You love your business but you feel a bit “meh” about your brand. You know you need to invest in your brand and do something about the inconsistencies and the confusion. You know you have an amazing product or service and if people could just see it that way your business would take off.
You know that clarity that you seek is possible with the help of a branding expert.
But during your search you’re left with more questions than answers. There are brand designers, brand strategists, and professionals who do both. How do you choose the right fit for your company?
First, let’s break down the differences between a brand strategist and a brand designer.
What is a Brand Strategist and What Do They Do?
Your brand is essentially the “soul” of your company. Who is your company, what do they stand for and how do you present yourself to the world? Not just visually, but in the way that you speak, behave, and move through the world?
These are the things a brand strategist considers. These elements are incredibly important because they play into the subconscious bias that people have when it comes to your company. This can affect everything from sales, to consumer trust to developing business partnerships with other entrepreneurs.
A brand strategist will work with you to position your company in the market and manage your customer’s perceptions of your company. A brand strategist will also do market research, customer research, industry research using a mix of qualitative (observation-oriented) and quantitative (data-oriented) research methods. They should have also have a good understanding of business strategy and marketing. A brand strategist will consult, prepare research and strategy for your business.
What is a Brand Designer and What Do They Do?
When it comes to your brand, people often think of the visual elements – like your logo, colours and fonts. This is what we call your company’s visual identity, and this is where brand designers are focused. A brand designer will typically have a graphic design background and work with you to design a brand that will visually resonate with your audience.
Why is it important to have a solid visual identity? Again, visuals have a big impact on consumer behaviour. We unconsciously associate the level of design with the quality of the product, whether we’ve got an eye for design or not.
Branding Experts Who Offer Strategy and Design
These days it’s really not uncommon to find professionals who offer a blend of both. The benefit of this is that the visual and non-visual elements are both considered with equal importance. More and more, designers are learning the importance of having a strategy behind their design choices and the impact that design can have on a company’s position in the market. Not all brand strategy is created equal. You’ll find different levels of market knowledge, understanding of consumer behaviour, and attention to quantitative and qualitative research.
Personally, I have a graphic design background and a business marketing background, so I offer a blend of both, leaning heavily into strategy. At the end of the day I would consider myself a strategist first. I’ve always been interested in psychology and consumer behaviour and I know how big of a role these play in how people interact with your brand – whether your business is big or small. I also know how crucial it is to have a well-designed brand in order to build trust with your customers!
What’s Right for Your Business?
What’s right for your business will depend on your personal situation. How many years have you been in business? How much can you afford to invest? What goals are you hoping to achieve through working with a branding expert? Is your company struggling more with design, or are you lacking direction, or is it a bit of both? When considering branding experts you should also look at case studies or examples of their work with past clients.
Every business is different and will have different needs. With a little research you’ll be able to find out which branding expert is best for you.