1. What does it take to be a great brand strategist?
One of the wisest things I learned from my brilliant professor Robert Jones, the Head of New Thinking at Wolff Olins, is to be a successful consultant, you have to be ambitious for your self and most importantly, for your clients.
I’ve been lucky enough to meet and work with some brilliant branding professionals in the UK. They all share one common trait — they never stop thinking about how they can add value to their clients. An outstanding consultant or a service provider always put their clients’ benefits first in a deal. To win a battle, you have to be a game-changer. The one thing that determines your success is your ability to provide the solution that will drive growth, will challenge the status-quo at a competitive price.
Most of my breakthrough moment at work is when I can’t get through a single day without thinking about how to meet/exceed my client’s expectations. The biggest drive for my success is the success of my clients, because that is when my achievement got noticed. Once your talent got proven, many doors will be opened for you.
2. Think strategically, act flexibly.
What I mean about thinking strategically is always have a plan in mind about the outcome you want, about the tactics you can consider using & be fully flexible if the strategy doesn’t workout as you expected. In a world of constant adjustment and real-time performance feedback, long-term plans and fixed budgets are becoming increasingly unrealistic. Instead of a year long plan, break it down to 6 months or even 3 months.
There is no such thing as one-size-fit-all in this world. Marketers and brand strategists should never lock themselves into a structure that won’t allow them to capitalise on rapidly emerging opportunity or cut campaigns that are clearly adding no value to their outcome.
3. Follow your passion
Enough said about passion. Many people think passion is overrated and realistically you should be following things that brings you financial reward. But life is too short to get good at what you don’t want to be doing. To be successful in any profession, you need thousand of hours to practice and (if you’re lucky enough) to become an expert in your chosen field. It takes years of training, reading, try and fail, try and win to accomplish something that I can (secretly) proud of.
No matter how exciting, glamorous your job is, there will always be a down time when everything goes wrong, your ideas got rejected, your plan fails miserably and all you want to do is giving up. If it is not for passion, you will have no strength to carry on. Because deep inside, you know passion is what keep you up at night, it is the first thing you think about when you wake up. It excites you every time you see a new opportunity and makes you hunger for knowledge and strive to constantly increase your competence.