5 Questions to Ask Your Brand Strategist Before You Get Started

March 13, 2024


As a small business owner, you know your company better than anybody else. But knowing the ins and outs of marketing is a different story. That’s where a brand strategist comes into play. 

As experienced marketing professionals, brand strategists are like team captains. They look at who’s on the playing field and help pick the plays that’ll lead to a W.

Or, if sports analogies aren’t your thing, you can think of a brand strategist like your business’s GPS. They’ll show you all the possible routes BEFORE you start driving and continuously adapt to the market to help you make decisions en route to your performance goals. 

But What Does A Brand Strategist Actually Do?

Brand strategists help business owners get clear on the What, Why, and How of their brand. Remember, your brand isn’t necessarily the same thing as your business. It’s your distinct identity in the marketplace. 

A brand strategist will work with your team to clearly define that brand identity, research target audiences, and develop core messaging to reach them. Depending on the size of your team and the type of business you’re running, they may also coordinate with your copywriters, designers, and web developers to refresh your brand’s presence. 

The main deliverable from a brand strategist is… you guessed it, a brand strategy! But what that includes will vary and largely depends on your unique business goals. So, how do you know if you’re working with the right strategist for your goals? We’re so glad you asked. 

5 Questions To Ask Your Potential Brand Strategist

Interviewing potential brand strategists can be daunting. Trusting someone with the business you’ve worked so hard to build is not always easy. But these questions can help you get clear on what will or won’t work for you when it comes to picking a brand strategy partner. 

#1: Have you worked with similar brands in the past? 

This question is less about industry (we’ll get to that in a second) and more about the structure of your business. You’ll have different strategic needs based on whether you’re an established business looking for a rebrand or a start-up breaking into the market for the first time. Similarly, you’ll have different goals and expectations if you’re a corporate presence with national locations vs. a locally-based brick-and-mortar. An effective brand strategist should appreciate the nuance of your business and respond appropriately. 

But does it matter if they’ve worked with other brands in your industry? We’re gonna give a solid yes AND no here 😅

Instead of thinking about it as your industry, ask if they’re familiar with the thing your business sells. Do you sell a service or a product? Are you direct-to-consumer, or do you need to partner with other businesses? Are you a lifestyle or a luxury brand? Familiarity with these categories is more important than knowing the ins and outs of your specific industry. In fact, experience across several industries can offer valuable insights that aren’t always available to business owners. 

#2: How do you measure the success of a brand strategy?

This one’s a bit of a trick question because there’s no single “right” way to do it. Instead of launching into a list of success metrics and KPIs, your potential brand strategist should consider your specific business goals. From the beginning, they’ll work with you to define what “success” means for your business. 

For example, is it more brand awareness? More monthly sales volume? Higher lifetime value per customer? Are you specifically trying to market a new product or service or boost sales for something you’ve brought to market already?

Once they know YOUR goals, a brand strategist can work backward to figure out the right metrics and benchmarks for measuring success. 

#3: How would you handle it if a client disagreed with your suggestions?

Don’t skip this one! The ability to gracefully navigate disagreements is an important soft skill. And how your potential strategist answers this question can clue you into how well you’ll work together in the long run. 

While your brand strategist knows plenty about competitor research, branding trends, and marketing strategies, you’re the expert when it comes to your business. If their insights and suggestions don’t lead to an “Aha!” moment, you might need to spend more time together at the drawing board. Having a brand strategist who can leave their ego out of the equation leads to more collaborative results and stronger strategies. 

#4: How do you create an emotional connection with target audiences?

Effective brand strategy requires both analytical and creative skills. And effective brand strategies appreciate how important it is to create an emotional connection with your potential customers. This requires a deep understanding of your target audience’s needs and values. 

This question gets to the heart of brand strategy. How your potential strategist answers will tell you a lot about their process. Look for answers that include understanding your brand values deeply and doing consumer research that goes beyond the basic demographics (e.g., age, race, gender, location). 

#5: How do you choose which brands you work with?

This is your values checkpoint. Good strategists know that magic happens when there’s alignment. They should have a process or criteria in place to make sure they’re working with brands they fully stand behind. 

You can even ask the potential brand strategist about their values and mission as a follow-up question. Are they dead set on helping solopreneurs thrive? Are they trying to save the world one green campaign at a time? Do they want to create J.E.D.I. (Justice, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion) campaigns that amplify different voices and perspectives? This is your chance to learn more about their passions and make sure they line up with yours. 

Bonus: Questions Your Brand Strategist Should Ask YOU!

After all, interviews are a two-way street. These are some brand strategist green flags you should look for in a potential hire: 

✅ They ask about your business’s background and history, including your motivation for starting in the first place. 

✅ They ask what success means for you in both the short-term and the long-term and are willing to help you more clearly define goals that feel vague or ambiguous.

✅ They ask what marketing initiatives you’ve already tried and have follow-up questions about the success of those efforts. 

Effective Brand Strategy for Bespoke Brands

Here at Lunar Creative, effective strategy and beautiful design go hand-in-hand. That’s why each of our packages starts with the basics: establishing a strong brand identity and defining its target audience. Part craft, part science, and all heart, our brand strategies will help you understand who you are, who your audience is, and how to stand out in your market.

Ready to get started or still have questions? Get in touch and we’ll chat about your project! 

hands typing on a laptop; brand strategist