Are You a Brand Consultant’s Puppet or a Magical Thinker?

I am going to make a bold statement. Brand consultants should not be hired to create a brand for you. Why? Because it’s impossible for them to create your brand for you. Those that say they can are just making you the puppet in their brand development play.

I’m not saying brand consultants cannot be extremely valuable. I’m saying that brand consultants should be hired to help you create your brand, not create it for you. You and your collaborative executive team are the creators of your brand. If a brand consultant knows more than you about your company, your industry, and your customers and prospects, you are in big trouble. No new brand is going to help.

When you are stuck, like many are, in the brand creation process, just know that the answer is within you. You just need help finding it.

A good consultant helps you think. They skillfully guide your brand creation process for the ultimate brand result.

Brand consultants come from many different backgrounds and perspectives with two main options.

  • Visual – These consultants have a background in advertising, graphic design or web development. For the visual brand to be a true reflection of the company’s depth, the visual brand consultant should be brought in after the conceptual brand is in place.
  • Conceptual – These consultants come from communications consulting, social media content, marketing content or a writing background perspective. A conceptual brand requires a consultant with the depth of domain and communications content experience. This background is your best bet at developing a properly differentiated brand and avoiding common brand creation mistakes.

For the purposes of this discussion, I am talking about developing a conceptual brand, not a visual expression of the brand. In this case, your brand consultant needs to bring the following methods, skills and talents to the table:

  • Structured methodology to organize and redirect misguided detours.
  • Strategic perspective to layout alternate ways to proceed on the fly with the ability to see relevant patterns and issues.
  • Thought provoking insights to bring new ideas and creative energy when the team is stuck.
  • The experience and confidence to challenge the team and help highlight the blind spots.
  • Real time ideation to collaboratively craft and refine the team’s thinking based on big picture analysis that finds connections, or missing links, between seemingly disparate data points.
  • The ability to transcend time, seeing both the here and how and the future of the business, so that the brand has a clear direction and path to greatness.

When a brand consultant brings this to the table and the company team is engaged and knowledgeable, this is how brand magic happens. Who helps you think magically?