How To Become a Brand Strategist (With Steps and Duties)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 29 September 2021

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A brand strategist is a professional who assists marketing campaigns and companies. Many large, medium and even some smaller companies employ a range of people to work in branding, advertising and social media management, and a brand strategist directs and oversees these professionals. Learning more about this career could help you determine if it's right for you. In this article, we explain what a brand strategist is, show what they do and provide steps to show you how to become a brand strategist.

Related: Marketer Skills: Definition and Examples

What is a brand strategist?

A brand strategist is a professional who helps design a brand or company personality for an organisation. The idea of brand strategy can vary hugely, depending on what kind of company you choose to work for. Large commercial brands, such as food and drink companies, retailers, hotel chains or elements of the public sector, may employ a brand strategist directly. This person is responsible for analysing the market, looking at consumer trends and advising seniors how the brand can position itself to best interact with, and influence, its target audience members.

A brand strategist helps to define new audience groups for marketing materials or identify ways that a company can change its strategies, policies, products or promotional materials to better connect with potential customers. Smaller companies may consult with a branding company, where a specialist brand strategist may work with them on a short-term basis to consult on how to shape a new brand or refresh an existing one to bring it in line with market trends.

What does a brand strategist do?

Brand strategists work to understand the audience their brand wants to connect with. They may do this in a number of ways, such as commissioning market research. They often develop ‘personas' representing the key target audiences, which helps designers and creatives make powerful marketing materials to appeal to these specific types of people. They typically conduct research to learn more about the audience. They also collaborate with companies to determine what the ideal brand is. They can use these insights to plan product development, advertising and marketing campaigns and social media outreach.

Brand strategists may focus on consumer campaigns, but they could also be responsible for delivering business-to-business brand strategies. For example, they may determine how a business communicate with its investors, suppliers or vendors.

Brand strategist typical job duties

A brand strategist's duties can vary depending on the industry, but here are some of the common responsibilities they may complete:

  • Conducting research to learn about market trends

  • Predicting future market trends that may affect the company's products and sales

  • Assessing data and trends to determine a marketing plan

  • Using research to create new brand names

  • Redesigning existing brands to reach a targeted audience more effectively

  • Conducting brand audits to evaluate the company's current brand

  • Designing a style guide for the logo, creative materials and marketing campaigns

  • Managing branding tasks, such as advertisements and social media platforms

Related: What is unbranding? (A guide with definition plus examples)

How to become a brand strategist

Whilst there is not one defined route to find a job as a brand strategist, there are some clear steps that you can take to help maximise your chances of securing a brand strategist role. Many people coming to this line of work start in one of the many connected marketing roles, and it's often advantageous for a brand strategist to have a strong understanding of several different disciplines within the marketing field. Here are some steps to help you get a job as a brand strategist:

1. Undertake a degree in a relevant subject

There are no specific education requirements for becoming a brand strategist, but most organisations expect applicants to hold at least a bachelor's degree. One popular option for undergraduates considering a role as a brand marketing strategist is a degree in marketing and communications.

An increasing number of universities offer a degree that focuses specifically on the different elements of brand communications, which can be a great foundation in the field. However, it's equally possible to find a brand strategy job description that doesn't require a marketing or branding degree. Consider taking classes in English, writing, psychology and literature to help you develop your relevant skills.

2. Gain relevant work experience

Although most of the specific roles in brand strategy require some kind of degree, there are alternative options available. Several companies offer entry-level positions in marketing, which do not require a degree. This can include areas such as social media content or filming or design. You may apply for roles such as marketing intern, marketing assistant or junior social media specialist.

Once you secure a position within a company, you may gain exposure to all the different marketing roles on offer. Over time, you can build up a suitable level of practical experience which can put you in a strong position to apply for a brand strategist role.

Related: 7 Interview Questions for Marketing Roles

3. Develop your digital skills

A brand strategist is often an expert in shaping a brand to appeal to an audience. This dictates how a brand's marketing materials look and feel. Digital marketing is at the forefront of market outreach for many brands. This means that it's vital for a brand strategist to have a really strong understanding of the make-up of different marketing channels.

Learning more about digital channels and social media platforms can help you identify ways to reach your target audience. For example, a clothing company may design products for a certain age group. As a branding strategist, you can use your technical knowledge to determine the best ways to contact this audience. You can build your understanding by reading about branding and digital marketing, but you can also gain experience with the platforms by exploring how your brand's target audience uses them.

Related: Essential Digital Marketing Skills

4. Understand the creative elements used in branding

Consider learning more about the creative elements you may use as a branding strategist. This can include elements of brand and logo design, marketing material production, sound and film design and digital platform design. As a branding strategist, you may manage a team of marketing professionals who help complete these creative tasks. Learning more about the different components can help you be a more effective leader. It can also help you design better branding projects, as you can use your technical knowledge to determine aesthetic choices.

Related: Essential Graphic Design Skills

5. Identify the kind of company you want to work for

There are lots of companies, both in the private and public sector, that offer brand strategist roles at various levels. From financial organisations to charities, you can choose a sector that appeals to you. Consider your personal interests when deciding your ideal industry. For example, if you're interested in technology, you may work for a private tech company, designing its brand. If you're interested in clothing and fashion, you may apply for positions in retail production companies.

Although brand strategists were once exclusively employed by large, multi-national brands, there is a wide range of national, regional and even very small local companies who are now seeking the expertise that a brand strategist can offer.

What other degree subjects are relevant for a career in brand strategy?

Although some people specialise in marketing or branding for their degree, there are other subjects that employers consider relevant to this kind of role. Here are some you may consider:

English, media or communication

Strong verbal and written skills are necessary for any branding strategy role. Having a good grasp of different writing styles and the psychology behind the use of language is beneficial for the job. That's where a degree in English language, communication or media can give you a head start.

Psychology

Much of the work a brand strategist does focuses on understanding how consumers think and feel. Brands want to know how consumers are reacting to national and global events and how this could impact the popularity of the brand. An understanding of human psychology can be helpful in designing persuasive and powerful messaging for a brand.

Business or economics

Any kind of business-related degree can offer a useful insight into how the market works. These subjects help candidates understand the kind of critical economic factors companies must consider when they're launching or decommissioning a specific brand. With a strong understanding of business, you may be well-positioned to make financial decisions that align with a company's brand strategy. Consider studying finance, economics, business administration or a related field to help you gain business knowledge and skills.

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