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Branding, Image, and Marketing Consulting


Branding, image, and marketing consulting focuses on improving the impressions that the general public and customers have of brands, products, and services, as well as of corporations, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations, various other types of businesses, and individuals. For example, a branding, image, and marketing consulting company may work to improve a politician's image, with a goal toward attracting more votes in an upcoming election. A corporation with a brand that has lackluster sales may retain a branding and marketing consulting company to explore ways to change the brand's image to retain current customers while attracting new ones and selling more products. The marketing consultant industry generated about $55 billion in revenue in 2018, with 214,320 marketing consultant businesses employing 402,225 people, as reported by IBISWorld.

There are independent branding, image, and marketing consultants, who own their businesses and may work alone or have several consultants on staff. There are also advertising and marketing agencies that have branding, image, and marketing consulting departments, with dedicated and experienced consultants providing these services directly to clients. Some companies combine sales management with marketing consultant services; others may offer branding, image, and marketing strategy and development services.

A key part of the job of branding, image, and marketing consultants entails researching and analyzing the clients’ business operations, including sales and marketing history and current data, the performance of products and brands, and customers’ and the public’s perceptions of the company and its brands. Companies hire branding and marketing consultants when products or brands are not performing well and third-party help is needed to boost that performance. The consultants share the findings from their research and analysis, making recommendations for steps the companies can take to increase sales of their products and improve the performance of their brands. Branding and marketing consultants often work at marketing, advertising, or management consulting firms.

Image consultants may be hired to help individuals improve their appearance and other aspects of their presentation, either for personal or professional reasons. Image consultants may work in the corporate sector, hired by companies to help corporate executives improve their visual image, including their wardrobe, as well as their behavior and communication skills. Some image consultants specialize in certain areas, such as clothing, hairstyles, and makeup, or speaking skills, or social etiquette. Many image consultants are self-employed and must allot time to promote their services, secure clients, and manage various business and administrative tasks.

Branding, image, and marketing consulting took root in the 1950s and 1960s, when corporations such as General Foods and Procter and Gamble started to focus on the management of their brands. The job of brand manager originated at that time, and this manager’s role entailed developing brands that had unique identities, setting them apart from competing brands. The job of marketing consultants also emerged at this time, with the goal of researching and identifying opportunities to best market companies’ brands. Image consulting has evolved in the past few decades to become a diversified field, with consultants working with celebrities, corporate executives, nonprofit and academic professionals, and individuals who want to improve their image to achieve personal or professional goals.