Brand strategists raise an organisation's profile by managing the way it interacts with customers and users.
What do brand strategists do?
Branding creates a distinct identity for a product or service, or for the entire image of a company or organisation.
Brand strategy involves proactive management of all the ways in which an organisation interacts with its users or customers. Such ‘touchpoints’ can include:
- visual identity, including logos
- corporate identity
- customer relationship
- physical environments, such as shops and offices.
Why do you need a brand strategy?
The purpose of brand strategy and marketing is to raise a company’s profile. This in turn is intended to help the company grow and increase its market share.
Public and non-profit organisations can also use branding to increase their profile and the uptake of their services, such as public health campaigns.
The work of a brand strategist includes:
- developing marketing plans
- turning the plans into marketing campaigns.
It can also involve partnership marketing with other brands. Marketing and brand strategists will look for other opportunities, such as sponsorship in the arts or sports.
Marketers and brand strategists have to be aware of what is going on in the business world around them. For example by:
You don’t need to have creative design skills, but you do need to be a creative thinker.
- reviewing competitors
- researching market information
- analysing data
- keeping up-to-date with market trends.
You may work in:
- the branding and communications department of a business, working across operations
- an agency, working with branding teams on strategies for the agency’s clients.
What is the work like?
Some brand strategists/marketers are self-employed. They work on short-term contacts for agencies and businesses.
The hours of work are based around normal office hours, Monday to Friday. You will be expected to work longer sometimes, especially around deadlines.
Although the job is office-based, brand and marketing staff travel to see clients and attend meetings. There may be some overseas travel on international projects.
How can I get into marketing and brand strategy?
You will need to be interested in brands and how they present themselves. An interest in how customers receive marketing messages is important as well.
You don’t need to have creative design skills, but you do need to be a creative thinker, able to come up with good ideas and innovative solutions.
You also need to be:
- confident in presenting your ideas
- persuasive and a good negotiator
- resilient enough to deal with your ideas being rejected
- a good communicator, both verbally and in writing
- able to work to deadlines and targets
- someone with a can-do attitude
- able to work well in a team, but also able to use your own initiative.
You need to be very commercially aware and have a good knowledge of how different businesses operate. Employers will expect you to be well aware of social media.
IT skills are essential.
Training and qualifications
Although there are no set entry requirements, employers usually expect you to have a degree. This could be in a relevant subject such as marketing, communications or business.
Other useful subjects can include maths, statistics, English or IT. However, some employers consider the degree subject unimportant as long as you have good commercial awareness and some experience of the business world.
Employers may ask for maths A level or a good GCSE grade, A*-B.
Some may enter through design, although this isn’t a requirement. They may have a degree in graphic or brand design. All courses are listed on the UCAS website.
There are apprenticeships in marketing at level 2 or 3. Employers may ask for GCSEs in English, maths or IT. Business or enterprise are other relevant subjects. You may need to go on and study for a degree.
Some who work in brand strategy/marketing continue their studies with a Masters which specialises in branding such as:
- Graphic Branding and Identity at the London College of Communication
- Brand Development at Bath Spa University
- Design and Branding Strategy at Brunel University.
You may be able to study during a career break or by part-time or distance learning.
Some senior strategy and marketing staff may have other professional qualifications, such as an MBA or project management qualification.
If you start in a trainee or junior role, you can develop your career by working on larger and more prestigious projects. As you take on more responsibility and gain experience, you can apply for more senior posts.
What can I earn?
As a trainee, you may start around £21,000. A brand strategist with some experience could earn around £28,000, which could rise to £35,000 to £45,000 for a senior brand strategist.
A brand strategy director could earn £75,000 or more.