This was first published here.
A brand consultant is someone who specializes in building strong connections between businesses and customers. It doesn’t matter the size of your business, or if you are B2B or B2C, creating relationships with the right customers is what creates sustainable business growth.
Kevin Chesters, a former chief strategy officer in one of the biggest ad agencies in the world, Ogilvy UK, wrote in a recent article “If you were looking for the best butcher in your area, I suspect you wouldn’t find them behind the meat counter of the local supermarket.” Same goes to everything else including brand consultants.
Unfortunately, most people don’t understand brand and branding but they think they do. For instance, if you search Google for “the story of the Starbucks brand” you will get results about Starbucks logo evolution, even though a logo is not a brand, and the story of the Starbucks brand has nothing to do with the logo.
The story of the Starbucks brand is much more interesting and inspiring than the story of the logo, but it will be very hard to find it on Google and will require knowledge of both the story and how to deep search Google.
Starbucks didn’t start as it looks & feels today. It was a regular coffee place serving mainly in morning and lunchtime, with ugly decor. After a decade, Howard Schultz, who later became the company’s CEO, started working there as the Director of Marketing. While on a business trip in Milan, Italy, he witnessed the espresso bar culture in the city — not only there are espresso bars on every corner, they are much more than just a place to come and pick up a coffee, the coffee bar is a place where people meet, talk, socialize (by the way, this coffee culture is the same in many countries in Europe and the middle east, and where you could find me every day for most of my adult life before moving to the USA).
Schultz loved this concept, he knew this can change anything for Starbucks. He knew it is so much more than a coffee shop. But the owner didn’t want to make this change as he “didn’t want to go into the restaurant business”(like everything in marketing, it’s all a matter of perception). So Schultz quit from Starbucks and started his own coffee company in 1986; II Giornale.
A year later, II Giornale expanded from one to three locations and Schultz acquired the six Starbucks stores and its roasting plant. The rest…is history.
This is a fine example of how building a brand is not about design or logo. It is not a logo that made Starbucks one of the biggest brands in the world. It’s the concept and the creation of brand personality around it. Without the concept of bringing people together over a cup of coffee, and of course, delivering on it big time, we would not be talking about Starbucks right now.
This is why you need a brand consultant.
A good brand consultant has knowledge and experience in the fields of marketing, design, and business management, that’s why they have a fresh and broader point of view and in-depth knowledge that you don’t.
“People who haven’t been in the same business forever, are able to have a fresh take on an industry that can then be disrupted” Xavier Niel
Whether you launch a new company/product or working on maximizing an established one, you should have periodical meetings with your brand consultant. Just like your accountant, the more in-depth the experience and knowledge your brand consultant has, the more he or she will save you money.
You don’t need the experience to design a beautiful logo, you need to be a good talented designer or artist. But you do need experience and understanding in other areas than design to know if this is the right logo for your business goals and customers.
A good brand consultant can help with more business problems you have than you think.
There is a common attribute most successful business owners and managers share — they know they don’t know everything. That’s why they make sure to have the best people on their team and to listen to them.
“The great leaders we’ve studied are not well-rounded individuals. They’ve recognized not only their strengths but their deficiencies, and they’ve successfully identified others who can help them compensate for those deficiencies.” — Business Journal Feb 26, 2009