Still think a branding workshop is mental masturbation? You’re not alone. In fact, so did we less than a year ago. But, someone asked us the question below and it blew our minds. It blew our minds because we couldn’t answer it. And now we’re asking you.
You have 3 seconds to answer this question in 1 sentence:
“WHY does your company do WHAT it does?”
Did you succeed? Or did you freeze? If you froze, here are some easier questions:
- Are you struggling with your content strategy?”
- Aching to uncover and unleash your X-Factor?”
- Want to supercharge your brand loyalty?”
If any of these considerations struck a chord, a custom Brand Strategy Workshop with Vitals Agency is worth considering.
There are many frameworks for conducting a branding workshop. Each come with their own unique set of modules, and no two branding workshops are alike. Our process walks teams through 6 self-contained modules. This framework is also the process of choice for the venture-backed tech giants of Silicon Valley. One consideration above all others is the philosophy of “diagnosis prior to prescription”. Prescription before diagnosis usually leave brands over-medicated, numb, and ineffective. We must dig deep before effective brand strategy and content strategy can be recommended. Our job is simply to facilitate an exploration of what is and isn’t working. Then we offer treatment for precise pains.
Rest assured however, our branding workshops are not hill-top preaching sessions or lectures. These strategy sessions are engaging and interactive by necessity. We offer an opportunity to ratchet tight some loose brand bolts, rally your key thinkers, and inspire the dormant greatness that already exists within your brand. By leading your team through this 2 day process together, we are able to evoke crystal clarity on what the brand as a whole stands for, and why that matters.
How Does a Branding Workshop Work?
Each workshop is guided by Vitals Agency’s co-founders and facilitation experts. We can conduct it either at your office or a local work/share space. Our workshop solutions include creative exercises, craft services, sticky notes, and sticky notes. We love sticky notes. And after we’re done, you will also love sticky notes.
During our Branding Workshop, we explore these crucial brand foundation elements:
0. Your “WHY”
Having an ultra clear understanding of why your brand exists, above a simple “to be successful”, is essential to your brand’s growth. This has less to do with your brand and more to do with your customers/consumers/users.
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.” – Simon Sinek, “Start With Why”
No clear communication of your “why” to them, no resonance. Without resonance, no loyalty. No loyalty, no business. Discovering your “why” and building all efforts around this inspirational core is like cutting a path through the jungle to El Dorado with a lightsaber.
Branding workshops benefit entrepreneurs, venture-backed startups, small businesses, CEOs, and marketing teams that aren’t clearly communicating their brand’s “why”. This lack of understanding is usually a result of leadership not knowing what their company’s true “why” is themselves. This is where a branding workshop deliver the most important clarity.
1. Your Brand Personas
Blitzing forward in business without understanding and identifying your ideal client is like attempting atmospheric re-entry in a cardboard spaceship. Resources burn quickly without intention and an entire “vehicle for success” can disintegrate in a matter of months. However, when an ideal client is comprehensively fleshed out, you are left with tangible steps and methods that can be executed. Once this alignment is reached, your brand is now free to emotionally impact current and potential users alike driving and reinforcing loyalty.
2. Your Brand Attributes
“Marketing is what you tell the world about yourself. Branding is what the world says behind your back.” We gather terms and one-word descriptions about your brand and categorize them into 6 columns. We take care to ensure we’re considering what words you think describe your brand, but also what your consumers have been quoted saying. It’s important at this stage to realize that we may uncover a wide schism and a disconnect between the two viewpoints. This can be an uncomfortable realization, but that’s ok. And remember, we’re at the second stage in the “diagnosis” phase. Solutions can only be prescribed when the malady is fully understood.
3. Your Brand Vision
We won’t be writing mission statement. A mission statement organically writes itself once the entire brand is aligned. Instead, we help to craft a Vision Statement. A brand’s Vision Statement is a direct, yet sometimes long-tail, statement of brand purpose. We offer up a framework and insert terminology uncovered during the Brand Attributes stage of the branding workshop to populate a custom vision statement for your organization. You can now scream at the world with crystal clarity the reasons you get up in the morning.
4. Your Brand Voice
Once your brand vision has been clearly defined, we often see your team unleash their true creativity. Heavy hitting and emotionally grabbing ad copy and tag-lines flood out. We take our time here harvesting the wordsmithery and begin framing out your content strategy. This is a particularly engaging stage and fosters a creative collaboration that continues on long after we’ve left. The content born from this stage can serve as headlines, brand mottos, email subjects, tweets, meme captions, blog headers, etc. Repurpose and repurpose to your heart’s content.
5. Your Brand Archetype
Your brand must weave a narrative to inspire engagement, and with any great story it requires a relatable protagonist. Personifying your brand with the human traits of your audience truly allows for a meaningful brand impact. Are you a white knight brand? A raucous rebel? Perhaps you are a Mother Theresa, also known as The Lover? This stage of the branding workshop not only strengthens the outward connection to your audience, but also boosts your organization’s internal relatability. In other words, your family ties bind tighter.
6. Your Brand Differentiator
A philosophy we encourage you to adopt: “Normal is boring.”
You are probably already in this headspace, but how can you hope to avoid normalcy without a defined brand differentiator? We start by asking your team what they think their x-factor is, and then flip the script and consider what your users believe it is. The days of low-cost-high-value being the weapon of choice in business is over. Your brand’s uniqueness is what will lure and what will inspire loyalty.
Who Should Be Involved in the Branding Workshop?
We tailor our branding workshops for 4-6 team members for maximum impact. Too many voices can dilute the conversation, and too few may result in biased findings and fail to reveal accurate and actionable content strategies. Invite people who bring expertise, imagination and are able to confidently speak their minds even in the face of opposing viewpoints. This is a democratic session so also consider inviting folks at differing levels of employment: Founders & C-Suites, Managers & Team Leaders, Staff & Contractors.
What Happens Before We Meet?
Before the workshop, we take time to research your company, its current branding strategies, successes, and objective shortcomings. We want to minimize the “getting on the same page” process so our time together can be better spent being future centric rather than historical. Knowing your company also enables us to facilitate and lead the workshop better. Once you’ve decided on your participants, we email the workshop agenda over so all team members can get their wheels turning and we can all hit the ground running on day one.
Unveiling the Branding Workshop Findings.
Kudos to you! You’ve bit off some large chunks of truth and started digesting some heavy new realizations. But when we leave the real work begins. We synthesize all the information, insight, and awareness we gathered and start compiling our Discovery Doc. This document is a comprehensive blueprint of your brand positioning. It serves as both a roadmap as well as reference point enabling all future decisions to be easily vetted as “on brand” or “off brand”. It is also a living document, because your brand is living breathing thing right? You can add to it and edited it as you continue to write your brand story in the years to come.
This is a strategic document, and like any strategy, its effectiveness relies on a disciplined use of it. So take heed! Commit to its continued implementation and you’ll be harvesting the fruits of a user experience aligned brand for year to come.
Make 2017 the year you brand with impact. You already have a brand, but we have a way to give it wings. Click here to fill out our discovery form and let’s start the conversation.