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The Difference Between a Marketing Consultant and Branding Consultant in Singapore

In this article, we try to answer the question “what is the difference between a marketing consultant and branding consultant in Singapore?”.

If you ask this question to 10 different marketing consultants and 10 different branding consultants, you will likely get close to 20 answers.

First, we should have an understanding of what branding is.

We can take the definition of a brand from the American Marketing Association as a starting point:

“A brand is a name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.”

Branding is the process of creating a strong brand or brand equity. The components of branding used to create a strong brand are summed up in the infographic below:

Components of Branding | Evolve & Adapt

In a previous post, I discussed the fundamentals of brand equity; specifically, the value and power of the brand that determines its worth which is an excellent complement to this article.

So, a brand consultant is naturally someone who knows the ins and outs of branding and how to help a business build its brand equity.

Study.com details the duties of a branding consultant as follows:

“Branding consultants begin by gathering data, performing market research to identify target markets and assess consumer perceptions, competition, business trends, and product value. Consultants can also perform internal audits to ensure the needs and goals of a company’s departments are aligned.

This research informs the development of an overall brand strategy, which can affect logo and package design, pricing, placement, advertising campaigns, and customer service messaging. Decisions influenced by branding consultants include where to distribute a product, what medium is best for advertising and how to shape product messages for different demographics.”

Having read the above, it might seem like the role of a branding consultant seems very similar to that of a marketing consultant.

To help us understand the difference, we can look to the Marketing Inverted PyramidTM, a model that concisely represents how marketing forms the foundation of business strategy.

The Marketing Inverted Pyramid | J C Sum

The Marketing Inverted PyramidTM is represented by three sides of an upside-down pyramid. Each side represents one aspect of marketing, namely:

    • Value Creation
    • Communication
    • Brand Equity

Each aspect represents one stage of the marketing process that lays the foundation of the business.

All three aspects of marketing work in a successive cyclical manner indefinitely. Each aspect reinforces the other, and together guide the strategy and tactics of the business.

Read this article for a full description of this framework.

From the Marketing Inverted PyramidTM, we can see that branding is a subset of marketing. Marketing is the big picture view of a business, and branding forms the third aspect of marketing.

A marketing consultant is a broader and somewhat vague term. It can refer to a professional who thinks of high-level strategy to one who is an expert of a specific type of marketing tactic. For example, someone who specializes in event marketing like tradeshows and conferences is technically a form of a marketing consultant.

So, a branding consultant is a specific type of marketing consultant. He/ she focuses on the components of a brand as highlighted in the infographic above; visual, words and the intangibles.

HIRING A MARKETING CONSULTANT OR BRANDING CONSULTANT IN SINGAPORE

Now that you know the critical difference between a marketing consultant and branding consultant, you can hire the right consultant for your needs.

If you are looking for a marketing consultant to reinvent your business, you will want to look for a strategy consultant. However, if your strategic marketing plan is in place and you are looking for someone to help with branding materials and to create a unified customer experience with a specific identify, you will want to hire a branding consultant.

In a previous article, I shared how to choose a digital consultant in Singapore. The same criteria for choosing a consultant will apply here too. You can read that article here.

One thing to consider when hiring a marketing or branding consultant in Singapore is to seek one that is a certified management consultant so that you can tap on the Enterprise Development Grant (EDG).

The EDG, or sometimes referred to as the EDG grant by mistake, can be used to help offset third-party consultancy-related costs (SMEs up to 70%; non-SMEs up to 50% of qualified costs). Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the maximum support level has been raised to 80% till end 2020. 

You can read more about hiring an EDG  consultant in Singapore here.

J C Sum

J C Sum is a certified management consultant (TR 43:2015), an American Marketing Association Professional Certified Marketer (PCM®) in marketing management as well as a certified digital marketing strategist (SSG-WSQ accredited) with 11 years of experience specializing in search engine optimization, content marketing and analytics. He is the author of "Evolve, Adapt or Collapse" and has been featured on The Straits Times, Business Times, Channel News Asia, The Edge Singapore, CNA938 and Money FM 89.3.

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