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  • Reggie Holmes

What Tools Do Brand Strategists Use?



Brand strategists are thinkers who dive deeply into their client’s business, product or service, to examine its composition, audience, and competitive landscape and develop a plan for best positioning that entity for success that aligns with its goals.

Brand Strategists must rely on a diverse and expanding set of skills and approaches to meet the many brand challenges they might face in today’s marketplace. Brand strategists use a number of tools to develop these solutions. If you are potentially in the market for brand strategy services, it’s important to know about the work brand strategists do and the skills and tools they use to do it.

Before we look at the tools, we should think about the disciplines touched by brand strategists. Many of these are learned in contexts outside of any brand strategy training. The disciplines required include research, writing, interviewing skills, and project management.

A brand strategist can use several tools ranging from traditional and low-tech to digital, high-tech-based tools. Because the brand strategy field is still expanding, there are no shortage of tools. New ones are being created every day. Even within this very general list, there are specific, proprietary tools that are not mentioned.

I’ve broken these down into 4 categories that reflect the overarching categories describing how a brand strategist might use these tools. These categories are research/measurement, organization, communication/collaboration, and creation/presentation. There is definitely overlap and tools that can be utilized in more than one category.

Strategists have to collect and collate lots of information…

 

RESEARCH & MEASUREMENT


Brand Strategists are responsible for the collection and processing of lots of data and information. These are some of the tools they might use to observe, extract and assess information included in the brand strategy development process.

  • Questions: Interviews, Surveys, Polls, Focus Groups

  • Observation (Ethnography)

  • Data (Primary and Secondary)

    • DemographicsPsychographics

    • Website Analytics

    • Social Media Metrics

ORGANIZATION

Brand Strategists don’t just collect and process data. They have to organize and structure the data so that conclusions may be drawn and insights may be formed. These are some of the tools used for organizing and framing data to be observed, analyzed, and framed for brand decision-making.

  • Customer Journey Maps

  • White Boards

  • Mind Maps

  • Lists

  • Mood Boards

  • Brand Matrix

  • Notebooks, Journals

COMMUNICATION & COLLABORATION

Brand Strategists often work in teams or as part of teams, so they need to share information and insights efficiently and effectively. To that end, they use a number of traditional and digital tools to communicate the insights they have gathered and the directions they have chosen.

  • Collaborative Project/Team Management Tools (SaaS)

  • Presentation Tools

  • Storytelling

  • Creative Briefs

CREATION & PRESENTATION

Brand Strategists sometimes take what they have discovered and developed, translate them into more visual communication forms or frameworks that illustrate their ideas, and then use tools to create and convey concepts in ways others may use and understand.

  • Design Software

  • Diagrams

  • Sketchbooks & Notepads

  • Mockups

  • Slide Decks

  • Brand GuidelinesHere are some of those tools.


Many of these tools apply to other dimensions of the brand-building process beyond the brand strategy development phase, such as the creative design phase or brand management phase.


Every strategist has a system for actually producing the brand plans they come up with.

Fortunately, there is a lot of sharing within the community. I’m part of a robust Facebook group for practicing and aspiring brand strategists, and there is a ton of engagement and sharing there. It’s not a new field, but there is newfound energy around and focus on it.


So why does all this matter? Having walked through the skills and tools brand strategists use (which you should be on the lookout for as a potential client of a brand strategist), we’ll next consider the benefits to you of working with a professional brand strategist.


This is article was made possible by Reggie Holmes, Principal and Creative Director of Enthuse Creative. The original post can be found here.

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