When you’ve come to a point where there are no marketing ideas left, it’s time you could use some brand strategy consulting. Here’s why.
For every non-expert, there are two experts in any given field except rocket science. Same holds true for branding – if you were to ask someone (even your neighbor) for a branding consult, they would surely give you plenty because they’ve read a lot of stuff on the Internet, you know.
However, the value of such consult would be next to nothing, as knowledge alone doesn’t really help. You’ve got to have a lot of (successful) experience and earn your own stripes in the field before you could help and teach others.
Brand consulting is especially difficult since there’s no such science as “brand strategy” and for many in the industry, it’s still a weird mix of trial-and-error, luck, and common knowledge.
Whether it’s true or not is up to you but it’s safe to say that the brand consulting market is blooming now as so many companies are struggling to find their own identity in this ever-competitive world.
How do you know if you need a branding consult from the outside – here are a few insights and tips to help you figure that out – “Branding Services for an Online Business: What’s in the Package?”.
Meanwhile, we’ll continue with the definition of brand strategy consulting.
What Is Brand Strategy Consulting?
It is the process of inviting outside specialists to work up ideas for your brand development and promotion, control their implementation, and oversee the branding strategy.
Although it may look not that much on paper, it is, in fact, a hell of a job.
What Kind of Businesses Do Strategy Consulting Guys Deal With?
Typically, brands have years to grow and develop into something deep, profound, and meaningful. To attain such status, one has to go through a myriad of experiments, ups and downs, and various business tactics.
The possibilities are there to explore and pretty much anything you do yields some positive result or a result that can be turned into positive.
Now, what happens when a company turns to brand strategy?
It basically means that the company has tried quite a few options but none of them has really worked. Or, the situation on the market has become way too unstable to predict it. Or, the company and the brand are in deep
sh*t crisis, and emergency measures are required.
Otherwise, they simply wouldn’t need any help, would they?
Another case of a company considering external brand strategy is when you have the idea, have the time and money – the only thing you don’t have is experience. This case is quite common among young startups and businesses.
Once you’ve received the much-needed help, you’re OK on your own.
Problems Brand Strategy Experts Solve
Well, they may not fix your failed relationship with your ex but they will surely help put your brand (back) on its feet.
How Do I Revitalize My Brand?
Like we’ve mentioned before, some brands just need a (not so) slight kick in the butt in order to become relevant again.
Take Apple, for example: the company had come this close to bankruptcy in the mid-90s. It’s hard to imagine now but there was a time when one of today’s most iconic brands could cease to exist. Only the creative genius of Steve Jobs who reassumed his role as CEO in 1997 and the “Think Different” campaign helped revitalize the “Apple” brand in the 21st century.
Another, down-to-earth example: the video blog on PC games that you’ve been running for quite a while is getting fewer and fewer subscribers and views. Possibly, due to the decline of PC gaming industry in general.
Or, maybe it’s the quality of the content? Or, maybe it’s the fact that there are only so many games worth reviewing a month. Or, maybe worsened promotion has something to do with it?
The expert team is there to figure it out and pump out a bunch of solutions for you to mess around with.
How Do I Reposition My Brand to Make It More Competitive?
You never know where your brand may get you. Many great brands have undergone transformations you wouldn’t believe – yet, they’re here, alive and well.
Example: there’s a company called Xerox that used to produce and market photocopying equipment. At the dawn of the new, digital era, they had lost their momentum and when things got worse than ever, the management did the only reasonable action they could – reposition the brand.
In 2010, Xerox completed the switch from a copier company to a business services company. To do that, they needed to launch a huge rebranding campaign, which they did.
Arguably, no other message could have been stronger than Mr. Clean pushing buttons:). Jokes aside, they had successfully completed their transition and claimed their place under the digital sun, which makes it an interesting case of a digital transformation – “7 Inspiring Real-Life Cases of Digital Business Transformation”.
How Do I Align My Customer Experience With My Brand Philosophy?
Creating a flawless branding strategy isn’t enough. Someone out there has got to make sure it ACTUALLY WORKS. As it often happens with brands, creating something on paper and bringing it to life are very different processes.
It takes a lot of will and integrity to stay true to your brand philosophy.
Example: the obvious – McDonald’s fast food restaurant chain. The whole idea of “fast food” is exemplified in every little detail of a McDonald’s customer experience. Drive-in’s, take-out’s, and pre-orders while you’re in line waiting – these guys know their stuff.
How Do I Channel My Brand Values Into My Employees and Partners?
Now, this may be the hardest thing to do of all listed here. Believing in something is one thing – convincing other people who work for you for money of the same is a task that only visionary minds can handle.
Example: Henry Ford had been able to not only revolutionize the manufacturing process as we know it but also had been successful in spreading his ideas of safe, productive, and smart labor among fellow Ford Motor Co. employees. Needless to say, workers loved and respected him for that.
It would be a shame if we forgot to mention the fact that letting people from the outside, people with a different perspective, experience, and agenda, inside your “kitchen,” is often beneficial because you get a fresh look on the same ‘ol stuff.
When that happens, new ideas can pop up immediately.
Brand Consulting Services
It all may depend on the case but these are the services you are most likely to find within any consulting company out there.
- Brand positioning
- Brand portfolio
- Customer experience re-alignment
- Brand naming and architecture
- Visual systems
- Employee engagement
What Do Brand Strategy Consultants Actually Do?
As a part of external brand consulting team, these guys work may do one or all of the following:
Become a Temporary Member of Your Team
The consultant joins your team a full-time member, visits all the meetings, does everything he/she is supposed to in order to reach the desired result. The consultant’s capacity and duties may vary from a co-worker to a managerial position.
Once all the branding goals are reached, the consultant leaves the team.
Help Produce Specific Marketing Deliverables
This is quite helpful during the new product/service launch process. There are specific goals set for the future release, and the consultant’s job is to ensure all the marketing deliverables are there in time and due quality.
Work Inside a Specific Market Segment
When a company is about to venture into an uncharted market, quality advice is a necessity. Typically, this would involve market analysis and brand strategy development specific to this company and this market.
Sometimes everything’s alright, and no emergency help is needed. However, a forward-thinking business owner is always thinking strategically. This is when you’d want to elaborate on the future possibilities and ideas for the brand.
Thanks for making to the end of our “Brand Strategy Consulting: How About Some Help from the Outside?” article. We’ve covered the services offered by brand strategy consultants and what you could do with them.
If you’re up for more good stuff, be sure to check this article right here, it provides a great insight into digital transformation – “Digital Transformation Strategy for Your Business: Do’s and Don’ts”.
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If you have further questions on the subject, please write them in comments – I’ll be glad to answer.
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