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Why Hire a Brand Strategist?

“When is the right time to invest in branding?”

“Should I hire someone or do it myself?”

“How much should I be investing in branding?”

These are just a few of the many questions I’ve received from business owners trying to navigate the world of branding and marketing themselves. Whether you consider yourself creative or not, I hope these questions will help you understand what a brand strategist can do for your business and whether it’s the right time to hire one.

First, let’s lay the foundation.

Branding is not your logo.

It’s a unique combination of the words you say, the things you do and the impression you leave on your customer. You have the opportunity to shape your brand and decide how you want it to be perceived. How and what you do with your brand matters.

A graphic designer is not necessarily the same as a brand strategist.

You’ll see many terms thrown around when it comes to branding.

Graphic designer

Brand designer

Brand strategist

These terms are not the same and you should understand your needs before hiring for one of these roles. A graphic designer is someone trained in a medium, typically digital graphic design, but their skill set and specialty could vary greatly. From illustration to typography, graphic design is a wide field which spans many disciplines. A brand designer is typically a designer who specializes in branding. They are an expert in all things branding and focus their work on producing logos, marketing collateral or packaging. Like graphic designers, brand designers focus and niche can vary greatly. Finally, a brand strategist is someone who studies and practices the strategic side of branding. They may also be a brand designer but their approach emphasizes a foundation in strategy using this as a starting point.

At Honeycomb, we specialize in brand strategy and use this as a foundational practice in every project, not just branding. For us this means we are heavily researching, studying and peeling back the layers of a business to understand exactly who they are and how they can best portray that to the world. We use a variety of techniques to uncover these learnings from market research to surveying our clients. At the end of the day, we want to take what is in a client’s head and spell it out in a way that helps them take action and build awareness for their product.

Working with a brand strategist can help you:

  • Clarify your brand positioning
  • Identify your ideal customer and how to reach them
  • Develop a brand strategy that can be used a guide for your marketing efforts
  • Create branding that aligns with your strategy

So how do I know if a brand strategist is right for my business?

This all comes down to understanding your business needs. How much internal work have you done in understanding your customer, your sales process or your product? Are you brand new or a seasoned business looking for a fresh look?

Situations where you should consider hiring a brand strategist:

You are rebranding and looking to align this new name or vision with your business

This is a big one and reminds me of a conversation that Amy Beth of Veg Threads and I had when we were working on the new VegThreads site. She said “I just don’t relate to that anymore”. Her vision and mission had changed from her first business to a new, evolved brand with a refreshed vision. She didn’t completely abandon the foundations of that first business. We simply designed the visuals and messaging that best aligned with this new season in her journey. 

You are struggling to stand out in your industry

This is the top reason you should consider investing in a strategist. If you find yourself being overlooked, price shopped or otherwise not considered by customers, it’s time to look at your ideal customer and how you are positioned in the industry. Strategically analyzing your messaging and re-positioning your business helps you to stand out from the competition and attract your dream customers. 

You want to attract a new type of customer. 

Let’s say you previously offered social media management services and now want to pivot towards offering courses and live coaching to other service providers or solopreneurs. You are now talking to a completely different customer and your brand must evolve accordingly. The focus shifts away from the services you provide to your brand as a coach. When making these major shifts in your business, ensure that your messaging and brand evolve accordingly so you continue to reach the right customers who are all in. 

Your logo or website are outdated. 

This one seems obvious, but I don’t want to overlook it. Whether you’ve not updated your website in 10 years or 2 years years, it’s important to keep your brand fresh and aligned with your business. We know that our businesses will evolve and your brand should evolve with it. If you haven’t revisited your brand in a few years, it might be time to hit the refresh button.

Why should I invest in branding?

Investing now means not having to rebuild later. I can’t tell you how many clients come to us in the months or years after initially launching with systems that are just cobbled together and plainly put, a mess. A brand strategy process is meant to help you clarify and streamline from the beginning rather than over-correcting bad habits and bad processes later down the road. In my experience most business owners typically spend much more money correcting down the road than they do setting up correctly from the get go. 

You focus on the work that matters, we’ll handle the rest. When you hire a professional, you are hiring them for their expertise, experience and unique approach. At Honeycomb, we’ve spent years refining our processes to save clients time and as a result, we’re able to provide them with a high-end final product without the excessive time expense. In the meantime, it allows them to focus on the areas of their business that push the needle forward. 

Hiring a brand strategist means you are investing in more than your brand or website design. Imagine someone so invested in your brand that they treat it like their own, strategize like it’s their own and then infuse that into every piece of your marketing. That’s what a brand strategist does. Rather than being just a brand or web designer, we have created a signature framework that looks at your brand holistically and that approach informs every aspect of what you do. It means everything down to the colors and photography is hand-selected and thought out. No detail is “too small” when it comes to creating an aligned brand and that’s the difference you’ll experience when you work a brand strategist.

Unmistakably you. From the strategies to the design to your marketing materials, everything is completely customized to you and made with your brand in mind. You won’t look like anyone else because you aren’t anyone else. This is the key to standing out in your industry and the most important deliverable when working with a professional brand strategist.

Whether you hire a brand strategist or not, we hope this helps you navigate the questions and ideas to consider when making an investment in your brand. If you are ready to take the leap, we are taking applications for 2022 projects. We’ve been a part of 70 business journeys in the past five years and would love to be part of yours. Fill out an application here and our team will be in touch about next steps.

If you’re reading this and thinking that you can’t make this kind of investment right now, we have a special product launching later this year to help you DIY your brand. Sign up here to be the first to know!

Why Hire a Brand Strategist?

Meet the Author

Callie Kerbo is an award winning solopreneur based in Austin, Texas. She is the Founder of Honeycomb, and specialises in branding your business to make you unforgettable. You can find her here.

Honeycomb is a full service boutique brand partner, offering concept-to-launch marketing services for startups and growth-stage businesses. Founded on the belief that beautiful design is only as powerful as the business strategy behind it, Callie works to find what makes your business irreplaceable and then develop a creative branding strategy to help share it with the world. By the time your customers find you, they will have only one thing to say: “Wow.” 

From napkin drawings of a concept to long-standing businesses, Honeycomb helps businesses of every scale reach their goals and grow their businesses.

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