have quite a diverse portfolio and have experience in a number of sectors.
A brand consultant can support businesses with any of the following challenges;
- Competitive Analysis
- Customer Research
- Customer Personas
- Positioning and differentiation
- Implementing a winning strategy
- Brand Equity
- Brand Image
- Communication (verbal and visual design language)
- Vision & purpose
When brand consultants work with a start-up, they work with you to provide clear answers when looking at your target audience, your unique selling point and brand storytelling. They help you to understand things like brand positioning, market positioning, USP, and highlight the value of brand consistency.
An experienced brand consultant will work with you first on the brand strategy and then help to create and design a brand identity that aligns with your core brand DNA. Creating designs that reflect the brand’s values whilst resonating with the target customer.
Brand consultants can also conduct competitor analysis and market research to provide insights that assists with decision making. This methodical approach starts adding the layers and depth your business is missing.
For businesses that have seen slow growth or a drop in performance, hiring a brand consultant is incredibly effective. By hiring an outside branding expert, you are getting a detailed, bespoke audit of your business.
Brand consultants can assess your current brand strategy and compare it to market research and insights, then provide action and consultancy accordingly.
Brand consultants work with a clearly defined process and deliver there expertise in a collaborative workshop format. Brand consultants have excellent communication skills and are able to interact with your team to identify opportunity and present the big picture.
How do I know if my business needs a brand consultant?
When your in the throes of your business, it’s very easy to become blinded to what you may need, you are so busy with the day-to-day running, that there is very little time and headspace for anything else. Maybe, until now, you didn’t realise businesses like brand consulting existed either!
Here are some signs that you may benefit from working with a brand consultant:
- Your tone of voice is inconsistent. Are you simple and sustainable, or premium and elegant?
- Business growth is static and you’re not achieving desired numbers.
- You’re getting lost in the market and not standing out against the competition.
- You’re setting up a new business.
- You’re re-inventing your existing business.
- You need to update and modernise to reach a new audience.
- Your business doesn’t connect with your target market
- Your brand doesn’t align with your marketing strategies
- You are struggling with the commercial make up of your brand (brand architecture)
- Your brand seems to be impacting company growth
- Your brand is loosing out to competitors
- Customer feedback about your brand is unsatisfactory
- You are unable to effectively communicate your vision
- Your brand doesn’t meet your client expectations
What should I look for in a brand consultant?
What determines a good brand consultant from a bad one? When it comes to hiring a brand consultant its important to do your due diligence and take time to understand more about their process and historically what brand consulting work they have completed. One of the first things to determine is are you going to work with a brand consultancy like Grey Coffee or are you looking for freelance brand consulting?
Before you appoint a brand consultant you really need to discuss internally as a team the challenges you face. You should determine what you hope to achieve by working with a brand consultant. A good place to start with a brand consultant is with a discovery session. These are typically conversations led by brand consultants that look to ask you lots of different questions to get a better understanding of your business. Following this conversation brand consultants need to transform this into a credible design brief.
We believe that there are two key things that you should look for when looking to work with a brand consultant. Brand consultants typically work in a way that has been refined by their experiences over the years, its important to gain as much insight on this as possible.
The first of which is social proof and credibility. Have they worked with brands similar to yours or in the same industry or vertical maybe. Take time to learn more about those projects and understand the work the brand consultant carried out and implemented. What kind of impact did the brand consultant have on the business and did the customer or client provide a testimonial that you could review? At Grey Coffee we have testimonials from our clients directly for everyone to see on LinkedIn. We also have a number of case studies in which we’d happily introduce you to the client direct so you can speak to them and learn more about the experience of working with us.
The second key thing that has to be reviewed is the brand process. An experienced brand consultant (or brand consultants) will have refined a process which will help to navigate and guide you through the challenges you face. At Grey Coffee we have a process which we continue to refine and we never go ‘off-piste’ so to speak. We are 100% committed to our brand process and know that our tried and tested process enables us to consistently control the quality of the outcomes we deliver for our clients.
Brand consulting isn’t simply about providing insight on the latest trends. It requires the skills of a brand strategist to ask the right questions, uncover insight and go beyond just the surface level information to unlock your full brand potential.
Finally above all it is important to find a brand consultant that you feel you will be able to build a good relationship with. You are going to be spending a significant amount of time with your selected brand consultant so it’s important you pick someone that you feel is not only aligned with your business but also someone that you feel you will have a good working relationship with. brand consultants need to display good analytical skills, a clear understanding of business, marketing principles and excellent project management skills.
How will a brand consultant help my business?
A brand consultant can help your business in many ways. Companies with a solid brand are strong and cohesive in owning their brand identity. So much so that no decision is made without questioning whether it’s aligned with the brand.
The first and most obvious is the work a brand consultant will do to help provide the clarity you need to develop a winning brand strategy. So many of us are immersed and totally consumed in our business and trying to take a look from ‘the outside-in’ is impossible. A brand consultant will give you that perspective and challenge your thoughts on how you can be better positioned to outperform your competitors.
One of the biggest challenges brand consultants need to overcome is aligning the whole team on what the brand stands for and more importantly how this is communicated. So often we’ve come across business owners that can’t communicate what they do with complete clarity. That or they are the complete opposite, given the opportunity to talk about their business they won’t shut up. Being able to clearly communicate why you do what you do, what you do and how you do it is something that needs to be considered and a brand consultant can help to consistently deliver your story (verbally & visually) across the whole business.
These are the key benefits a brand consultant can help you with internally as a business. The brand communication you put out to the world has to start with your team. If the messages and information they receive are inconsistent, unclear and confusing how do you expect them to relay this beyond the four walls of your business in a creative and compelling way?
A brand consultant allows you to run a business with personality, and integrity but just as importantly, with cohesiveness and consistency.
Next you have to understand how your brand communicates across all channels. Many businesses want to build a cohesive brand that consistently communicates across all customer touch points. The answer to this isn’t by making everything the same in terms of look and feel but thinking more about the customer experience. A brand consultant will help you to understand and ensure how everything you create as a business is aligned with your wider vision.
Every business has a gap that exists between their business and the customer. Unlocking your full potential and actually building your brand helps to reduce this gap. Your brand helps to connect the dots along the journey for the customer and when done in a meaningful and compelling way it will elevate your business to new heights. Simply put a brand consultant will help you to connect the dots.
Your customers will feel like you really understand them and as this relationship develops this builds trust and loyalty. Your brand will help turn new customers into returning customers which will not only impact sales but it also impacts business growth.
It’s very easy for competitors to copy your products, services or offers even. However, when you build a brand that is distinctly unique and tells a compelling story this is something your competitors can’t copy. Your brand identity is unique, it’s something that a brand consultant can build for you that acts a blueprint for your future, creating something that can be referenced at every turn.
Brand consultants create long term relationships with your team and business and help to position the business for long-term growth. Whilst many may think the cost of brand consulting is very high we often like to present the cost of opportunity in not developing your brand and making it even more profitable than it already is.
If you found this post interesting then you may want to have a look through some of our other insights:
An insight into Brand Strategy and Brand Workshops
Best Branding Books & Brand Authors
Free Brand Strategy Template
Brand Communication & Brand Communication Strategy
A guide to Brand Values
Brand Strategy For Hospitality
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