A brand strategist is a marketing professional responsible for a company’s messaging and strategy. Effective brand strategists understand their company’s product and target audience and can design customer experiences that result in sales. Individuals with a variety of degrees, training and backgrounds can become brand strategists. In this article, we describe what brand strategists do and how to become one.
What is a brand strategist?
A company’s brand strategist studies the market and creates a plan to influence their target audience’s opinions and buying decisions. They use written, verbal and visual methods to describe and portray the brand to potential customers. They want their product or service to be the solution to their ideal customer’s problem. A brand strategist’s goal is to gain their audience’s approval and trust so they ultimately recommend or buy the company’s product or service.
Related: A Guide To Careers in Marketing: Requirements, Jobs and Tips
What does a brand strategist do?
A brand strategist creates brand messaging and makes sure it is consistent across all mediums and platforms. Their job responsibilities might include:
Researching current market trends and predicting future trends that might affect their product or service’s success
Analyzing market data, customer feedback and survey responses to develop a marketing plan
Researching effective brand names for new products or services
Rebranding existing products or services
Performing target audience research
Brand positioning, which involves defining the benefits the target audience thinks of when they hear the brand’s name
Creating buyer personas, which are descriptions of the company’s ideal customer that include their age, lifestyle, personality, goals, needs and challenges
Doing audits every year or two to assess the brand’s status in the market and ways to strengthen it
Creating brand architecture, which includes the logo, messaging, creative materials and marketing campaigns
Creating brand stories that tell customers about a product or service and try to form an emotional connection with them
Overseeing the production of all brand creative—advertisements, presentations, catalogs, sales sheets, social media campaigns, blogs, testimonials—and ensuring they have a consistent tone and message
Writing consistent content for marketing materials
Doing research to identify competitors and their products’ strengths or weaknesses
Brand strategists usually report to a brand manager or marketing director. Depending on the size of the company, they might work closely with the marketing team, advertising or sales department, copywriters, graphic designers, agencies and video producers. Brand strategists spend most of their time working in an office and might travel to photo or video shoots to make sure they deliver a consistent brand message.
Related: Learn About Being a Brand Manager
How to become a brand strategist
You can become a brand strategist with a variety of degrees and job experiences. However, here are common steps professionals follow to become brand strategists:
- Earn a bachelor’s degree
Nearly all brand strategist positions require candidates to have a four-year bachelor’s degree. Degrees that can give brand strategists the education and background they need to start their careers include English, marketing, psychology, business, design, economics and communications. These programs give you a good foundation in areas such as writing, analysis, strategy and research.
- Gain experience
Start your career by getting an internship or entry-level job in a company’s marketing, public relations, advertising or sales department. You might apply for entry-level jobs such as marketing associate, marketing assistant, advertising representative, social media coordinator, digital marketing assistant or brand ambassador. These types of positions introduce you to the marketing and branding team’s workflow and basic job duties. Observe how strategists and managers create plans and strategies for their brands.
You might also consider working for a creative or advertising agency. Companies often work with these third parties to create their branding and marketing campaigns. At an agency, you get exposed to all parts of the branding and creative process. Your experience working for an agency can help you choose and manage quality agencies when you later become a brand strategist.
- Develop your writing skills
Brand strategists are often responsible for or work closely with copywriters to produce written content for advertisements, white papers, websites, blogs and other materials the company uses to promote its products. Practice your writing skills, and consider taking a copywriting class to learn to write effective headlines, summaries and articles.
- Strengthen your computer skills
Brand strategists should have basic computer skills such as how to use desktop, spreadsheet and presentation programs. If they work closely with the design team, they might also use creative and photo editing software. Brand strategists should have a strong understanding of how various social media platforms work. They should also learn marketing technologies such as analytics programs, content management systems and customer relationship management systems.
- Learn digital marketing
Digital marketing is an increasingly important part of branding and sales. Research digital marketing concepts and practices such as SEO, SEM, website design and optimization, email marketing, social media campaigns, online advertising and metrics analysis. You can also take digital marketing courses online, some of which present you with a certificate upon completion.
Related: Definitive Guide To SEO Marketing
- Learn to lead
As a brand strategist, you give direction to the teams you collaborate with on a campaign, including graphic designers, art directors, copywriters, content managers and creative agencies. Develop leadership skills so you can delegate tasks to the right people and manage teams effectively.
- Become a certified brand strategist
Earning a certification shows employers you are serious about your career and motivated to learn more. Brand strategist certification can also help you prepare for your career if you earned a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated subject or have no previous marketing experience. While many institutions and organizations offer brand strategy courses and certifications, reputable ones include:
The Brand Establishment’s Certified Brand Strategist program, which is an extensive five-month course about brand development
eCornell’s Marketing Strategy Certification Program, which teaches brand marketing concepts such as marketing strategy, distribution strategy, market research and analysis and international marketing and takes three months to complete
The Kellogg School of Management’s brand strategy program, which teaches management-level branding initiatives and takes six weeks to complete
These credentials can impress hiring managers and give you a competitive advantage over other brand strategists.
Related: How To Write a Brand Manager Resume
- Purse a master’s degree
Some employers look for brand strategists with master’s degrees in marketing, marketing science, business administration or a related field. If you want to work in a management role, a master’s might help you qualify for upper-level positions and advance your career quickly.