No matter the scale, every business needs branding because of its overall impact on businesses. Branding propels a new business, increases the awareness of the brand, and changes the way people perceive it. It is a must if a company plans to leave a memorable impression on consumers and help them understand what to expect from the business.
Branding is a marketing practice where a company creates a name, symbol, or design that is easily identifiable and belongs to the company. It simply involves actively shaping your brand. Branding is what a company needs to break through the clutter and grab an ideal customer’s attention. It moves customers from first-time buyers to lifetime customers and turns an indifferent audience into brand evangelists. It is what helps a business stand out, make an impact, and it takes the business to the next level.
Branding helps establish how a business is different, special, and unique; it shows the customer why they should work with you and not your competitors.
Who is a Brand Specialist?
A Brand Specialist is a professional that provides general and in-depth marketing expertise, brand analysis, and solutions that help in attaining business goals and objectives. Research, design, and strategy are key in the work of a Brand Specialist. A brand specialist focuses on certain target segments, applies psychological principles, and employs the three key methods to help a company establish strong relationships.
A brand is more than a logo. And the work of the Brand Specialist is to develop a corporate identity by engaging customers.
Responsibilities of a Brand Specialist
- As a Brand Specialist, you must work with the knowledge of the objectives of your company. This means that your main duty as a Brand Specialist is to understand deeply, the nature and objectives of the company. You can do this by scheduling meetings and rounds of discussions with key stakeholders and employees in the branding and marketing departments. The vision, mission, short-term goals, and long-term goals, unique selling propositions, brand values, brand strengths, target market, target customers, and the entire brand history of the company must be understood to properly strategize ways to move forward.
- As a Brand Specialist, you must analyze the struggles of the brand. You must identify the blocks that do not let the company achieve the desired goals and objectives. A company hires a Brand Specialist to increase market share and enhance brand value, they (Brand Specialist) must figure out where the problems are and provide practical solutions to them.
- Brand Specialists work to access the customer’s perception of the brand. As a Brand Specialist, you must understand that customers are the best brand ambassadors. You must study and research their perceptions. You must know their preferences, their complaints, their expectations, their experience using the product the brand offers, and other vital information. This knowledge will help win the lasting loyalty of customers.
- As a Brand Specialist, you must head the planning of marketing and promotional strategies. After understanding the business and its nature, you must plan the marketing and promotional strategies in line with the nature of the business, and help increase the profit and brand popularity.
- Studying the competition is one of the most important responsibilities of the Brand Specialist. This is because studying direct and indirect competition helps the Brand Specialist determine the marketing plans, promotional tools, and strategies to employ that will take the brand to the next level.
- The overall experience of the customer is what is most important as it will determine the customer’s opinion of the brand. As a Brand Specialist, you must work to improve the experience of the customer by planning and designing customer service programs. This will help retain old customers and transform new ones into loyal customers.
Skills of a Brand Specialist
- Creativity: A Brand Specialist with strategic creative business targets to develop the best brand images. As a Brand Specialist, you must understand striking a balance between structure and creativity is important, as too much structure can hinder creativity. To be able to properly improve your brand’s image, you must develop ways to get loyal customers.
- Analytic Skills: As a Brand Specialist, you must reason analytically and pay attention to detail. You must be able to justify all your branding efforts with data. This will help you measure all your branding results before the next process starts.
- Good Communication Skills: As a Brand Specialist, you will work across many departments and written and spoken communication is how you will relate to the teams in those departments. To get maximum support from the people you will work with, you must create good relationships with them. You will also need good communication to present your findings and plans for the higherups in your company.
- Flexibility: When faced with changes in the market your company operates in, it is important that you, as a Brand Specialist to demonstrate flexibility and make sure your company pushes forward. You must have the flexibility to harness the power of social media to access customers as conversations surrounding customer experience happens there in real-time. Also, you must use these platforms to develop branding strategies along with trends.
- Budgeting: As a Brand Specialist, you must have the ability to allocate and manage the budget of branding processes.
- Time Management Skills: You must know how to manage time efficiently and effectively to maximize output in short periods. This along with the ability to work on many projects at the same time is a must-have for any Brand Specialist.
Educational Requirements for a Brand Specialist
To become a Brand Specialist, you need a Bachelor’s degree in Business Studies, Public Relations, Marketing, or Accounting. Below are some schools offering widely recognized related degrees.
- Swansea University in the United Kingdom: Offers a Marketing, BSC (Hons). The program is designed to give you a solid grounding in marketing principles and key management disciplines. It combines teaching marketing strategy with contemporary topics on consumer behavior, marketing research, international marketing, and digital marketing to help you learn to think critically and make well informed strategic marketing decisions with impact in the real world. The tuition for international students is £ 15,900. The degree comes in the three options; 3 years full-time, 4 years full-time with a year abroad, and 4 years full-time with a year in the industry.
- Dublin Business School in Ireland: Offers a Bachelor of Business degree. This degree course provides students with considerable flexibility in their choice of the second year and third-year subjects. Hence, it allows students to orientate their studies towards preferred subjects or to choose disciplines in which they have demonstrated strength in year one. The tuition for one academic year is €5,895 according to the school’s website.
- The University of New Brunswick in Canada: Offers a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with a program option in Marketing. Students who choose to specialize in Marketing will gain the knowledge and skills to obtain entry-level positions in almost any industry in the private and public sectors. The tuition for international students ranges from $9450 to $11,912.
Job Outlook and Salary for a Brand Specialist
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) does not have a separate occupational listing for Brand Specialist, but it provides information about Marketing Managers. According to them, Marketing Managers are expected to enjoy a job growth rate of 8% from 2018 to 2028.
According to Payscale, the mid-level Brand Specialist in the United Kingdom with 5-9 years of experience earns an average total salary of £20,000. Experienced Brand Specialists with 10-19 years of experience earn an average total salary of £28,500.
According to Indeed, the average salary for a Brand Specialist in the United States of America is $57,466 yearly.
Glassdoor estimates the average salary for a Brand Specialist in Canada as $59,012 yearly.
Typical Employers of a Brand Specialist
Brand Specialists can work in-house at an organization or a brand consulting agency. Agencies typically need to pitch to clients for work and are likely to be working on several different projects or different brands at the same time. The typical employers of Brand Specialists are:
- Marketing agencies
- Public and private sector organizations
Careers Related to Brand Specialist
Sales Development Representative: A Sales Development Representative is a sales representative that focuses on outreach, prospecting, and lead qualification. They move leads through the sales pipeline. They connect and learn about their businesses and needs. If a prospect is a good fit, Sales Development Representatives schedule the next steps with sales representatives higher in the organization.
Essentially, Sales Development Representatives are educators that leverage insights to assist in solving real problems customers are having.
Multimedia Specialist: Multimedia specialists are creative professionals who produce presentations, websites, and other projects using sound, video, and other multimedia tools. They are specialists who use multimedia tools to combine different content/media forms to be displayed and interacted with by devices. They often use advanced computer software to combine and form their creations. They work for companies that need advertising and marketing materials to promote whatever product they are selling or service they are rendering.
Market Research Analyst: A market research analyst is a business expert who consults different sets of individuals or products, collecting, processing, and translating business-related information for their employers or clients. An analyst writes reports of their findings in a spreadsheet. Some of these can be business opportunities for business owners, details about the nature of a market or users, the areas where a product or service will thrive, consumers’ actual needs, and some other factors that can influence sales.
Postgraduate Options for Brand Specialists
MSc Marketing & Brand Management from Kedge Business School in France: This is a specialized program, providing access to 80% of marketing occupations, the duration of the program is 1-2 years full-time. It is taught entirely in English. The tuition is €15,000.
MSc in Luxury Brand Marketing from Glasgow Caledonian University, London (GCU London): The program is designed to provide you with the specialist skills, industry knowledge, and expertise necessary for a successful career in a niche and innovative industry. It will give you knowledge and understanding of marketing and marketing communications. The program structure makes the program suitable for individuals who have previously studied business at the undergraduate level and who wish to develop a deeper understanding of the tools and techniques. The duration of the program is 1-3 years with part-time or full-time options. The tuition for international students is £8,400.
Masters in Brand Management and Marketing Communication from the University of South Denmark in Odense, Denmark: This program focuses on marketing communication processes from the corporate to the brand level using advanced, socio-cultural theoretical perspectives on consumer markets. It will provide you greater knowledge within the subjects that are relevant for branding and the abilities to use advanced ethnographic methods to analyze the fundamental, social, and cultural principles and logic forming contemporary communication and branding challenges. The duration of the program is 2 years full-time. The tuition for international students is €8,500.
Professional Certifications for a Brand Specialist
Become a Certified Brand Strategist from The Brand Establishment: To become a Certified Brand Strategist, you will go through a 5-month curriculum with textbooks and scheduled section reviews with the leaders of the Brand Establishment, case study preparation, a review of your readiness from the independent BE Certification Advisory Review Board, the completion of a final exam, and an in-person peer review presentation. The certification demonstrates that you are one of the only certified brand strategists in the world and allows you to become part of a network comprised of smart, forward-thinking agency principals who want to get better every day and win in every pitch.
Certified Brand Manager Credential from AIPMM: This certification demonstrates that you know the roles and responsibilities of a Brand Manager, the key organizational interfaces, and the use of the classical marketing “Ps”(Product, Place, People, Promotion, Position, Packaging, Price) to strengthen your brand. It shows your employer that you know the different levels of your brand (elements, attributes, personality, and core values), and the roles each of them plays in developing and maintaining strong relationships with customers. The course will provide insights into achieving the ultimate payoff by maximizing brand equity and brand value.
The Certified Professional Sales Person (CPSP) Certification is a Marketing certification, issued by the National Association of Sales Professionals- the largest online sales association in the world. It is a six-week online course. It will also help you gain access to a wealth of networking, training, and career opportunities. It will show that you know how to analyze customer experiences and turn them to long time customers.