In today’s highly competitive world, the role of a brand strategist is more critical than ever.


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A brand strategist is a professional who helps companies create and maintain a strong and consistent brand. This is a vital role because if the company’s brand is not consistent, it can affect sales and customer loyalty.


The role of a brand strategist

A brand strategist is responsible for brand development and managing a brand’s long-term strategy inclusive of its strategic identity and brand image so that brand awareness campaigns are well-directed. They work with marketing and advertising teams to create campaigns that align with the company’s overall objectives. A successful brand strategist understands the needs and wants of their target audience and knows how to communicate the company’s message effectively. The brand strategist must also be able to help with other aspects of business, such as social media marketing, public relation and the brand message in totality. In short, a brand strategist understands how to build and sustain a strong brand in the best way possible.


In-house or consultant

A brand strategist is often an outside consultant, business owners in their own right, so needs to be able to work with clients but can also be in an in-house position at big organisations. Either way, excellent communication skills are vital to bring people together and to sell the vision – a brand strategist will most likely conduct a brand strategy session.


A good brand strategist

A good brand strategist has insights into brand management, marketing, advertising and design. For strategy development, they need to have an understanding of the industry they are working in to be able to develop effective strategies that inform the marketing plan. This can encompass everything from creating and maintaining consistent brand identity across all touchpoints and provides guidance in developing marketing campaigns that effectively communicate the brand’s unique value proposition. In many cases, brand strategists also play a role in helping to shape an organisation’s overall business strategy. As such, they must have a deep understanding of branding and marketing and business operations and objectives. The skills and competencies a brand strategist should possess include: An understanding of how to effectively communicate a brand s USP, a deep knowledge of branding and marketing, including the use of marketing strategies, messaging and positioning, both written and oral, the ability to analyse data, conduct extensive research (mostly market research) to gain target market consumer insights etc. Heck, even being part of the creative team and being able to speak to the graphic designer that develops or updates the brand’s visual identity (brand elements and logo design) and brand guidelines for current brands.


Without giving a job description, there are brand strategist requirements.

As we know, there is never an ideal candidate and a perfect solution does not exist, but the requirements of successful brand strategists include:

The first thing is probably education: the career of a brand strategist starts with obtaining a strong foundation with good education. This means obtaining a bachelor’s degree in marketing, advertising, business, or a related field as a starting point for an entry-level brand strategist. But many progress to an advanced degree.

Secondly, practice: brand strategist needs to obtain work experience in branding (as brand manager), marketing, advertising, business management etc.

Thirdly, continuous training is always a good idea: taking courses or attending seminars on branding and marketing communications can be helpful.

Fourthly, having strong research skills is essential.

Fifthly, thinking creatively and coming up with new ideas is crucial.

And the list goes on including to be up to date with the latest industry trends and brand management trends.

The rare combination of these requirements and the fact that brand strategists often work with global brands are why the average salary of brand strategists is high.



A brand strategist can be a very valuable member of your senior management team and contribute considerably to your brand’s success. You need a custodian for your brand to deliver on the ultimate goal of brand strategy which is holistic brand experiences. For more on the topic of brand building check out How to create a brand strategy blueprint.


Challenge To You

Without a doubt you have to include a brand strategist in your management team. If you are a solopreneur or small business owner, you need to fulfill the brand strategist role and upskill yourself in terms of what was discussed above. Medium and large businesses can involve brand strategist consultants and listed organisation can have the benefit of a full-time brand strategist.



“Without strategy, execution is aimless. Without execution, strategy is useless” – Morris Chang, CEO of TSMC

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Pieter Steenkamp, BrandDoctor


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Meet Dr Pieter Steenkamp, your BRAND FOR SUCCESS guide.

I am actually a brand doctor with a PhD specialising in brand management from University of Stellenbosch Business School. As a brand management lecturer and researcher at a university in Cape Town South Africa and a regular visiting professor at universities in Germany, I stay up to date with the latest brand management developments. This affords me the incredible opportunity to consult with leaders of some of the most admired brands.

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