How To Hire A Brand Strategist
May 09, 2023
A brand strategist focuses on creating and promoting the public image of a brand, working on different platforms and with different tools to ensure that the brand is maintained in the right way by customers, suppliers, and staff.
Hiring the right brand strategist will help a business to make the most of their product or service, showcasing it in the right way to be seen by the people that count - mostly clients, of course - and they will be able to work within a defined budget to make a difference to the way your business is viewed.
There are certain skills and abilities that are essential for a brand strategist, over and above any specific education and experience - and in this article, we will look at what these competencies are and how you can best find them in candidates through pre-employment screening tests.
What should a brand strategist be able to do?
A brand strategist should be able to do several things, and the tasks that they might be expected to do range from developing strategies to implementing changes and decisions.
Firstly, a brand strategist takes control of the planning and directing of the brand itself, including communications over different channels. This can include print advertising, social media, and audio and visual advertising.
The brand strategist works with the business stakeholders to decide on what the branding of the company should look like, how the products and services should be described, and where they should be seen. They might be developing the current brand image and updating it, or creating something completely new.
They are responsible for creating market research plans and conducting different types of research, including competitor products and services, and what the customers are looking for.
Brand strategists might work with other marketing managers to create a ‘persona’, a descriptor of a key target audience that is used to develop a marketing plan that is aimed at encouraging this type of person to buy the product or service.
Brand strategists might write press releases, take part in press conferences, and create other communications.
A brand strategist also can have responsibility for analyzing marketing campaigns for efficiency, looking for trends through assessing the data coming back from each channel.
Skills to look for in a brand strategist
There are several skills that are important for a brand strategist to have. Qualifications and experience are necessary in many cases, but it is the level of skill that a candidate has that shows whether they are more likely to be successful in the role. Some of the skills that you should be looking for in a brand strategist include:
Marketing and CRM Software: using CRM software designed to keep track of customers, including things like Salesforce, is a great skill for a brand strategist because they need to be able to monitor the data and implement changes.
Design: while the brand strategist usually works with a design team in the marketing department, some knowledge and skill in design software like Adobe can be helpful.
Communication: this is one of the most important skills for a brand strategist, because they need to be able to create communications over different platforms. They need to be able to work effectively with different people in the business and outside of it.
Critical Thinking and Decision Making: analysis and judgment are needed to make the best decisions on strategy, and they need to be able to problem solve effectively - which means that critical thinking is needed.
Reading and Writing: communication isn't just spoken, and a successful brand strategist needs to have excellent literacy skills. They need to be able to read and understand written data, and to be able to create different types of written information.
Useful abilities for a brand strategist
Abilities are essentially natural competencies, and the ability that a candidate has for certain things will help them be more successful in a role. The abilities that you should be looking for in a brand strategist include:
Oral Comprehension and Expression: the brand strategist needs to be able to share their ideas in plain spoken English and they also need to be able to understand spoken instructions and information too.
Written Comprehension and Expression: in a similar way, the brand strategist needs to be able to understand written information, and be able to express themselves appropriately through writing.
Creativity: coming up with a brand image and ideas for marketing and advertising needs original ideas and creativity, with a good flow of ideas that come from some creative wellspring.
Deductive Reasoning: as part of the analysis skills that a brand strategist needs, good reasoning ability is a necessity. Deductive reasoning is all about using unfamiliar data to reach a logical conclusion.
Information Ordering: getting the data together to be able to analyze it effectively comes from having it available, and the ability to order information logically is a part of this.
Which soft skills tests could I use to hire a brand strategist?
Soft skills are transferable skills that are useful in the workplace because they define how a candidate will work with other people. They are the interpersonal skills that influence things like communication and workplace culture, and they can be difficult to assess in candidates through resume sifting and even in interviews.
There are soft skills pre-employment assessments that you can use, which give data on the level of skill - and some of the best choices for a brand strategist are included below:
Communication: in the communication assessment, the candidate can demonstrate that they are able to use different communication skills to solve work-related problems.
Leadership: brand strategists need to have leadership skills, even if they aren't directly managing staff. They can demonstrate their negotiation and delegation skills in the leadership assessment.
Project Management: brand strategists are in charge of many different projects throughout the marketing department, so skills in managing projects are an important facet of the role.
Decision Making: the decision making skill is something that can be inherent to a candidate, and having the natural ability to pull in relevant data to make the right decisions at the right time is important to a brand strategist.
Adaptability: there are a lot of different tasks that a brand strategist might deal with on a day-to-day basis, and being able to adapt and be flexible to work in the best way to suit the situation is a skill that can make the difference in a successful applicant.
Which technical or aptitude tests could I use to hire a brand strategist?
Technical skills are important in hiring the right brand strategist, as are aptitudes - and much like the soft skills, it can be difficult to gauge the level of skill in these areas that a candidate has using traditional screening techniques like resume sifting.
Using pre-employment assessments provides data-driven results that show how competent each candidate is, and some of the best technical and aptitude skills tests that you can use to evaluate a potential brand strategist include:
Verbal Reasoning: the verbal reasoning assessment is all about reading written information and selecting the right data to use to make a reasoned and logical decision.
Emotional Intelligence: emotional intelligence is a really important skill in many roles, and having a high level of emotional intelligence gives a candidate the aptitude to be able to understand and use emotions in the workplace.
Abstract Reasoning: the abstract reasoning assessment allows the candidate to demonstrate that they can spot patterns and trends in unfamiliar information, which shows they are skilled in deductive reasoning.
Adobe: the Adobe suite of design tools is a really useful skill in brand management, and this test will demonstrate the level of proficiency that the candidate has in using the software.
Salesforce: Salesforce is one of the most popular CRM software suites, used from small business through to Enterprise level - and a candidate who is familiar with it will be able to use those skills in the workplace.
Our recommended test battery for a brand strategist
With all the above tests covering many facets of the role of a brand strategist, the recruitment process would be comprehensive - but it would be a lot of tests for the candidate and would be quite difficult to implement. The below tests are the recommended battery that we think would cover the most important part of the role.
Communication: in the communication test, the candidate is given several different fictional yet realistic work-related scenarios, and they will need to decide what the best course of action is to solve the problem that is presented. The choice they make will reflect their preferred way of communicating in the workplace.
Verbal Reasoning: in the verbal reasoning test, the candidate is presented with a series of passages of text. They will need to quickly read and understand the information in the passage, to be able to answer the multiple-choice question that follows.
Decision Making: in the decision making test, there are scenarios that are work-related, describing a problem that needs to be solved through successful and thoughtful decision making. The candidate needs to decide how best to deal with the issue, choosing from one of the multiple courses of action that are presented.
If you want to find out more about hiring a brand strategist and look at a specific test, the PR job knowledge test page has some more detailed information that you might find helpful.
May 09, 2023