Recently, Claire Parker (Executive Creative Director of our Amsterdam Studio) was interviewed by Chuck Kent from Branding Magazine for a Branding Roundtable eBook, alongside the likes Tommaso Calzolari (Senior Brand Marketing, Adidas) and Michael D’Esopo (Senior Partner, Director of Brand Strategy, Lippincott).
We’ve selected a couple of Claire’s insights into brand strategy and creativity for our blog readers below, and you can download the full eBook here.
How do you define the role(s) of a brand strategist? What educational background is required and what personal skills —or talents, if you will — does a brand strategist need to be successful?
You are a thinker and teller and to be great you have probably learned the hard way! You have to enjoy a conversation with a CEO and not feel intimidated by it, put see it as an opportunity to share perspectives on brands and business. Essentially you need to feel as comfortable with stats and figures as you are with creative directors – an extrovert geek.
You get the role of creativity in growing businesses. You understand the difference between all the disciplines in the marketing mix… you know why advertising agencies are vital, as are digital agencies – but you know why brand design agencies are also in the game and that we have can have an integral role in defining brand and creative strategy – brand strategy builds the heart of the brand not just its voice for a moment in time but the beat that sustains it.
As to design, what education, range of skills and raw talent does a brand designer need to possess to succeed in our multi-modal world?
Interested, engaged and inspired by everything and everyone. The more diverse and eclectic your world of inspiration is, the greater your chances of finding unique ways of bringing brands to life. Being a great designer is as much about what you know as how you can do something, technical skill and craft is nothing if your work does not have a great idea at its soul.
You should be able to tell your stories with conviction and belief, you should be able to inspire others with that thinking just through words and a quick sketch on a scrap of paper. All the style and finish in the world doesn’t make the idea it just allows it to shine brilliantly. So know your stuff and talk about it well in an engaging and memorable way.
What other creative roles do you see as being crucial in branding (e.g.. writing, concepting, etcetera) and what education, skills and raw talent do they need to develop?
Being a great creative encompass a lot of skills, you need to be an inspirational leader who takes great pleasure in motivating, nurturing and developing a team. You need to understand financial efficiency of projects and oversee the development and creative excellence throughout the design process. You have the ability to provide clarity, inspiration and commitment to LEADING your clients and your own teams to a clearly expressed vision.
You need to be a cultural sponge, attentive to and appreciative of detail, but who also gets the bigger picture. Mental agility and a way with words, both spoken and written should be a big part of who you are.
Particularly given the rise of innovation as an overall concern in the life of brands, what sort of creative aptitude/attitude/skills should any and every position in branding be expected to bring and/or cultivate?
Open, inquisitive, able to find see the insight hidden within general observations. Great innovation comes from seeing the opportunity within something, making the connections that others have missed and finding a way to address it.
Being able to communicate this well and why from the brands point of view this is appropriate is vital. As is the leadership to bring others along on that journey and inspire and enthuse them through time and inevitable obstacles that will litter the way. The initial idea is genius but it is the ability to make it happen and become a reality that is true innovation, and this is never done in isolation. It needs a committed team with a shared vision and tenacity to make it happen.
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