In any business, the role of a brand strategist is critical to success. A good brand strategist can bring a company together, sway public opinion, and even create and oversee the brand identity. This is especially important during economic downturns when products and services become commodities and marketing becomes key to differentiating a company from its competitors.
If you have the desire to learn, analytic skills, and an understanding of creative psychology, you can train yourself to become a brand strategist. Some people think that strategists are born, not made, but anyone can excel in this field with the right qualities. Though a degree in psychology, writing, design, business or the arts helps, it is optional to begin working as a brand strategist.
So, how to become a brand strategist? Let's find out!
What Is a Brand Strategist?
A company's brand strategist plans how to best present the company's product or service to potential customers to influence their opinions and buying decisions positively. This involves creating written, verbal and visual content that portrays the brand in a positive light and emphasizes how the product or service can solve the customer's problem. A brand strategist's ultimate goal is to gain their audience's approval and trust so that they can recommend or buy the company's product or service.
What Does a Brand Strategist Do?
A brand strategist's job is to develop a company's messaging and ensure it is the same no matter where customers see or hear it. This could involve:
- Staying up-to-date with market trends and knowing which future trends might harm or help their product/service.
- To develop a marketing plan, analyze market data, customer feedback, and survey responses.
- Brainstorming possible names for your new product or service
- Renewing the look of existing products or services
- Discovering the target audience
- Brand positioning
- Developing and targeting buyer personas
- Conduct yearly or biannual audits to assess where the brand stands in the market and how it can be fortified.
- Building brand architecture through logos, messaging, creative materials, and marketing campaigns
- Creating brand stories that customers can emotionally connect to and learn about a product or service.
- Being tasked with ensuring all brand creative—advertisements, presentations, catalogs, sales sheets, social media campaigns, blogs, and testimonials—have a consistent tone message.
- Producing a steady stream of content for marketing channels
- Knowing your business's strengths and weaknesses relative to competitors is key to success.
Brand strategists typically report to a brand manager or marketing director. Depending on the company's size, they might work closely with copywriters, graphic designers, agencies, and video producers - in-house or freelance. Brand strategists usually spend their time working in an office but occasionally travel to photo or video shoots to guarantee that they deliver a consistent brand message wherever possible.
How Much Does a Brand Strategist Make?
- A Brand Strategist in the United States can expect to earn a median salary of $65,626 per year and an additional estimated $21,349 per year in bonus pay.
- The median salary for a Brand Strategist in the United Kingdom is £37,500 per year. On top of that, they receive an estimated £2,833 per year in bonus pay.
- In Canada, the average annual salary for a Brand Strategist is C$51,666, with an estimate of an additional C$17,083 in bonus pay.
- A Brand Strategist in Australia usually earns a yearly salary of AU$85,000 plus an extra estimated AU$14,583 in bonus pay.
How to Become a Brand Strategist
So you've set your sights on becoming a brand strategist. Here are eleven steps you can take to make your dream a reality:
Get the Necessary Education and Experience
Though a degree in psychology, writing, design, business, or the arts helps, it is by no means necessary to begin working as a brand strategist. If you don't have any relevant post-secondary education, consider taking some courses or earning a degree that will give you the skillset required for the job. You can also get your foot in the door by working as an advertising or marketing agency intern.
Develop Your Portfolio
As with any creative field, your portfolio is key to getting hired as a brand strategist. Start by putting together a collection of your best work, including any campaigns you've worked on, messaging or position statements you've written, and any rebranding projects you've been a part of. Then, if you don't have any professional experience yet, create some mock campaigns or brand identity guidelines to show off your skills.
Work on Your Resume
Next, update your resume to reflect your experience and skills as a brand strategist. Be sure to include any relevant coursework, internships, or volunteer work you've done in the field. If you have professional experience, list your job title, duties, and accomplishments. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employers also value writing skills, so be sure to showcase your abilities in this area.
Stay Up-to-Date with Industry Trends
The world of branding is constantly evolving, so it's important to stay on top of the latest trends and developments. Read industry publications, attend conferences and networking events, and follow thought leaders on social media. This will not only make you more knowledgeable and well-rounded, but it will also help you make connections in the industry.
Work on Your Soft Skills
In addition to being creative and knowledgeable about the latest industry trends, successful brand strategists also need to have strong, soft skills. This includes excellent communication, interpersonal, and problem-solving skills. If you're not naturally gifted in these areas, there are plenty of books and online resources that can help you improve.
Have the Ability to Engage and Drive Teams
As a brand strategist, you'll be working with a variety of different teams, so it's important that you're able to engage and motivate them. This includes effectively communicating your ideas, giving constructive feedback, and managing conflict. In a survey of over 1,000 marketing professionals, being a good team player was cited as one of the most important industry success qualities.
Be Passionate About Your Work
Working in branding can be challenging and can sometimes be thankless. But that's why being passionate about what you do is so important. When you love what you do, staying motivated and putting in the extra work required to succeed is much easier.
Build a Strong Network
As with any career, networking is essential to becoming a brand strategist. Get connected with other professionals in the field, whether it's through social media, industry events, or professional organizations. Not only will this help you meet potential mentors and collaborators, but it will also give you a better understanding of what the job entails and what it takes to be successful.
In addition to networking, you also need to market yourself if you want to become a brand strategist. Start by creating an online portfolio that showcases your work, skills, and experience. Then, promote your skillset on social media and other professional platforms. And don't forget to stay humble - even the most successful brand strategists had to start somewhere.
Pursue a Master's Degree in Business or Marketing
While not required, pursuing a master's degree in business or marketing can give you the knowledge and skills you need to be successful in the field. A master's program will also give you the opportunity to network with other professionals and build your portfolio. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for brand strategists is $85,260. However, those with a master's degree can earn an average of 20% more.
Never Stop Learning
Lastly, as a brand strategist, you should never stop learning. This means continually expanding your knowledge, experimenting with new ideas, and pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone. The best way to do this is to always be on the lookout for new opportunities and embrace change.
There is no one-size-fits-all formula for becoming a brand strategist. However, by following the steps above, you'll be well on your way to success in this exciting and ever-changing field.
There you have it! These are just a few tips on how to become a brand strategist. Remember, it's important to be creative, knowledgeable about the latest industry trends, and have strong soft skills. Additionally, you should never stop learning and always be on the lookout for new opportunities. If you can do all of this, then you'll be well on your way to a successful career in branding.