Simply put, a branding consultant is a marketing expert who helps you with branding your product or service.
To hire the best branding consultant for your business, you first need to understand what branding is.
The Three Definitions of Branding
According to the classical definition, a brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that makes one seller’s goods or services distinct from those of other sellers.
Most of the businesses and their (pseudo) branding consultants stick to the classical definition.
They think up a powerful name, create an awesome logo, write a compelling slogan, throw in some aesthetic design elements, promote their creation, and think they’ve created a brand.
The consultant may design a breathtaking ad, paste it on a billboard or post it on Facebook, and proudly show it to the marketing team—“Hey, look how wonderful our branding looks!”
But, is a brand just a name, logo, and visual design?
A more recent definition of branding states that a brand as an artificial person with a set of attributes or personality traits that relate to your target customers.
For example, if you’re marketing a product or service to working women, might like to make your brand come through as feminist, independent, caring, and sensitive.
On the other hand, a brand that targets working men might like to be seen as manly, responsible, mature, and fun.
A branding consultant builds these attributes into your brand through brand messaging.
Nike is athletic and sporty; The Body Shop is natural and health conscious; and AT&T is reliable and trustworthy because the branding teams behind these brands have deliberately shaped their brand personalities like that.
So, is this all there is to branding?
It seems not.
The modern definition of branding says a brand is a container for a customer’s complete experience with the product, service, or company.
Your customers come across your business and brand at multiple “touch-points”.
They might see your ad on Google, go to your website to learn more about your product or service, read your customer reviews on a third-party website, call your office and speak to your employees, use your product or service, visit your premises, speak to their friends about your product or service, and so on.
Each time they run across your product, service, or business, they undergo a certain experience, which may be positive or negative.
The sum of all these experiences forms their perception of your brand. In other words, your brand is not what you show or tell them, but what they see for themselves throughout their buying journey.
For example, if you’re an insurance business and you’re advertising that you settle claims within 72 hours, but your customer reviews depict that you take weeks or months, they are more likely to believe in the reviews than your marketing slogans.
So, what does it mean for your business?
It means that you need to identify the touch-points where your customers, existing and potential, interact with your brand, product, or service; and optimize those touch-points to deliver a desirable experience.
A truly capable branding consultant should be able to guide you about improving the customer experience across all of the touch-points on your customer’s buying journey—the imaginary path that they follow from awareness to purchase.
Customer experiences are invariably delivered by your employees through certain front-office and back-office processes.
An employee answering a phone call is engaged in a front-office process, for example. And an employee building a webpage for your brand is performing a back-office process.
Your branding consultant should be able to tell you what your most critical processes are and should be able to train your people to deliver great experiences.
What a Branding Consultant will do for Your Business
An expert branding consultant should be able to build your brand in line with all three definitions that we have just discussed.
- Assist with visual branding by selecting a brand name, designing a logo and visual identity, and recommending the best channels for its promotion.
- Conceptualize the brand personality based on your ideal customer personas and build the required attributes by devising a suitable brand messaging strategy.
- Streamline experiences across all customer touch-points by training your employees and optimizing automated interactions, such as your website, IVR (interactive voice response), touch-screen displays, etc.
Why You Need a Branding Consultant
As you may probably see it’s hard for a CEO or business owner to do all of the above and also pay full attention to their core business activities like manufacturing, operations, and service delivery.
You need a full-time, dedicated branding consultant if you want to build a robust brand that will keep driving your business and profits for a long time.
Feel free to contact JoshMeah.com to learn more about branding and to find out how a branding consultant can help you create an awesome brand.