Making time for a workshop can certainly seem like a pressure when planning to undertake any work on your brand. One of the biggest objections we often get is “how long is it going to take?”. We get it you’re busy, but until you start making time for your brand and building brand clarity it’s likely that the message and ideas in your head are really quite blurred and not as clear or concise as you may think.
How do we know this?
Well, putting our experience to one side working with key decision makers, founders and co-founders etc. It’s really human nature and we are all human aren’t we! The key thing is, that as human’s it is impossible to self edit. Even whilst i am writing this article I am constantly trying to hold back on ideas and thoughts and consciously keep editing and editing again in an attempt to really refine the message. The reality is though it is hard and as a business owner and founder I too seek the help of other professionals to help with exactly this.
A key example of this is when you get the opportunity to speak in front of an audience. It doesn’t matter if this is big or small but we all have the same feelings.
Take the following:
- a good shot of adrenaline, mixed with some nerves,
- something you are extremely passionate about,
- an audience willing to listen
and the natural human response is ‘Tell them everything!’ It’s like something takes over your ability to speak in short and concise sentences. Trust me when I say it seems impossible to stop yourself from just giving that little bit extra detail.
You’ll be pleased to know that if you find yourself reading this and think ’Yes we struggle with exactly this’ then don’t worry, help is not far away.
Understanding the brand challenge
At Grey Coffee we always use the term understanding the challenge because for many brands it is exactly that. As business owners we believe we have full clarity on our brand, what we do, how we do it and why people should care ..etc but when faced with some of these questions we have seen many founders, co-founders, CMO’s (Inc key decision makers) get really tongue tied and sometimes lost for words.
These first impressions are always the most important and really interesting for us when observing any new brand strategy client. It is great to interact and have such dialogue but it is also fascinating when comparing the results between 3 or 4 different team members. For brands that have total clarity on their positioning and purpose you’d expect that these responses would be very well aligned. For many however that is not the case.
How can we use brand strategy to deliver a brand workshop?
At Grey Coffee we use brand strategy to help set the longer term ambitions of your brand through brand planning, thinking and implementation. Having total clarity around your brand will give you the foundation you need to present and communicate your brand consistently to your desired community or audience.
Brand workshops are a great way to get your team aligned and work through some of the biggest challenges you face as a brand. They are designed to be collaborative sessions and a facilitator like Grey Coffee will help to really define your brand idea. The key here is that we are able to take a position outside of your company i.e. we are viewing this from the outside looking in. Our vision and perceptions are not shaped in the same way as someone within the company. We can highlight areas that are confused or where messages are blurred or inconsistent. We can positively challenge you to make sure that we all share the same values and ideas when it comes to your brand but also the future and direction in which it is heading.
How to run a brand workshop
To run a brand workshop you are going to need the following:
- Identify the core team members to attend the workshop – This has to consist of key decision makers and if your business is built up of a founder or co-founder partnership then they must be in attendance.
- Decide where you will run your workshop (we have done all of ours online since the COVID pandemic) but if guidance permits then doing these in person would definitely be the preferred method.
- Make sure you set out the key challenges of the workshop. If you have ever run a design sprint this format can work really well for a brand workshop. If you haven’t run a design sprint then don’t worry the key thing is at this point is to understand what you hope to achieve from the workshop. For example; if you were going to be starting a new brand then the key challenge of the workshop would be to ensure that you successfully work through the brand strategy which will help support the naming process of the new brand.
- Decide on an amount of time you can commit to the workshop. Then, break that time down into smaller chunks so that you don’t hit a wall and fatigue after 2 – 3 hours. At Grey Coffee we run our workshops over two days and we run 4 x brand sprints each one being 3 hours in duration.
- If you are new to Brand Strategy then you may want to consider downloading our Free Brand Strategy template which you can download here – Free Brand Strategy Template – This will give your workshops some structure and make you use your time wisely.
- Finally, adopt a sprint ethos – use post it notes as it will help keep your answers concise, make sure you work against the clock and all distractions must be switched off. No mobiles, or laptops and anything else which may turn your attention from the brand workshop. This rule is non negotiable but we do understand that you may need to take an important call. If this is the case then we simply ask to step outside so it doesn’t disrupt the rest of the team actively participating in the branding workshop.
Some other key points to note
This isn’t a tick box exercise it’s about finding clarity and ensuring that you all agree on the positioning and brand strategy moving forward. Remember that not everyone is as familiar or comfortable talking about the subject of brand. Whilst this may come more naturally to others for some it may take them a little longer to find their feet.
If you have two days planned out for this then make sure you have a selection of healthy snacks and plenty of water. This will certainly help keep your brain engaged and active. You should take regular breaks too.
Where relevant we also like to supply our clients with a link to Simon Sinek’s start with why Ted Talk. This is a fantastic resource and introduction to brand thinking. If you’ve not seen it then it is always a good place to start as it will lead you in the right direction in preparation for a brand workshop.
To conclude, brand workshops are about delivering a strategic process which will help to form the key foundations of your brand. It’s intended to be challenging and you should come away from a workshop with full brand clarity. It’s this clarity which will enable you to grow, develop and position your brand as a positive disruptor or leader as opposed to a follower.
I’ll leave you with this thought.
All brands seek long lasting relationships with their customers.
Customer loyalty can only be achieved by brands that provide ‘consistent’ brand experiences.
At the heart of consistency lives brand clarity.