This is the ultimate list of online brand strategy courses for creatives who want to become strategists or CEO’s who want to build a brand the strategic way.
If you’re a designer, go beyond making it look pretty — learn how to build brands from the ground up.
If you're onboarding a new client and don’t take the time to understand the business behind it, the target audience, the appropriate tone of voice and messaging, then you're just doing disservice to your client.
The goal of strategy is to focus all your visual, verbal and conceptual thinking on design solutions that will help your client achieve their business and marketing objectives.
So you need to get clarity on key aspects of branding in order to be able to make decisions that are “on brand”.
Brand strategy is basically bridging the gap between the business and design.
Your goal as a brand strategist is to go above and beyond just making your brand look pretty — you need to make it work.
Developing brand strategy will help you learn as much about the business as possible, so that you can propose the best possible creative solutions.
But if you don't go into your project with some sort of a strategy, you will most likely get a lot of push back from your client.
And you and your clients will be very subjective, saying something like: "I don't like blue" — then it becomes a very difficult conversation.
So when you don't do the strategy it becomes very subjective and more of an art critique.
That's why business solutions that have both rationale and creative parts at their core are essential to differentiating you and your work from the pack.
So without further ado — let's look at some of the best brand strategy courses available online.
1. WHY Discovery Course by Simon Sinek
Simon Sinek is the author of the bestselling book Start With Why and the more practical version Find Your Why — a written version of his online course.
A practical guide for discovering purpose for you and your team.
This course is designed to help you find words to express what truly inspires you.
Cost: $150 | Length: 17 Videos, 20 hours | By Simon Sinek
Simon’s course is based on the concept of Golden Circle which he explains is grounded in the biology of human decision making.
This easy-to-follow guide starts with discovering your personal WHY, and then expands to articulating your organization's WHY.
So whether you're a CEO or a team, these simple steps will lead you on a path to a more fulfilling life and long-term success for you and your brand.
Over 16,000 people have become students of this course.
This online course costs only $150 and contains 17 short and actionable videos together with worksheets to help you implement what you learn right away.
I strongly recommend this course for all CEO’s and teams who either start a new business/brand or go through a rebrand process.
PS. I based the Brand Purpose exercise of my Strategy Guide on the Simon’s concept of Golden Circle.
2. StoryBrand by Donald Miller
Donald Miller is a New York Times bestselling author and CEO of StoryBrand and he has helped over 10,000 businesses clarify their message.
An online course to help you create a clear message that works.
In this course, he’ll help you clarify your company’s message so customers pay attention and respond.
Cost: $275 or $995 | Length: 28 Videos, 20 hours | By Donald Miller
Donald's course is based on his proprietary storytelling framework described in more detail in his books StoryBrand and the most recent Marketing Made Simple.
His 7-step messaging framework goes like this:
“A character who wants something encounters a problem before they can get it. At the peak of their despair, a guide steps into their lives gives them a plan, and calls them to action. That action helps them avoid failure and ends in a success.”
Although this is not a typical brand strategy course but a messaging framework, it’s worth mentioning because messaging is a big part of developing a sound brand strategy.
You will learn how to use words to tell a compelling brand story and position your brand as a guide and solution to your customers problems and pain points.
In this course, you’ll get access to a free online tool (worksheets) that guides you through the implementation process step-by-step.
You have two options:
Buy a yearly subscription for $275 and get access to this online course,
Or pay $995 to book a livestream workshop and get instant feedback.
I highly recommend this course for anyone working on website copy, email sequences and sales letters.
You learn frameworks and step-by-step techniques to put this knowledge into practice.
The course focuses around 8 winning strategies of the most innovative and valuable firms in the world (case studies).
Most importantly you will learn by doing, with discussion groups, active Slack discussions, prompts, and opportunities to collaborate with peers.
What makes it different from other courses listed above is that this one (similarly to Donald’s $995 option) is an interactive learning experience.
The classes are designed for mid-to-senior level professionals working full-time, whether it be CEO’s and leaders, or creative professionals.
What’s unique — you’ll also get access to private Slack community with 200+ fellow professionals and community of 1000+ from companies like Walmart, Allstate, Bain, Everlane, Macy’s, Google, Vanguard, and more.
5. Brand Strategy Class by Mark Pollard
Mark Pollard is the CEO at Mighty Jungle and an author of this beginner level course on Skillshare.
A beginners course to building brands the strategic way.
In this short (and cheap) course you will learn the absolute basics of how to create a brand that can stand the test of time.
An advanced platform built on Google Sheets (fill in the blanks)
This course is basically a platform that will allow you to fill-in the blanks and input data to pre-designed Google Sheets. This way you can populate the answers and arrive on strategic insights right in the Google Sheets.
The course is very comprehensive and quite different from other courses, and therefore most expensive.
Daniel compares brand building to building a house and this analogy and his course structure make it easy to follow and understand.
Great course for graphic designers, agency owners and creatives who want level up and truly help their clients succeed in branding.
8. Brand Strategy Guide by Arek Dvornechuck
And finally, as the last but not least on my list is my own Strategy Guide.
A practical guide to running brand strategy workshops.
I’ve developed my course based on some of the best books and courses that exist out there, some of which I mentioned in this list.
Cost: $497 | Length: 12 Videos | By Arek Dvornechuck
In my course I divide brand strategy into 3 sections:
Brand Core (Purpose, Vision, Values)
Brand Positioning (Audience, Market, Goals)
Brand Persona (Personality, Voice, Tagline)
In total, you’ll find 9 step-by-step branding exercises that you can use a whiteboard or fill in the worksheets provided.
In my brand strategy course you won’t find hours of boring videos with overwhelming amounts of content that you don’t really know how to apply.
Throughout my career I’ve gone through many courses on brand strategy, both in-person workshops and online.
This experience allowed me to try and test different approaches with my clients and pick what works best.
I strongly believe that whatever you want to learn, you should focus on applying it right away, because otherwise you’ll forget what you’ve just learned.
This type of self-education is the most valuable type of education I know of and that’s why I made my course extremely practical.