What is the purpose of a brand workshop?

A brand isn’t just a logo, it’s an attitude, a personality and an experience. A successful brand strategy is the plan for ensuring customers and employees feel that brand in every interaction. It delves into the big questions of why you do what you do, who you do it for and many other questions besides. It makes you think. Really think about the purpose of your brand and your vision for its future. Having a water-tight strategy will set your brand apart from others, creating impact in today’s competitive landscape. One of the very best ways to get to the heart of your brand and what it really means is with a brand strategy workshop, and it needn’t be as daunting as it sounds.

Think for a moment about your favourite brands, the ones you return to again and again. Is it purely because of what they sell, or what the brand stands for, their brand purpose and brand vision? Chances are it’s the latter, you are loyal to the brand because its values align with your own. A brand workshop cuts right to the core of what your brand stands for, and this is an essential step in your brand identity, marketing strategy and indeed, your overall business strategy.

In brief, a brand strategy workshop can help you with the following:

1. Brainstorm and identify your business goals.

2. Get a clear understanding of your brand positioning strategy and brand mission.

3. Establish the values of your brand.

4. Identify your target customer, and perfect your user experience.

5. Identify your competitors.

6. Differentiate your business by defining what makes it unique.

7. Establish the personality of your brand.


What is involved in the workshop?

A brand workshop involves a series of activities to help you to define your brand proposition. It makes the business goals and core values clear and it outlines the vision for the future, where the brand ultimately wants to be.

There are many reasons to run brand workshops, it can be as part of a rebranding exercise, to give your business a competitive edge, to help you to better understand your target demographic, to ensure all of your team is aligned on your brand messaging, so that your customers feel like they can relate to your brand.

Your brand proposition is your promise, your USP, what differentiates your brand from the millions of others out there. The truth is, people are far more likely to buy from a brand with a clear brand proposition. And it’s not just about the tangible aspects either, your brand proposition can be about culture or even attitude. At the end of a brand workshop, your brand proposition will be defined, and will comprise of:

1. Purpose: the why behind your brand. The brand purpose can best be defined as ‘why you do what you do’. Your brand purpose influences every other aspect of your brand and should sit at the heart of your brand proposition. To define your brand purpose, think about your brand’s motivation and the benefit it provides to the world.

2. Vision: how you will go about achieving your purpose. It will consider your vision, and how you will go about achieving your brand purpose. It will look at brand positioning.

3. Values: what you believe in as a company. The values of your brand are what you believe in as a company, what you stand for. These brand core values provide a benchmark in the company from which future decisions, such as communications and recruitment, are made, but in addition to that, they are the reason that consumers will choose your brand over any other.

4. Personality: how you present yourself and communicate with your audience. Defining your brand personality to create a relatable persona for your brand, and developing a tone of voice for how the brand acts and communicates is imperative. Your brand story acts as your north star. Just as with a person, a brand’s values and what they believe in impact hugely on their personality. Imagine your brand as a real person, how do they communicate, and what attributes do they have? The brand workshop is a vital opportunity to engage stakeholders with exercises to unearth aspects of your personality traits. Try and humanise your brand and create an engaging personality that resonates and invites connection. To help identify your brand personality, it is usually beneficial to incorporate a memorable tagline as part of your branding strategy. This personality will allow you to connect with your ideal customer and create a well-rounded brand experience.

A brand workshop can also include taking a look at your:

  • Brand pillars: defining and grouping the services your offer This helps you to communicate them effectively with your target audience and can elevate your communications strategy and differentiation your brand in the marketplace.
  • Target audience: defining your key audience and creating detailed profiles Identifying your target audience and creating personas can help you to understand the drivers behind each audience group and can then be used to make informed decisions in all future communications


How to facilitate and run a brand workshop

There are a few things you are going to need in order to run a brand workshop:

  • Name your attendees and stakeholders. Attend the workshop with the core team members – This should include key decision-makers and partners if your business is co-founded.When conducting brand strategy workshops, ensure that all client stakeholders are involved in the discovery process. We define a stakeholder as anyone who will have a say in the final product’s approval.
  • Decide where you will run your workshop. Think about the pros and cons of both remote and in-person workshops. Engaging people remotely can be more difficult, so it’s critical to keep them busy and on task. To get things started, it can be fun to use some warm-ups or ice breakers if you haven’t already worked together.
  • Outline the key challenges of the workshop. At this point, it is crucial to understand what you hope to accomplish through the workshop. Suppose you were building a new brand, then a primary challenge of the workshop would be to devise a brand strategy to support the naming process of your new brand.
  • Define your deliverables. When a brand workshop is conducted, deliverables include a revised positioning statement or messaging map, creation of visual concepts for the brand guide, a defined content strategy, a marketing communications plan, and, sometimes, a revised mission statement or company values.We believe a full workshop offers value to everyone involved: a more nuanced perspective for those crafting the brand identity, and real buy-in from those who will carry the brand forward.
  • Decide how much time you can devote to the workshop. Organise that time into smaller chunks so you don’t hit a wall after two to three hours.
  • Consider using a template. This will help you structure your workshop and make sure you make the most of your time. Having a step-by-step plan is critical to ensuring that things run smoothly. A template can be extremely useful if you’re running your own workshop without the help of a professional branding agency.

This is where a pre-planned agenda can prove pivotal…


What should be included in a brand strategy workshop agenda?

Your agenda will form a framework for the day so that both you and your attendees know how the workshop will pan out. Outline what you will cover in the workshop, when, and what attendees will walk away with. Start with general house-keeping (names, introductions, explain how the workshop will work), then move onto general principles and frameworks of brand strategy (with examples!), outline each activity, and then save time for a round-up at the end of the workshop summarising outcomes and next steps.

Are you wondering what activities are typically included in a brand strategy workshop? Here are some simple ideas. For each activity, start with a real-world brand example so that attendees can see a successful strategy in action. Good points to focus activities on are:

  • Brand purpose and vision (an example, then an activity where attendees distil their own brand purpose)
  • Brand values (an example, then an activity where attendees brainstorm values for their brand)
  • Brand personality (an example, then an activity where attendees define their brand personality and TOV) The brand personality brings together the vision and values, and shows how these core principles are carried through into your communication with consumers.


Who benefits from a brand workshop?

All types of companies can benefit from a brand workshop, from a new brand to an established brand looking to refresh and reinvigorate their purpose, vision, values and relook at their audience persona. As discussed, your brand strategy  comprises of your brand purpose, brand vision, brand values, brand voice, brand persona and brand personality. It’s not just the Apples and the Amazons of the world that need brand strategy. To be successful, every brand needs a clear strategy for success and astute entrepreneurs will prioritise brand strategy at the outset, returning to it at regular intervals. A brand strategy workshop can help you to develop messaging for your campaigns and websites, as you will come away with a clarified brand purpose, values, and the brand personality that will come through your messaging.


The key benefits of a brand workshop

Brand workshops produce a variety of outputs that can be used for business planning and strategy development. They can assist with:

  • Re-energising your team around a shared vision
  • Finding a unique message to attract customers and drive ROI
  • Ensuring brand thinking is aligned, internally and externally
  • Facilitating the launch of new products or services
  • Nurturing brand development and solidifying an effective brand strategy


Who should attend the workshop?

For the very best results from your workshop, involve senior leadership teams but also involve key stakeholders from departments across the business. From sales and warehouse right through to marketing departments this might include digital marketing, graphic designers, social media, finance or sales employees. These stakeholders, will each have a unique perspective on the brand, given their different interactions with clients, customers and related organisations. By involving key stakeholders, you will attain the desired holistic brand proposition that everyone within the business no matter their position can believe in and act upon. Don’t be afraid to include those that are willing to challenge ideas, as this is often an essential part of the process.

Having a facilitator for the workshops is far more effective, especially when the facilitator is from outside of the business. This enables everyone, including the senior leadership team, to be an active participant, without needing to manage the group’s energy levels, a whiteboard and a plethora of sticky notes whilst attempting to give their opinion too.

A facilitator will foster an environment where people feel comfortable talking and give their opinions, talk through pain points, keeping everyone on an equal footing and enabling them to tease out those core elements of the brand prop. The facilitator will also use some guiding principles to keep the workshop on track, giving you the results you need.

So how do you facilitate a brand strategy session? Planning your session is key, so ensure that you write an agenda for the session outlining all of the steps towards reaching your end result. Be positive! Enjoy the collaborative environment. Create a supportive environment where everyone has space to speak, and make sure to provide regular breaks for attendees to have a refreshing breather.


Where should the workshop be held?

Once more, it is natural to assume that the best place to hold a brand workshop is at the office but in truth, offsite works best. Trying to engage stakeholders in workshop exercises with their desks within clear view is difficult. Employees are often bogged down with their day-to-day work, with their minds on their to-do lists rather than the overall direction of the business.

In an environment away from the office, everyone can switch off from work and immerse themselves in a creative, energised environment. In such a setting, key insights are far more likely to flourish through brand workshop exercises. Yes, taking a full day out of the office can be tough, but the benefits of moving both the brand and the business forward will make the necessary investment in a brand workshop worthwhile.


What are the typical outcomes of a brand strategy workshop?

There are a great number of benefits that can result from a brand strategy workshop, and you should walk away from your workshop with clarity. Outcomes include aligning with all of your brand stakeholders on your unique value proposition, allowing your brand to differentiate from market competitors. You will leave with a unified brand purpose and brand vision, your values and brand personality will be clearly defined and documented, and you will have a mapped-out set of target audience personas.


How Studio Noel can help with your brand workshop?

Now you understand a brand workshop’s pivotal role within the strategic direction of a business and brand design, the next question is likely to be ‘what do I need to do next?’

Workshops can benefit businesses of all shapes and sizes. From startups to global organisations, our workshops have been held for B2C and B2B businesses, helping a wide-range of companies to build their strong brands.

If you need help with your brand strategy and are interested in running a workshop, please drop us a line.

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