What a career in brand strategy looks like
One of our favorite things to do at IP is teach about brand strategy. We love to give talks and lead workshops for high school and college students, sharing details about brand strategy as a career and the work we do. Often at our sessions students react by saying they had no idea what brand strategy was or that it is a career path that people pursue. Our goal is to open minds and doors to brand strategy.
It isn’t very surprising that most students are unfamiliar with the profession. There is no degree in brand strategy like there is for engineering or marketing. Often it is a component of a communications class but rarely the core focus.Many people think that brand strategy is synonymous with public relations or advertising. That may be the reason why individuals from many different backgrounds find brand strategy and end up entering the profession from diverse entry points, making it an interesting space filled with people that hold different experiences and perspectives. We have one thing in common though – innate curiosity and a problem-solving mentality. At Innovation Protocol, many of our team members have worked in fields ranging from sales to entertainment to architecture. There is no one clear path directly to brand strategy and this enables individuals to bring their own unique and carefully crafted set of skills to the work we do.
Many of our team members were introduced to brand strategy and became interested in pursuing the profession through conversations with past colleagues, friends, and acquaintances. If you’re interested in learning more about brand strategy but are having hard time knowing what the first step is, we always recommend tapping into your network and setting up conversations with people who work in brand strategy or related fields to learn more. Conversations lead to more connections that have the potential to open doors. That’s how many of us at IP got to be the brand strategists we are today.
While there is not a “typical” career roadmap or trajectory once you’re in the profession that is standard across all brand strategy agencies, IP did develop a path to guide our strategists. It provides clear stages and associated positions as one grows from focusing more on learning and supporting on projects to being a project lead who guides and helps develop others as they work to advance and grow.
If someone is completely new to brand strategy, they’ll likely start in an entry level position as an “Analyst.” This position is like an apprenticeship and is highly focused on learning, absorbing, and beginning to implement foundational brand strategy knowledge.The job of an Analyst is to learn from the senior strategists and to provide support where they can. As a strategist gradually gains more skills and experience, advancing in their career, they assume more responsibilities.Associates begin to lead small and medium brand programs while Senior Consultants manage multiple large scale brand development efforts. At the Director level, strategists provide oversight, play a key role in the professional development of other strategists and are tasked with managing core business operations, ensuring the success of the Brand Development department.
This path gives an inside look at what a brand strategist’s career trajectory at an agency might look like. It provides the right amount of structure and gives strategists a sense of the growth path at IP. No matter where you’re at on your career journey at IP, everyone is invested in each other’s success. Each position contributes tremendously to the success of a brand program and no matter what position you hold, your contribution and collaboration is critical.
In our blog post next month, we will dive into the skills needed to be successful as a brand strategist.