How to run a brand workshop

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We know how to run a brand workshop that will set you up for great results. We've written this simple guide to give you a few pointers to running a brand positioning workshop yourself.

What is the best way for you to slay your competition while wowing new clients and holding onto the customers you already have? If you said: ‘by understanding my brand and making it strong as hell so it works hard for me’ then, high fives all round! Well done you, that’s exactly right.

Whether you’re just starting out with branding, or you’ve gone down a path and you want to refocus, or even rebrand, we say now is the time to get stuck in. In our experience the best way to get to the essence of your brand is through a brand positioning workshop.

We’ve run many of these workshops for clients over the years so we know how rewarding they can be. Of course, if have us run a workshop for you, you'll get the secret sauce – those special activities that we ain't giving away for free!

 

What is a brand positioning workshop?

It’s a way to work with key people (employees and clients, usually) to get to the heart of your brand. Together, you work through a range of activities with the idea that you come together to focus on what your brand is to you and your customers. You can consider what value it adds and how to communicate it better to clients and customers.

 

Why it's essential to understand your brand

“Your brand is what people say about your business when you’re not in the room”. Jeff Bezos said that, and when you think about it, it's a great way to look at it. If you don’t understand what makes your business unique or what value it adds, then your customers won’t have a clue! They’ll switch off from you and switch on to your number one competitor – the one who got their branding act together.

 

Be clear on the project and outcome themes

Workshops are great for a host of projects. You can use them for rebranding – great when you need to breathe life into your business. Or maybe you haven’t given your brand much thought until now. You might be about to launch a new service or product or resurrect an old one.
Now you know what it is you’re working on it’s time to decide what you want to achieve. Don’t try to get too much out of this – it’s better to have loads of information on a few key points, than a few bits of information on loads of points.

To get started, focus on:

  • Brand values
  • Brand benefits
  • Your ideal customer

If something obvious is missing, you can add that to a future workshop or even run a quick survey around the group down the line.

 

Who’s coming?

Mix it up. This only works if you have a group of people who have different experiences with your brand. Invite customers, clients and service users whose opinions you trust. When it comes to employees, aim for a wide range. Your finance manager and receptionist might have completely different ideas about what your brand values are, but both viewpoints are valid, and you can learn a lot from them.

 

Who’s leading the brand workshop?

If you’re the business owner, it’s a good idea to step back from the facilitation. To get the best out of the workshop people need to feel they can honestly answer questions. No matter how ace a boss you are (which you are) – you won’t get the best out of them if they are keen to impress you.

 

Brand positioning activities

The good ole internet has a wealth of resources and ideas for group activities to match your workshop goal. Do some research to find the right ones for you.

Look at the research and planning as a stand alone piece of work. Form small project teams to set up, plan and research the activities that fit perfectly with your workshop goals.

We've got some great activities that we use when we're running workshops for our clients. Here are a couple of ideas to get you started...

  • The game of 4

A great way to get people warmed up. Show a slide with 4 celebrities. Ask the group ‘if (company name) was a celebrity which one would it be’? This gives the group a chance to discuss their choices. A brand that aligns more with Ozzy Osbourne than Prince Charles will bring up some very interesting conversations about brand values.

Do this with a few different topics. Flight companies, car manufacturers, magazines, your own competitors and well-known shops are all great ways of getting people to think about what your brand is and what your brand is not.

  • Mood boards

Ask the group to rip out pictures from magazines to create mood boards around a topic. For example – if the task is looking at ideal customers, a whole person can take shape by tearing out images and piecing them together, alongside pictures of products they use, food they eat, cars they drive etc.

When the mood boards are complete, the facilitator can steer a conversation around the images. Often, it’s easier to work out why something wasn’t picked. For example, if someone stuck down an image of a BMW or a Burberry handbag, you could why a Volvo wasn’t selected, or a rucksack.

 

Finishing up

Chances are you’ll have a group of zombies by the end of the day! Thinking and constructive conversation really can be exhausting! We think you all deserve a drink after that! Don’t forget to gather in all the scraps of paper, post it notes, flip chart sheets and everything else people have contributed to. There’s gold in them there scribbles! Cheers!

 

So, you’ve run your brand positioning workshop – what’s next?

It might take a while to work through the findings, but you’ll get there. When looking at your data keep a few things in mind:

  • When analysing the game of 4 findings – what key themes do they have in common? It could be they are all high-end brands or brands that inspire trust and loyalty. If there’s a theme that keeps cropping up – it’s valuable.
  • In the mood board exercise if more people created a woman in her 40s or 50s, then you have a clear idea of who target when you’re attracting your ideal customers.

Once you’ve gathered the information, the next step is to take it back to the teams and get the wheels in motion. If you want to rebrand logos, websites and other collateral – you’ve got everything you need to start the design project. If you have a whole new demographic of potential customer to attract, you have the information the marketing team needs to begin.

Exciting times indeed!

 

What if you love the idea of a brand workshop but you just don't have the time or expertise to run one yourself?


There’s no getting away from the fact that this can take a lot of time and effort. It’s a worthwhile project for business owners to get stuck into, but we get it. There are a million other projects for you to get stuck into as well as this one. What’s to stop this one lurking somewhere on the never-ending to-do list?

Don’t worry – we’ve got your back.

Our branding workshops are fun, insightful and rewarding. We craft workshops around your business needs. Our brand planner will analyse the data and pull it all together in a workbook that you can use to steer your future branding projects. We help find your next steps and give a list of recommendations to nail your communications, design, tone of voice and much more. Now all you need to do is assemble the troops, turn up and get stuck into the activities.

And enjoy that delicious lunch you organised, obviously!

If you’d like to chat to us about running your brand positioning workshop so you can high jump over your competition, then get in touch today.