Difference between a brand and marketing consultant

Brand and marketing consultants are one and the same, correct? That is often the viewpoint of early-stage and small businesses, where they believe both positions complete the same functions. However, that is wrong – and any growing company needs to understand the difference between a brand and marketing consultant (and how they can help the bottom line).

As for the distinction, a brand consultant is responsible for crafting the brand itself. On the other hand, the marketing consultant promotes the brand and handles individual campaigns.

Think of it like a car; the brand consultant develops the appearance and feel of the vehicle while the marketing consultant works on the engine, so it can move.

The divide between branding and marketing can be blurry, but knowing their differences – and how they overlap – is essential for any business. Without this knowledge, a polished and authentic brand that is fully representative of the company is unachievable. The branding becomes a hollow promotional tool instead.

With that in mind, the following blog post explains what a brand consultant is, what a marketing consultant is, and the differences between the two.  

What is a brand consultant?

Brand consultant talking in a meeting using a whiteboard.

As the name implies, a brand consultant is responsible for building and maintaining a reliable, strong brand identity. A branding consultant ensures your company is on-brand across the board. Everything you produce has to factor in the branding, from physical products to customer interactions.

Ultimately, this brand is your business’s overall impact on people collectively, not just your customers. It covers all the content you release, your communication efforts, events, products, services, stylistic elements, sub-brands, and so on.

Initially, it is easy to feel that a brand consultant is responsible for more superficial aspects, such as your business’s logo, design, and color scheme. However, these elements are only a minute fraction of their work. They supervise all areas of the design work involved with your brand, ensuring it matches your company’s voice, concept, message, and values.

The main objective of a brand consultant is to convey the right feeling when customers interact in person, over the phone, or online with your company. Essentially, they help facilitate and represent your brand’s entire public reputation.

Related: 7 Tips When Branding for a Small Business

Roles and responsibilities of a brand consultant.

As mentioned, a brand consultant is responsible for much more than it may seem. Here is a quick overview of the main roles and responsibilities of a brand consultant:

Define the brand strategy and goals: The first task for any brand consultant is to map out the general strategy and goals of the brand. This involves defining the company’s mission and values and how these points will develop and improve over time. Along with enhancing brand equity internally, this step allows employees and stakeholders to understand and relate better with the brand. 

Research competitors and the market in general: Before offering any strategy suggestions, a brand consultant will conduct extensive research on the marketplace and competitors. They will learn what competitors are doing to make their brands appealing and identify ways to stand out from the crowd with suitable brand strategies. 

Boost brand recognition and consistency: A branding consultant focuses on brand guidelines to enhance recognition and consistency. These guidelines cover aspects such as the logo, color schemes, images, fonts, values, and tone of voice – aka all the components used in content and when communicating with customers. When these are clearly defined and maintain consistency in all areas, it ensures all departments within your business align with your messaging and visual identity.

Improve brand engagement: A brand consultant will also train each department within your company. This education is built around how the roles of these departments and individuals impact brand perception. The aim is to ensure all employees have the necessary resources and guidelines to represent your brand correctly.

Examples of services provided by a brand consultant.

One service that a brand consultant undertakes is researching the company’s target audience. For instance, they might gather and analyze customer reviews to learn more about public perception of a particular product or the business as a whole.

For example, suppose product reviews do not align with the brand identity that the company and consultant hope to achieve. In that case, such customer feedback means the consultant must implement a strategy that refines or enhances the product.

On that note, GapScout is an excellent solution for automating the otherwise time-consuming process of collecting and evaluating vast quantities of reviews to determine the public opinion of a brand and/or its products.

Another brand consultant service example would be ensuring consistent branding across marketing materials. This includes maintaining the same color scheme, logo, images, etc., on the business website, social media pages, products, traditional marketing materials, and other forms of media and content.

A lack of consistency can harm brand recognition, where potential customers fail to recognize a brand when in action.

What is a marketing consultant?

Audience written on a whiteboard. Getting customers in the door with campaigns is a primary difference between a brand and marketing consultant.

While a brand consultant concentrates on building and strengthening the brand and its unique identity, a marketing consultant promotes the brand to others. They are responsible for getting your brand out in the public domain and garnering customers’ interest in your business’s products and services.

Marketing consultants deploy an assortment of tactics to achieve their overall goal. Social media, pay-per-click (PPC) ads, search engine optimization (SEO), email marketing, and content marketing – there are numerous routes a marketing consultant will incorporate into their strategy. With a fully-fledged promotional output in place, this can maximize brand reach to find and convert potential customers through various avenues.

As for converting targets into customers, this is dependent on the strength of the brand. If your business fails to have a developed, strong, and trusted brand that appeals to your target audience, your marketing efforts will often be in vain, and your audience members won’t convert to customers. This is why both branding and marketing, while different, must align for success.

Related: Sales vs Marketing: Understanding The Difference

Roles and responsibilities of a marketing consultant.

As a marketing consultant takes charge of the marketing aspects of a business, they require a specific set of skills – most notably design sensibility, creativity, market analysis, and the ability to adapt their approach quickly when necessary. They also need advanced organization competencies to guarantee consistency across all marketing channels, delegate tasks to others, and continually monitor the performance of their strategies.

The key roles and responsibilities of a marketing consultant include the following:

Set goals

The first step for a marketing consultant is to set goals for their promotional efforts. These goals will account for the business’s current performance, the objectives they hope to achieve in the short and long-term, and what needs to be done to hit targets successfully.

Identify target markets

Audience analysis and market research are required to learn which audiences to target. The more accurate this research and targeting, the more effective their marketing efforts will be. There are various market research methods, including surveys, focus groups, and customer interviews. Secondary research information, such as analytics and customer reviews, can also supply valuable insights for building an accurate customer profile, further informing marketing goals and strategies.

Decide on how to communicate to customers

For a marketing consultant to be successful, they need to market to the customers they have identified effectively. They will decide on which marketing tactics to use. They will also create and run campaigns – including the brand visuals and messaging assembled by the brand consultant – to generate leads.

Delegate campaigns and tasks

With much work to do, a marketing consultant cannot fulfill it all alone. They must delegate campaigns and duties to others, either to other employees within the marketing department or outsourcing to an agency or freelancers.

Track and tweak

A marketing consultant has to utilize analytics to track performance. This process allows them to see which marketing tactics are working and which are failing to generate the desired results. They can then use this information to tweak and adjust their marketing campaigns, allowing them to maximize performance further.

Examples of services provided by a marketing consultant.

The conduction, analysis, and use of market research is one of the primary services a marketing consultant provides. They must identify the ideal target market for their promotional materials; market research is one way to achieve this goal.

By looking at the likes of reviews and social media posts – again, GapScout is ideal for analyzing these channels – a marketing consultant can learn a lot about their audience and what they are saying in real-time. This includes what they like, dislike, and what catches their attention from a marketing point of view.

Another essential service is performance tracking. A marketing consultant will continuously track performance as part of their ongoing work on a campaign.

They will pay close attention to analytics to see everything from visitor numbers to how long people spend on a specific webpage. The information they gather allows them to plot ahead with their marketing campaigns.

They could make minor changes to a PPC campaign by using more compelling copy, for example, or they may decide video content is not worth the effort or finances based on the current return.  

The difference between a brand and marketing Consultant.

Marketing consultant and branding consultant team meeting around a table with charts and graphs laid out.

As you can see, based on the above information, there are plenty of similarities between brand and marketing consultants. That said, there are also notable differences between these two professionals and their roles.

How the roles and responsibilities differ.

A brand consultant, in general, is responsible for developing, defining, and documenting your company’s brand. They decide on the appearance and sound of the brand, including the visual style and tone of voice. It also includes what the brand represents, including your business’s purpose, mission, and values.

A marketing consultant takes this branding and gives it life. They use brand assets, tone of voice, values, etc., within their marketing materials to promote the said brand.

For example, social media posts include your color scheme, YouTube scripts follow your brand tone, and emails include your logo – the list goes on and on.

However, the marketing stage is not simply a copy-and-paste job; constant and consistent fresh content that adds substance to the branding and captures the attention of potential leads is a must.

How the services provided differ.

If you have read the service examples mentioned in the previous sections, again, you will see similarities.

For instance, it was highlighted that brand and marketing consultants utilize market research, wherein both can use software tools to streamline the task and save a significant amount of time and effort.

But the intention of this research is different between the two professionals. One analyzes how a brand can be developed and brought to life. In contrast, the other promotes the brand and sees how the audience reacts to it and its associated marketing materials.

However, there are clearly defined services that are significantly different between these roles. A brand consultant is accountable for brand consistency across marketing materials, including the color scheme and logo, as well as the voice and personality of the brand.

This is the foundation for the marketing consultant. They follow this branding with their marketing materials, but they add substance and direction so that it reaches and appeals to the intended audience.

How they complete the work.

For a small company with no branding department, it is not uncommon for the marketing team to handle both areas. This means the consultant will have two hats: branding and marketing.

Due to how the two categories are similar and overlap in certain areas, a consultant can often undertake both roles simultaneously. After all, a marketing consultant understands the need for brand consistency and how branding allows a business to stand out from the competition while reaching and appealing to the right audience.

However, it is recommended that a company has two separate consultants for this workload. Along with allowing them to focus specifically on either branding or marketing – two essential components for any business – they can work seamlessly together.

As mentioned, marketing teams already realize the importance of branding and know to take this work and build on it with their marketing strategies.

Wrapping up.

A business must understand the difference between a brand and a marketing consultant. It is true: they offer similar services and often join forces. Yet, the work they each do differs.

For your business to reach its full potential, you need to understand this – and ensure both a brand consultant and a marketing consultant are part of your grand plan. Plus, if they work together, that is even better.

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Justin Ferriman
Justin Ferriman
Justin is the founder of GapScout, the easiest way for solopreneurs and small businesses to find profitable gaps in their market. Follow Justin on Twitter→

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