What’s working in Brand Strategy like?

Lisa Dachs, and Anneli Eddy | Hands & Minds

Every brand decision is a design decision. KISKA Brand Strategists start by “Branding From The Core”. 

What do you do in Brand Strategy?

LISA: Brand Strategy creates new brands, boosts existing brands, helps creatives design on-brand, and structures brand portfolios. This doesn’t happen exclusively through slide decks and corporate design at KISKA. We work with a product-first approach, or what we call Branding From The Core. In short: we bring brands to life through actual product and service solutions. They’re the touchpoints people care most about.

To do this, we need to get to the bottom of our client’s challenges. Most often these are business or customer related, and we tease them out by leading decision makers through brand analysis activities. These people know their business best. We’re simply helping them gain clarity.

We also help our clients make their business and brand objectives more concrete, by translating them into achievable goals. Doing this, we’re establishing the way forward for a long-term brand strategy.

We’re also the “translator” between clients and KISKA’s creative team. Throughout a project, we work closely with both sides to ensure strategies are precise and the tasks to achieve them are well-defined.

ANNELI: Lisa’s right. Brand Strategy is the ‘glue’ of a project. We identify opportunities, then provide the inspiration and direction needed to bring creative teams together, build strong bonds, and create solid outcomes.

Describe your day-to-day work.

LISA: Our days are guided largely by the tasks needed to build a brand. Since this can be a complex undertaking, we do a lot to ensure these topics are easily understandable for clients. For example, we’ll do workshops to identify their business, market, and customer challenges. Then, we’ll organize all the material we’ve collected, uncover the brand’s potential, and reframe it into achievable targets. We also spend time visualising the information, so it’s even more straightforward to understand.

ANNELI: To do what Lisa describes (frame our clients’ businesses challenges, brand challenges and goals), much of our day is spent collaborating with other KISKA teams. 

LISA: It’s KISKA’s Skills United! approach in action. For example, to help a global consumer brand acquire new users through refined positioning and design language, I consulted with Researchers, Product Experience Designers, and Communication Designers. Informed by the research, I put together proposals that would help the client achieve their market goals, while also inspiring the designers.

How would you describe your team dynamic and how you work with KISKA clients?

ANNELI: As Brand Strategists, we have a fundamental appreciation of how to bring our skills and backgrounds together to deliver well-rounded strategies for each project. As such, I’d describe us as an agile and collaboration-oriented team. 

LISA: It’s so enriching to work with all these amazing and creative people from around the world. It’s hands-on work, and each of us brings in new and fresh perspectives. We support each other and I really like finding the fun part of each project together.

ANNELI: We also have built connections to other teams at the global KISKA studios. Each project is a perfect constellation of experts, meaning we are constantly learning from and exchanging knowledge across teams.

LISA: The approach translates to our client relationships as well. We’re eager to build close and long-lasting relationships with them. It’s key to understanding their business, industry, and customers.

What’s the best thing about your job? And, the most challenging?

ANNELI: No project is identical, which is both the best and most challenging aspect of the job. Each client requires using different areas of expertise and knowledge to take them to the next level. The collaborative creativity makes every day exciting.

LISA: The most rewarding and challenging parts of the job are two sides of the same coin: Brand Strategy is part science and part creative thinking. You can’t focus only on facts and figures, because you won’t be able to take creative leaps. Similarly, you can’t prioritise only blue-sky thinking. Happily, the balancing act of searching for logic in ambiguity and finding inspiration in rigid structures is perfect. It keeps me on my toes.

While creating and cultivating a brand can be challenging, I love the combination of strategy and design at KISKA. By connecting people, reframing problems as opportunities, and translating business targets into design tasks, the strategy comes alive!

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