Conducting a Brand Workshop: What you need to know
April 12, 2022
A brand is only as good as its impact on its audience and how clearly it can communicate the values and mission, while standing out from the crowd. We always start every branding project with our brand workshop, to help them understand their current brand vision and the direction they need to go for it to achieve their business goals. Since every agency does this differently, we decided to share our process behind the brand workshop.
After reading how we run our workshops, you’ll be able to run an internal session with your team using our DIY brand workshop download.
Download our step-by-step guide to run your own Brand Workshop internally.
What is branding and why is it important?
Branding allows you to build connections and relationships with your target audience, to project your mission and vision which can turn them into loyal customers and users. Branding is your first impression, a way to highlight and bring awareness to your offering and to leave an everlasting impression.
Your brand can be broken down into three areas: Brand Strategy
Your strategy is the blueprints for how you will appeal to your ideal customer, identifying your reason for being, promises and how you solve your audience's problems.
Your brand identity is the way you communicate this to your target audience with visual assets, messaging, experience and consistency.
Finally, your brand marketing focuses on how you bring awareness and consideration to your offerings through connecting those values and voice to your target audience.
What is a brand workshop and what does it do?
A brand workshop looks to peel back the layers of your business and allows you and your team to discuss what your aspirational brand currently looks like and what you want it to be. It is to make the abstract idea of ‘our brand’ into something concrete. After completing our workshop, your team gets a common language to describe what the company is about - all subsequent squishy decisions about visuals, voice, and identity become easier.
Sometimes, it’s easy to become short-sighted and to see the brand as the final product, but our workshop breaks this down and helps with questioning each element to think logically; questions you probably haven’t thought about (for a long time or at all).
What is included in our brand workshop?
Our workshop format is a sprint-like process that any team can use, walking a cross-functional group through the entire flow in about 3 hours.
The Brand Workshop consists of six exercises:
20-year roadmap, helping you think long-term
Reminding you why your company exists
Your values and audiences
Define the attitude and style of your brand
Compare your brand to other companies
Let’s look at how we run one of the exercises…
One example of the above is your 20-year roadmap, a 15 minute exercise:
1. Look into the future and think about what your company might be doing 20 year from now.
2. Draw a timeline on the whiteboard, labelled with 5, 10, 15, and 20 years into the future:
To decide what your company will be doing at each of those future dates, you’ll use a simple exercise we call Note-and-Vote.
Note-and-Vote speeds up thinking and decision-making by alternating between solo and group activities. Here’s how it works for the 20-Year Roadmap:
1. Each person quietly writes down his or her own prediction for all four dates.
2. Going around the room, each person reads their answers aloud and the facilitator writes them on the whiteboard.
3. No argument or discussion yet.
4. Each person looks at the list and quietly writes down their favourite answers.
5. Going around the room, each person reads their votes aloud and the facilitator marks the votes on the whiteboard.
6. Discuss and argue for about five minutes (use a timer to keep it to five minutes!).
7. The Decider chooses her favourite item for each future date.
8. Take a photo of the whiteboard and put it into a new slide deck called “Super Simple Brand Guide”.
Taken together, those six exercises are a powerful, concrete representation of your company’s brand. When you’re faced with a big decision — about naming, identity, marketing, or even company policy — you can use these diagrams as a guide.
Your Brand Guide can also help new employees understand what your company is about, and can even remind the founding team what you stand for. That’s a big deal. When you really nail your brand, it’s not a fluffy veneer applied at the end. Instead, it’s everything: what you build, the way you build it, who you build it for, and how you do your work. And we think it’s definitely worth three hours to figure that out.
Run your own Brand Workshop
We will always recommend that you run a brand workshop hosted by us as it’s difficult for internal teams to distance themselves from the brand, and subconscious prejudices can hamper the process. But, if you’d like to run an internal brand workshop using our framework, take advantage of our free Brand Workshop Guide download below.