Noisy – this is how Steve Jobs described the world. If Apple hasn’t changed their business branding, they would have never beaten Microsoft. What did Steve do differently? How did he position Apple to be so different from its competitors that the brand acquired 40 percent of the smartphone market?
It is a complex recipe for success, but one thing is for sure. Apple reflected their vision to all their product and service offerings. Through this, the brand is able to connect emotionally and meaningfully with customers. Apple disrupted the status quo and blew up the rules of branding. Steve didn’t follow checklists nor copy leading competitors’ strategy. What he did was something deeply personal, that people couldn’t help just to feel badass using their products.
Unfortunately, companies cannot just copy the way Apple executes their business branding. The best that they can do is copy the basic approach and engage an expert to help them- this is where the role of brand consultants come into the picture.
What is a brand consultant?
Brand consultants provide analysis, solutions and general marketing expertise for companies to sell their products. They do this by analyzing the brand and see how it performs against competitors. Also known as brand strategists, they can transform small companies into a powerhouse through market analysis, content marketing, website audit, keyword research and video services.
Why hire a brand consultant?
Brand strategists conduct market analysis to analyze competition, market intent, and online presence. Through them, companies can get to know its main competitors and identify a strategy to outrank them. Competitive analysis enables companies to understand what keywords their counterparts are using; how they structure their websites to optimize search; and the types of people following them in social media. Brand consultants also look deep into customer personas to know their pain points and the types of solutions that they need.
Brand strategists also do website audit to analyze factors causing poor Google rankings. They look under the hood to know what can be improved on their website to help companies achieve their goals. Website audit looks at website page optimization, implementing SEO best practices like proper tagging, metadata optimization, and image tagging. Brand strategists also look at website compliance such as sitemap, terms of service and privacy and linking structures.
Other than the capabilities of brand consultants, creating a solid business branding strategy is another of one of their core expertise. Brand strategists can research markets and competitions, price, packages and aggressive product distribution approaches. By considering every product element, they can position a company’s product or service to be more appealing to consumers, surpassing the competitors.
How to choose the right one?
Choosing the right brand consultant is a challenge, most especially to companies doing it the first time. The best way to do this is to interview a minimum of three to five firms and narrow it down to two based on an assessment of several areas.
Brand strategists can be assessed based on the depth of their experience, most especially on the use of various channels and mediums across multiple touchpoints. Ideally, companies should choose a brand consultant that can deliver both brand strategy and design.
Choose a brand consultant who doesn’t follow everything that the company says-rather challenges CEOs to step out of their comfort zones to be uncomfortable and vulnerable paving the way for creativity and innovation. However, bear in mind that consultants’ business branding approach should be backed by a tried and tested process that delivers results. Companies would not want to engage with brand consultants who run their job on a play by ear method.
It is also equally important to find a partner who believes in the vision of the company and plots a business branding strategy that is aligned with it. A good brand strategist is someone who can imagine the company’s future state and knows how to utilize business branding to reach it successfully.
A brand consultant makes companies’ business branding focused to achieve goals and objectives in more structured yet creative manner. Remember, there isn’t a mathematical formula for branding, the best way is to go through trial and error on an ongoing basis. With this, find a partner that both has the stability of a well-defined process and the creativity and passion of a visionary.