How To Become A Brand Strategist And Consultant

How To Become A Brand Strategist And Consultant Mr Matt Davies

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Becoming a brand strategist and consultant is no easy feat

It requires an intricate blend of business savvy, marketing expertise, psychological insight, and creative flair. So where do you start on the path to mastering this multifaceted profession?

Seasoned brand strategist Matt Davies provides invaluable perspective. With over 15 years under his belt as a designer, creative director, and now independent consultant, Davies has learned the ins and outs of commercial strategy the hard way—through first-hand experience.

In this blog post, Davies generously shares key lessons from his journey. You’ll discover how he transitioned from designer to agency owner. You’ll learn the fundamentals of running effective brand workshops. And you’ll gain insight into the research and analysis that forms the backbone of solid brand consulting.

If you aspire to become a brand strategist, or to simply take your branding skills to new heights, Davies’ real-world expertise is not to be missed. Let’s dive in.

The Journey from Designer to Agency Owner to Brand Strategist

Mr. Matt Davies’ career has traced an intriguing trajectory, each role building a critical foundation for the next.

He kicked off his journey cutting his teeth as a freelance designer in the UK. Though green, Davies harbored sky-high ambition. At just 23 years old, he launched a blog showcasing his design work. Before long, the site snagged the #1 ranking for “graphic design” searches—no small feat for an industry newcomer.

Inquiries from prospective clients started pouring in. Davies would liaise between interested parties and his employer agency to broker project deals. Over time, he grasped the monetary value provided by his blog traffic. An epiphany struck: “I think I could do this.”

After saving 6 months of living expenses, Davies took the leap into entrepreneurship. He founded his own design agency in Nottingham.

The agency enjoyed rapid success. Within 9 years, Davies had grown the firm to a team of 12. Their diverse client roster included big names like Boots, Nike and Specsavers.

But while business boomed, Davies struggled to reconcile his creative passions with the demands of leadership. Managing projects, people and payroll drained time from design work. Seeking respite from burnout, he sold the agency and transitioned into a creative director role at a larger firm.

Though lucrative, agency life continued to grate. Davies yearned for more strategic challenges. A short stint as an in-house design manager at Capital One only compounded this desire.

After assessing his skill set, passions and career experiences, Davies shifted gears once more. He now operates an independent brand consulting practice.

Reflecting on his journey, Davies muses:

The path to becoming a brand strategist and consultant is a journey of continuous learning, growth, and adaptation. From understanding the basics of branding to conducting in-depth research and analysis, it involves a wide range of skills and knowledge.”

His diverse background makes Davies uniquely poised to shepherd brands through essential yet complex processes like workshops. Let’s explore his approach…

Aligning Leadership Teams Through Impactful Brand Workshops

As Matt Davies’ career evolved from designer to agency owner to brand consultant, one theme persisted – the make-or-break importance of leadership alignment.

In Davies’ experience, friction within leadership teams poses one of the greatest threats to organizational success. When executives clash over vision and strategy, it fractures the business’ identity. Confusion trickles down, making it impossible to effectively recruit talent or make decisions. And misalignment only compounds over time.

Brand workshops provide the perfect mechanism to get leaders on the same page. By bringing stakeholders together to wrestle with foundational branding questions in a collaborative format, workshops lay the groundwork for unity and shared purpose.

Over his career, Davies has honed a facilitation approach focused on 3 key ingredients:

– Problem-solving – Davies always anchors his workshops around solving a business challenge. This could involve clarifying brand positioning, addressing customer confusion, boosting recruitment appeal or more. Defining a clear problem statement up front gives the workshop tangible purpose.

– Structuring – Within the workshop, Davies relies on frameworks like purpose, mission and vision to spur productive debate. He may customize branding models like the Golden Circle to suit the organization and questions at hand. Regardless of the specific structure, Davies finds that a semi-rigid scaffolding helps leaders make progress while still allowing for fluid conversation.

– Managing group dynamics – When strong personalities congregate, workshops inevitably involve some tension. Davies embraces his role as mediator – teasing out reticent perspectives, resolving disagreements and highlighting alignment. His ability to quickly interpret interpersonal undercurrents and respond appropriately makes clients feel heard and valued.

Though not a one-size-fits all solution, Davies has repeatedly witnessed the power of facilitated branding workshops. By patiently leading teams through key questions, he brings clarity to chaos. Over time, aligned leaders transform into aligned organizations.

The Art and Science of Brand Research

For Davies, brand strategy without research is like building a house on quicksand. Before he even engages with a client, Davies probes what existing data and insights they have compiled. This provides an essential baseline for strategy development.

Once hired, Davies layers additional external and internal perspectives. Common research methods include:

– Customer interviews – Sitting down with real customers offers invaluable qualitative texture. Conversations unveil emotional connections, areas of confusion and unmet needs that surveys may overlook. Davies personally conducts select interviews when budgets allow.

– Market landscape – Stepping back to examine category trends, innovations and competition prevents insular thinking. Third-party reports provide an impartial, data-driven perspective. Where information gaps exist, Davies may run limited primary research.

– Internal documents – Reviewing org charts, business plans, communications and more highlights discrepancies between what a company says and what it does. This analysis serves as a reality check on leadership ambitions.

– Data synthesis – Once various research streams conclude, Davies translates findings into crisp insights. He meets with data owners, interrogates methodology and simplifies takeaways for workshop use.

While other consultants preach set research formulas, Davies retains flexibility in his approach. The blend of art and science mirrors his view of branding overall – structured, yet adaptive.

This nuanced research lens allows Davies to enter brand workshops as part sage, part provocateur. Armed with customer sentiments, market realities and internal truths, he can speak hard facts to ambitious executives. Research provides the starting point for reimagining brands with eyes wide open.

Adapting in the Face of Uncertainty

For Davies, fixed strategic processes often fail the stress test of real-world complexity. He embraces a flexible “no process process” approach instead.

Rather than marching lockstep through predefined workshops, Davies enters each engagement with beginner’s mind. He probes, listens and observes before determining optimal next steps.

If dynamics shift or new data emerges, Davies changes course. He might:

– Pause group sessions for one-on-one conversations to uncover concerns

– Conduct supplemental research to address knowledge gaps

– Reframe exercises to better meet client needs

This adaptability requires supreme confidence and quick thinking. Davies draws on two decades of experience to rapidly diagnose problems and realign approaches. He compares the strategic journey to navigating the jungle – you never know when a lion might leap out.

The payoff? Strategies resonate stronger when sculpted to the distinct needs of each organization. While improvisation seems risky to some, Davies has honed an intuition for when and how to tweak standard formulas. Every detour serves the end goal: bringing leadership teams closer to clarity.

Rather than clinging to process, Davies keeps the destination in sight. He’s simply willing to blaze new trails to get there when necessary. This spirit mirrors the problem-solving ethos of designers. Applying that flexible, user-focused mindset to strategy makes his “no process” approach less unorthodox than it first appears.

The Endless Education of a Brand Strategist

For Davies, the path of continuous self-improvement underpins success as a brand consultant. He compares the journey to mastering jungle navigation – one never knows when new obstacles or opportunities might emerge.

This growth mindset manifests in Davies’ voracious reading habits. He studies concepts from archetypes to servitization, gathering perspective before offering his own. Even when clients quote established frameworks, Davies double-checks the source material. He’s unwilling to recommend anything he hasn’t thoroughly researched himself.

Beyond book learning, Davies picks the brains of subject matter experts across organizations. He’ll identify key marketing contacts and grill them to distill mounds of data into actionable insights. These simplified findings help him challenge assumptions in strategy workshops.

And Davies practices what he preaches. Despite two decades consulting brands large and small, he still eagerly soaks up new lessons from every engagement. This insatiable curiosity fuels his adaptive approach and continually refines his strategic toolkit.

The brand strategist’s education never ends. Existing knowledge merely paves the way for deeper exploration. By perpetually seeking fresh context and skills, consultants like Davies ensure their strategies evolve in step with the modern market. It’s an endless journey of discovery in service of better solutions.

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