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and 13 key Questions to Ask Before You Start” eBook
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What Does a Brand Consultant do?
To Make Your Brand More Profitable — The One More Customers Want Above All Others, and Top Talent Wants to Work With
A highly experienced brand consultant works with you to grow your business, and/or increase the impact your organisation has within its target market, through developing and deploying your brand, so you can increase your influence and revenue.
An expert brand strategy consultant also serves as your ‘backstage’ resource, meeting with and manage the team charged with effecting the development and growth of your brand — internally and externally, depending on your project scope and resources.
The role also includes providing an expert-led leadership sounding board for plans, ideas, coupled with a techniques source for implementation. It also entails being the devil’s advocate on key moves, providing strong brand direction and facilitating the complete transformation process.
A brand consultant with international experience will also bring to bear professional high performance branding strategy and techniques from other successful organisations which have undergone similar transformations — so you can leverage that expertise to increase your brand impact and grow your sales.
Typically, a brand consultant works with you to:
1. Identify and agree your brand’s growth objectives aligned with your strategic plans
2. Evaluate your current status, so you can establish your brand’s baseline to move forward
3. Map out your brand as a highly differentiated standout entity to influence customer choice
Map out your brand as a standalone entity, so you can identify and clearly articulate what makes your brand measurably different, distinctive, credible, trustworthy and very desirable, because this enables you to increase your influence and attract your ideal customers consistently — increase your profits.
The Persona Brand Building Blueprint™, a proprietary framework, utilises a consultatively facilitated and co-creative process that also entails re-evaluating your positioning and value proposition coupled with productisation (service or product related), so you can maximise on upsells and cross-sells. The outputs are captured, developed and distilled in your Master Brand Strategy document, so you have clear direction, differentiators and messaging frameworks to draw from for your marketing activation and creative design application to drive growth.
4. Develop and apply your brand implementation plan to drive faster more profitable growth
Develop and apply your brand implementation growth plan using your Master Brand Strategy document and Brand Audit insights to provide direction and creative briefs, for application in both your marketing campaigns and brand design execution.
The scope of your Brand Implementation Plan is determined by your strategic objectives, timelines and resources. Your brand project brief, whether marketing campaign or design execution focussed, is an output from your Master Brand Strategy document, and provides the essential direction and application details aligned to your organisational strategy, so your deployments and activations are tightly managed within those contexts.
This avoids the hazards of subjective choices with marketing or design going off track or getting caught up in distracting gimmicks that produce short term or zero results because they’re not ‘on brand’ or aligned with what your brand stands for or fully focussed on your achieving your strategic plan.
It’s important to remember that the quality of your results achieved are dependent on the quality of the outputs from your brand audit and brand strategy, coupled with the resources you choose to leverage and assign to the project.
A great brand strategy or really insightful brand audit is not very useful if it’s not fit for purpose and tailored to your organisation’s size, requirements and resources, i.e. the people and finance you can harness to get the job done.
5. Internalise your brand building capabilities and skills to increase profits consistently
A strong brand consultant is also focussed on preventing problems and inconsistencies before expensive or compromising brand issues arise, so internalising your brand building knowledge and skills through both leadership development, internal team brand working sessions, training, mentoring and brand ambassador up-skilling is also an important part of the brand consultant’s responsibilities when required.
This overall framework ideally includes providing ongoing leadership direction and internal team advisory support to enable you to mitigate vulnerabilities, increase your profitability and grow your sales faster.
Your brand consultant preferably uses an ongoing process that is tracked and measured against agreed milestones, objectives and key performance indicators so that refinements can be implemented where needed fast.
Why Do You Need an Expert Brand Consultant?
Many business leaders and decision makers often struggle to build their brand effectively because they either lack the brand building know-how, in-house team capabilities or experience. This is very understandable given the subject matter expertise needed, and the amount of nebulous and conflicting information online.
Regardless of where you are located in the world, there’s a common misconception that branding is all about design. As award-winning brand consultants who have been working internationally for over twenty years in multiple jurisdictions with leading companies, large and modest, universities, government entities and membership organisations, the same confusion arises repeatedly.
These misunderstandings cause lots of avoidable, costly mistakes, poor quality results, not to mention lost time and revenue, and some in cases, key talent. You probably need to work with a brand consultant to help you avoid these problems, and use the expertise as a catalyst to accelerate your success — get the right results you want faster.
The Top 3 Most Common Branding Mistakes Organisations Make
because they have NOT leveraged the expertise of an experienced brand consultant
The fact is, the top three most common branding mistakes are:
- Thinking that design — a logo, website, presentations, adverts, brochures and social posts are a brand, brand strategy or marketing
- Not building brand trust or credibility through applying influencing psychology, not identifying ideal target audience challenges or developing detailed customer profiles
- Lack of substantial differentiators, value proposition, strong position or giving customers a consistently compelling reason to buy/choose your brand as the preferred choice
In some cases, organisations actually have substantial very capable marketing teams who are very effective tactically but sometimes lack enough strategic brand focus, or are simply not executing ‘on brand’ strongly or consistently — resulting in underperformance.
As brand consultants who have worked with large marketing teams in different sectors and countries, it’s well evidenced that often marketing teams benefit from expert-led brand strategy input because it acts as a catalyst enabling everyone to refocus, refresh, up-skill, activate more effectively, so they sharpen their game collectively and individually fully aligned to the organisations strategic agenda.
Clients & Brands
Top 23 Reasons for Needing a Brand Consultant
Can you identify one or more of these requirements or problems listed below in the context of your organisation? If you do, then it would probably be a good investment of your time to have a conversation with a well-reputed brand consultant:
- Stagnant or dropping sales, leads, enquiries or conversions
- Loosing relevance relative to competitors or changing customer preferences
- Launching a new product or service to market
- Expanding into new markets nationally or internationally
- Changing your business model
- Business merger or acquisition
- Confused customers or increasing customer complaints
- Challenging market conditions
- Increasing competitor threat
- Underperforming team and low morale
- Outgrown your current brand so require rebranding or a brand refresh
- Profit erosion e.g. inflation and competing on pricing, features and benefits with no strong compelling differentiators to drive higher premium profit margins
- Failing to achieve your strategic plan or organisational objectives
- Inconsistencies across the business, causing internal and external confusion that results in poor sales results and missed sales targets — confused customers don’t buy
- Struggling to attract and retain top talent
- Lost in a market of mediocrity and sameness
- Insufficient understanding of your brand and brand strategy to drive growth at leadership and/or team level
- Lack strong customer profiling to inform your business strategy
- Weak inconsistent brand assets or brand collateral e.g. website, packaging, videos, social engagement, adverts, presentations, sales scripts, messaging etc.
- Downsizing or consolidating your business, products or services
- Reputation damage, requiring significant brand transformation or a rebrand
- Legal problems e.g. copyright infringement
- Lack a coherent brand strategy to drive growth
Top 10 Outcomes From Working With a Highly Experienced Brand Consultant
Working with a brand consultant with a strong track record enables you to:
- Avoid wasting money and incurring expensive mistakes
- Achieve results faster and more cost effectively
- Leverage professional brand expertise and direction for key commercial decisions
- Drive brand innovation and faster scaling
- Harness the power of emerging and future trends
- Profitably disrupt and drive market adoption of new products and services
- Enable you to achieve stronger competitor advantages, and lead in your key markets
- Evaluate your business and brand versus competitors more effectively so you future-proof and build a stronger, resilient business model
- Drive growth consistently
- Increase your profits
The truth is, you don’t need a degree or masters in branding to build your brand effectively, so you can increase your profitability or organisational reach — as proven by many of our clients. However, you do need to be able to tap into that brand consultant expertise, leverage that knowledge, internalise the key principles and apply brand strategy consistently.
Working with Lorraine has been both enlightening and enjoyable. Her blueprint for defining a brand is extremely comprehensive and challenged us to think very deeply about what we offer to our customers and really understand what underpins our success.
Lorraine is extremely knowledgeable, very focused and supportive and leads you through the process and ensured we got maximum benefits from the investment we made.”
How Long Should You Work With a Brand Consultant For?
Depending on the scale or complexity of your brand requirements, a brand consultant can potentially work with you from six months up to a couple of years. It can be longer if you want leadership expertise to support your business growth, particularly if you are growing rapidly, or if you have specific projects requiring a brand consultant’s expertise to inform and lead the change process in your organisation.
A brand consultant can be actively involved in implementation details, working with the team tasked with the rebranding, launch to market or whole transformation, or provide an overall leadership advisory role within your organisation over a specifically defined timeline.
Short timeline launches or relaunch plans are pragmatically addressed to fit within your organisational objectives. Longer timeline implementation of bigger plans typically entail between twelve and twenty-four months input with your brand building application plan mapped out in detail on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. This ensures you and your team have a clear execution plan, agreed milestones and shared accountability to achieve consistent growth.
Ideally, the project work should be structured with agreed milestones, so you can see progressive results. This ensures your return on investment or payback is faster. It also enables you to manage risk because you can make changes should you not see the results you desire in a specific area. During and at the end of the defined project period, you make joint evaluations on the successes achieved and next steps.
As Featured In
“For anyone who has a well established business, I would totally recommend working with Persona Design because it will provide them with a new perspective on how to think of their brand. You see in different markets and industries that are overly competitive, what makes the difference is knowing what exactly your business is all about and why people would choose you instead of any other competitor.
What makes you different from all the other service or product providers in the market because that’s what’s going to make your business be the No.1 choice in the range of those specific products or services that you’re providing. Also, that’s what’s going to make your brand stand out and have a long-lasting life and thrive in the context of where you’re operating and delivering value. So totally go for it!
This framework provides you with a lot of insight and more than that, with a systematic process that’s easy for you to understand, easy for you to grasp, easy for you to work with, so you finally nail what makes you different in your business, and what you are about and what those key points are that resonate with your audience.”
Brand Consultancy FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
What is brand identity?
What is brand differentiation?
Brand differentiation is about standing out, being highly influential, credible, trustworthy and likeable with a very compelling value proposition that your ideal target audience finds irresistible, so they see your brand or organisation as the best and preferred choice in the market — most importantly, they are NOT making decisions based on the lowest price.
Do I need a brand audit?
Does brand consultancy only speak about design?
A brand consultant does NOT only speak about design. A skilled and experienced brand consultant is highly strategic, so speaks first and foremost about your brand strategy aligned with your financial objectives, to drive growth. Design only comes after your brand strategy has been fully developed, so a brand consultant speaks primarily about developing and using brand strategy to direct and inform design, all to ultimately drive commercial growth.
“We participated in the Persona Brand Strategy Leadership Programme online. The 12-week program suited us, as the weekly accountability spurred us on to get work done between sessions.
We found the flow of the course appropriate for the development of the brand through the various areas of the business. Already, we have developed our Customers Personas and our Brand Persona adding value to the business.
The course has helped us make more astute decisions in the business, such as restructuring our product offerings, so we grow more profitable lines and remove those with lower margins.
Lorraine is very helpful and accessible as a tutor, with follow up after each live working session and the half-day masterclass. Most of all, the clarity achieved has been most invaluable.
In the first two weeks of March 2020, before Covid-19 required us to close, we were 300% up in our online sales compared to the whole of March 2019. By the end of May 2020 [after being completely closed for 6 weeks with our 150 staff furloughed] we were back to 69%, and by end of June 2020 back at 108%, January 2021 we were up four-fold on January 2019
— results achieved from applying our brand strategy.”
Got a question, want to chat with one of the Persona Design brand consultants or need some help with your brand?
Your Persona Client Satisfaction Guarantee
- When you work with us, we’ll create a customised brand-building plan and strategy with clear investment for you tailored to your specific requirements and preferences
- You’ll know each step of your brand building journey before we start because we’ll discuss it, document it, and agree on it with you before work commences
- You’ll have timelines, key milestones, and deliverables to evaluate and approve for each stage and part of your brand building process
- Because we know the unexpected sometimes happens we can make adjustments along the way if you need it and if something extra is requested we’ll ensure you’re fully appraised about what that entails before committing
- As we achieve pre-agreed objectives you’ll be able to evaluate your brand building work and strategy in progress, coupled with the outcomes to ensure return on investment
Three Ways You Can Work With a Persona Design Brand Consultant to Differentiate More Strongly, Consistently Attract Your Ideal Customers, Build Trust & Achieve Higher Revenue
Persona Branding & Design Are Highly Experienced Brand Consultants
Lorraine Carter, Lead Brand Consultant
As lead brand consultant Lorraine Carter, Adv. Dip. Des. TUD, MMII, MIDI, MICAD, is an expert in brand building to drive commercial growth and high performance. Founder of Persona Branding & Design, she’s won multiple awards over the last twenty years working with brands on national and international markets, many of which are household names.
Brands small and large like: Version1, University of Greenwich, Nestlé, Kerry Foods, Eurofound, Enterprise Ireland, Law Society of Ireland, Radisson Blu, SOLAS – the State agency tasked with building a world class Further Education and Training (FET) sector to fuel Ireland’s future, AMCIS – the Admissions, Marketing & Communications Association for Independent UK Schools, Tesco, Castle Brands, Aldi, Wavin, Massey Bros., Thunders Bakery, MoveHome, Dr. Tanya Pergola/Terrawatu, Abberley Luxury Yachts, Saba and MGI Learning to name a few.
“She enables you to become your ideal target audiences’ favourite No.1 brand — product, service or corporate entity — and a super savvy brand builder.” – Ozana Giucsa, Founder Tooliers
Lorraine’s methodologies and systems, such as the Persona Brand Building Blueprint™ System and How to Build a Brand Programme are used globally and also feature on The Economist Group platform [Persona Branding own the IP].
Her skill lies in enabling you and your team to build commercial resilience and leverage new trends, to make your brand highly visible, different, credible, trusted, memorable and much loved amongst your primary audiences, so you can be Unstoppable in Uncertainty — Be The One — leave your competitors far behind because you’re the preferred premium priced brand of choice as you grow your brand and revenue sustainably and faster.
The focus is on taking under performing or under-leveraged brand entities (personal, corporate, product or service B2B and B2C) and, working with business leaders, owners, managers and entrepreneurs to transform them into more successful highly recognised and trusted brand names much liked and admired amongst their primary audience.
An international branding expert and professional speaker Lorraine is also a masterclass leader, advisor, M.Sc guest lecturer, facilitator, published writer, designer and mentor. She creates, facilitates and delivers programmes in effective brand creation, building and management, is Winner of Best Blog Ireland of an SME and is also a former winner of Business Woman of the Year, Dublin and listed as one of the top 1,000 Women of Influence in Ireland in the Irish Tatler Business Annual.
She’s worked both on and off camera with state broadcasters and independent producers and has directed hundreds of still shoots in Ireland and overseas. She’s also featured in The Sunday Business Post Newspaper, ICOGRADA, Irish Times Newspaper, Law Society Gazette, Design&Design, Retail News, Creativ Verpacken, Irish Packaging Year Book, Irish Tatler Magazine and various TV, radio and podcast interviews.
Latest From The Award Winning Blog
“I recently organized a large Business Forum for business owners and stakeholders entitled ‘After the Storm – New Business Opportunities’ to highlight the challenges and changing face of doing business in 2013. I was delighted to engage Lorraine Carter to speak at the Forum as I have seen first hand her expertise in Branding and Design.
More importantly I know Lorraine as a Professional Speaker who delivers not only excellent content but is passionate about the positive financial impact of great branding and design.
Lorraine’s talk entitled ‘Brand Your Way Out of Recession’ was extremely well received. Her clarity, eloquence and use of storytelling evoked clear examples of how both big, medium and even small businesses have reached the top with successful use of effective branding and design.
I’d recommend Lorraine as a Speaker at your next event or conference. She is an expert in what she does but more importantly she is an expert who knows how to speak about it!”
“I have had the benefit of working alongside Lorraine Carter with mutual clients and will happily do so again.
Lorraine understands the power of brands for businesses in a way that makes practical sense to businesses. Her dedication to her craft is a great credit to her along with her attention to her clients and the details that matter.
Lorraine understands how to work with people who don’t work with brands on a daily basis and above all Lorraine has a bottom line value orientation. I look forward to continuing working with Lorraine and her team at Persona Branding & Design.”
“The Maguire & Paterson brand was established in 1882 and therefore the rebranding and new packaging had to be managed in a very sensitive and caring manner.
Persona Branding & Design worked very effectively with the M&P management team ensuring that the findings of consumer research were correctly interpreted and factored into the brand revitalization and new range designs. We found their ability to steer us of significant benefit.
Persona Branding & Design also ensured that we kept our focus on core objectives and diplomatically challenged us at various stages on our thought process, ensuring that any brand preferences did not stray from the core objectives.
We would have no hesitation in recommending Persona Branding & Design and we would be very pleased to speak with any potential client(s).”
“Lorraine Carter creates meaningful and immaculately designed brands based on a deep subject matter expertise. She, through Persona Branding & Design, provides a world class professional services for all sized enterprises.
Her understanding of target markets results in memorable and distinctive work that empathises with end customers. Lorraine brings a uniquely positive energy to every meeting that leaves her clients engaged and delighted.
“Lorraine Carter is a true marketing professional. She is highly creative and has delivered impactful, innovative brand solutions for my business for almost a decade.”
“Persona Branding & Design supports our company with an excellent level of creativity in all areas of branding, design and marketing. They listen, understand and interpret our needs perfectly with a formidable proficiency in execution. It is only fair to say that our company expectations of original briefs have always been exceeded.”
“I have worked with Persona Branding & Design for more than 8 years. They have become an invaluable extension of our team, working with us in a flexible, intelligent and pragmatic way.
Once commissioned, they became part of the business extending their expert opinion and brilliant creative solutions in total harmony with our requirements which has achieved great results. This is important since it is often the detail that can make or break a business relationship. Their work philosophy is the best contract a client can hope to receive.”
“Persona Design successfully applied their extensive branding experience from consumer goods directly to an important industrial B2B product range within our organisation. This was pivotal in the formulation of our brand communications strategy which also included design, packaging, point of sale material and brand promotional plan, all of which contributed to a very successful commercial outcome.”
“Lorraine is an excellent start to finish project manager with tremendous creativity and ability to work budgets and timelines effectively.”
“I can’t say enough about the excellent work that Persona Branding & Design has done for us. They didn’t just look at our design requirements but challenged us to really look at the fundamentals of our brand and our target market.
They fully engaged with our team and questioned our thinking, providing strong guidance when needed to keep us all on track. Not only is their work exceptional but it’s an absolute pleasure to work with them too.
The end product has evoked huge comment from customers and buyers alike as to its thought provoking branding, design and uniqueness, thus putting Country Crest into a whole different zone of marketing.”
“Lorraine Carter from Persona Design recently presented at our Dell Social Media Event on the importance of Brand for Corporate and Self. Lorraine provided great tips, many of them thought-provoking from her vast experience in developing brands, as an individual, for customers and the importance of building relationships.
I would highly recommend Lorraine as a trusted advisor on Brand Development and Management.”
“Persona Design has always exceeded the objectives of our briefs. Their level of interaction and creative rigour offering a range of fresh concepts is brilliant.
Apart from being great people to work with, Persona Branding & Design offers an unbeatable combination in their level of service, lateral thinking, attention to detail, strategic focus and commitment to all projects undertaken. They are a key asset within my company and I would be delighted to personally recommend their services.”
“Persona Design are very talented brand consultants and packaging design experts. They are knowledgeable, creative and highly dependable. My company has hired them for a number of projects and we have always been very pleased with the results.
In fact, several of their projects for us have won prestigious awards. I highly recommend Persona Branding & Design.”
“Persona Branding & Design has adroitly managed several of our most important brand design briefs over the past couple of years and in doing so brought a high degree of creativity plus in depth knowledge in dealing with packaging and print suppliers that was vital for the completion of the successful end product.
Their attention to detail and open book costing consistently ensures no surprises on design or origination quotations.”
“I was delighted to be a participant in Lorraine’s Master class on Branding, Packaging and Design. Lorraine has extensive experience is this area and her third party examples of clients she has worked with really drove the message home on the importance of one’s brand and how powerful it can be.
She is passionate in her message and delivers it with conviction. I strongly recommend her as a trainer, speaker in the area of branding, packaging and design as she is truly an expert.”
“Persona Design has worked with Wavin on the creation and development of the new branding and marketing collateral for the launch of a new range of premium products.
They worked closely with our commercial team during this period to deliver a fantastic launch, on time and within budget. I would highly recommend Persona Branding & Design to anyone who is looking for a company that adds value through innovative ideas.”
“Lorraine is a highly experienced and expert marketing professional. That’s just one way of putting it. She is an expert public speaker and her passion for subject matter shines though when she presents on a subject that is obviously close to her heart. Highly professional and credible, she is always looking for the best way to apply her talent for her clients best interest.
Her firm is highly successful in delivering strategic marketing projects for their prestigious client base. I have no hesitation in offering my highest recommendation for Lorraine and her team at Persona Branding & Design”
“Lorraine’s depth of knowledge in branding is immense. I have attended some of her courses and also see first hand the benefits Persona Branding & Design can bring to a business. I am always happy to recommend Lorraine.”
“I have known of Lorraine’s high quality work for a number of years and in late 2008 I finally had the opportunity to work with her in developing a brand and marketing strategy for an upcoming awards ceremony.
Lorraine patiently guided the team through the process and was excellent in identifying the nuances, do’s and don’ts of our target market. We started out thinking a brand was just a logo but now know better!
Before this however, Lorraine had sat down for coffee on an number of occasions with my colleague and I on a different venture and was very generous with her time and sharing her knowledge. I aim to call on Lorraine many times in the future and look forward to it.”
“I’d be happy to recommend Lorraine Carter and her company, Persona Branding & Design, to any client who wants an enthusiastic and passionate business partner to produce compelling brands built on a sound strategy.”
“Lorraine is both highly creative and strategic. Her professional and flexible approach combined with her attention to detail resulted in exceptional work which perfectly met the clients needs. A pleasure to work with. I’d happily recommend her for any brand project!”