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What Does a Brand Consultant Do? And How Do I Know When I Need One?

The Benefits of Branding: Why hiring a brand consultant is like having a personal trainer for your brand.

You know the feeling. You decide to get into better shape so you commit to a fitness regimen that can help you get there. This could mean walking on a treadmill, weight training, joining a Pilates class and putting together a nutrition plan. Here’s the thing. A few weeks in, you find you’re not seeing the results you were looking for and become frustrated. The pains are not necessarily translating into the gains you want. It’s then you decide to hire a personal trainer. Someone with the knowledge, experience, and ability to provide you with the discipline, direction, and inspiration you need to get where you want to be. Because generic advice is out there, but you want someone who will personalize a plan, so it’s attainable, realistic and in line with your unique goals. Hiring a personal trainer to help build your body is a lot like hiring a brand consultant to help build your business. Finding the right one can make all the difference.

What is a brand consultant?

A brand consultant provides expert advice and guidance to help you improve your brand image and performance. Brand consultants help you focus and develop effective branding strategies, identify opportunities for brand growth, and help you overcome challenges that have been holding the brand back. Much like a personal trainer, a brand consultant works closely with you to figure out where you are now, where you need to be next and what you’ll need to do to get there. Ultimately, a brand consultant can help improve your brand’s performance, strength, flexibility, and consistency. Just imagine your brand with six-pack abs?  

What’s the difference between a brand consultant and a brand strategist?

The terms “brand strategist” and “brand consultant” are often used interchangeably. Some people make the following distinctions between the two. A brand strategist is someone who works with a company to develop long-term branding goals and approaches. They help define a target audience, develop a unique value proposition, and determine the best channels for reaching an audience and achieving your goals. A brand consultant is someone who is able to see the big picture and offer expert advice and guidance to businesses to help reshape or reinvigorate a brand image or drive performance. In the end, the two roles function in a similar way. So, it’s probably best not to get too caught up in names, and focus more on the outcomes you’re looking for from the expert.  

What exactly does a brand consultant do?

A brand consultant can assume many different roles within an engagement. Among them, they’re tasked with uncovering and interpreting insights, developing go-to-market strategies, and enhancing a brand’s design and communications approach. These tasks often take shape in the following ways:

Research + Insights

  • Conduct market research: Research market and category trends to identify insights that could impact a brand or determine how a brand is positioned in the marketplace. This is particularly valuable in times of dramatic change
  • Analyze voice of customer research: Tap into the current wants, wishes, and needs of customers to better understand what motivates customers to buy. We call it understanding consumer pains, gains and jobs to be done
  • Develop buyer personas: Create customer personas for primary, secondary, and tertiary audiences in order to assure greater relevance. This involves creating a real-life portrait of each target audience, clearly identifying key motivators for action. The better you understand what customers care about, the more likely you are to connect with and influence them
  • Perform competitive brand analysis: Take a comprehensive look at the competitive landscape to see how competitors are positioning themselves and messaging what they do. Compare and contrast to determine the competitive whitespace
Research is a keystone of all brand consulting work. Most key decisions should be based on a foundation of data – about the customer, category, and competition. 

Strategy

  • Develop a brand strategy: Help identify key goals for the brand and then determine the best strategy, or the HOW, to achieving those goals.
  • Craft a brand’s purpose, mission, and values: Work together to determine the brand’s WHY, as in, why it exists and why someone should care about it.
  • Define the brand architecture: Companies with multiple brands can also enlist the help of a brand consultant to make sure each brand lives within a brand architecture. This brand architecture provides a framework that indicates how a brand is structured and how its sub-brands relate to each other.
This will aid in building a deep, textured brand story.

Design

  • Build a bridge between strategic direction and creative expression: A brand consultant plays a key role in interpreting insights and research into actionable creative approaches that are relevant and create value in the minds of customers
  • Fortify company communications: From names and logos to websites, the consultant offers insights and suggestions to enhance communications, marketing messages, experiences and ensure relevance with the target audience
  • Contribute value along the brand’s entire experience: Consultants can also advise on workspaces, offices, storefronts, and other brick-and-mortar spaces to create a strong, cohesive brand that attracts a loyal customer base
  • Provide brand training: Great brands are built from the inside out so assuring adequate adoption and employee buy-in are critical. Consultants can help train employees on how to effectively communicate the brand message and live it each day through their actions
  • Create brand guidelines: Create standards and best practices for how the brand should be used internally and externally to be consistent with the brand identity

Top 10 signs you need a brand consultant now

It’s our experience that hiring a brand consultant is not a luxury, it’s a necessity during times of pervasive change. Take this brief assessment and see which of the following is relevant to you:
  • Your company or industry has experienced significant change
  • Your leadership team is “stuck,” and struggles with a plan moving forward
  • Your company growth is stagnant
  • You’re ready to reach a new market
  • You’ve been through a recent merger or acquisition
  • You’re introducing a new product line
  • Your brand feels outdated
  • Your website lacks focus, has no core story and is not performing well
  • You aren’t tracking results
  • Your customer profiles are unclear and you’re not sure who you’re selling to
If you nodded your head to ANY of these, you probably should talk to a brand consultant.

 

The bigger the change moment, the greater the need for a brand consultant

Every company is dealing with change at some level. We’ve found that the bigger the change moment, the greater your need is for a brand consultant to help you navigate the change and adapt to win. No two companies are alike and are at the exact same place. Our immersive real-world branding framework helps you build the brand solution that fits your unique situation. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our unique approach to brand consulting. Get in touch today to learn more about our unique approach to brand consulting and ensure your brand is in its best shape!

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