So you’re building a brand with your client and you want to involve them in the process.
Although you could just shoot them a questionnaire with a handful of questions and then get to work, that doesn’t really offer much involvement at all.
So, how can you involve them enough to make them feel part of the process while gathering what you need to build a solid brand strategy?
The answer is brand strategy workshops.
In this article, you’ll learn what brand strategy workshops are, how to run them, and pro techniques to use to ensure it’s a success.
What Is A Brand Strategy Workshop? (Process Pros & Cons)
One-click subscribe for video updates
What Is a Brand Strategy Workshop?
A brand strategy workshop might sound complicated but in reality it’s quite simple.
A strategic workshop is nothing more than a collaborative session or meeting between the brand strategist developing the brand and the brand leadership team.
It’s really not much more complicated than that
The collaboration is an opportunity for the strategist to run very specific exercises and ask very specific questions to draw out the knowledge, ideas and perspectives of the brand leadership team.
This input is then used to form the foundation for the development of the brand.
What Are Workshops Important?
Well as any creative will tell you, some clients (Most Clients) like to make changes. Some like to make lots of changes.
Changes to the brief
Changes to the identity
Changes to the website
Changes to the copy
Changes to the name
Whatever the deliverable is, there tends to be changes.
Some put this down to difficult clients but in reality, these changes, more often than not, come from a lack of clarity and involvement in the process.
Through a brand strategy workshop, the client gets that involvement and clarity while the strategist gets the opportunity for more detailed in considered input from the client.
The end result is output born from collaboration that the client feels connected to.
SELL & FACILITATE BRAND STRATEGY WORKSHOPS TO BUILD BRANDS YOUR CLIENTS BELIEVE IN
This brand-new free report reveals the structured workshop sales and delivery process used by top global branding agencies and strategists to create brands their clients love through collaboration.
How Long Does A Strategy Workshop Last?
The length and duration of a brand strategy workshop varies based on a number of considerations which include
The Client Type & Size
The Client Budget
The Agency Processes
On the lower end, you may have clients with a small budget of $3-10k where the workshop might only last a few hours…
Mid-range workshops for clients with a bigger budget from $10-50k might span a couple of days, while high-end projects and clients with budgets of $100k and above could warrant workshops that span a full week or more.
Explore Brand Strategy
Programs & Tools
Who Should Attend The Workshop?
As a rule of thumb, you want to have the decision makers in the room for your workshops.
For small organisations the business owner is usually the CEO and quite possibly the sole person in the business so there’s no challenge there.
The higher you go up the ladder in terms of scale and size of the business, the more difficult it becomes to ensure that the top decision makers are in the room.
You may be working with a large team including the marketing manager and senior executives though they may not have the final say and report to more senior executives or board members who can make sweeping decisions.
But it’s not just seniority you need. Often the senior decision makers aren’t on the front lines of the brand dealing with the customers.
It’s critical to gain the perspectives and understanding from those who speak to customers everyday so this knowledge can be considered.
Does A Brand Strategist Deliver The Workshop?
The short answer is yes, the person that delivers brand strategy workshop is the brands strategist.
But there’s also a longer answer.
Although the strategist is there to bring their knowledge, wisdom and experience to the table in the workshop, they are there to perform another role other than their title might suggest.
The main role of the strategist within the strategic workshop is to facilitate the workshop and draw answers from the clients rather than provide the answers as strategists and consultants most often do.
Brand Strategy Workshop Pros & Cons
So now that you know what strategy workshops are and why they’re important, let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of these collaborative sessions.
The Advantages Of Workshops
Involvement & Connection
By providing their input into the development of the brand, the client is part of the process. Because of this, they feel they are contributing, their perspectives are considered, they’re part of something bigger than themselves and they’ve helped to build the brand from the group up.
Because of this involvement they feel an ownership and a connection to the output and the brand it develops.
Clarity & Understanding
Often, business leaders are disconnected from their brand because quite simply, they don’t understand it. Workshops provides strategists with a platform to provide clarity around the structure of the brand so clients understand what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.
The strategist also gains an understanding of the business, the market they’re playing in, the customers, the competitors and most importantly the perspectives and ideas of their clients.
The Disadvantages Of Workshops
There aren’t any real disadvantages to running a workshop though it can be a challenge to get large groups of people in a room for an extended period of time.
Often, business leaders are busy so they need to really understand the value of what they’re doing and place a high importance on it or it will be very difficult to get them to commit to the downtime a workshop requires
Remote vs In-Person Workshops & Strategy Sessions
Traditionally, brand strategy workshops have been face-to-face affairs with strategists and leadership teams meeting in boardrooms in a confetti of post-it notes and bright ideas.
Though in recent years, the COVID pandemic has forced businesses and brands into the world of digital conferencing.
Each have their advantages. In-person workshops tend to allow for a much more personal experience while remote workshops provide more convenience.
Every agency and strategist must decide which format suits them and their clients.
Brand Strategy Workshop Exercises And Questions
The exercises and questions of a brand strategy workshop are without a doubt the most important pieces to a successful workshop.
These exercises and questions are strategically designed and provide the strategist with a tool to open the mind of the client and take out the ingredients they require to develop the brand strategy.
The better structured the exercises and the more granular the questions, the easier the information flows and the better the quality of the output.
Strategy Workshop Structure
Strategy workshops tend to be broken up into three stages which are
Pre Workshop Prep
So let’s take a closer look at each of these
Top Brand Strategy Workshop Structure & Exercises For Success
One-click subscribe for video updates
STAGE 1: Pre-Workshop Prep
This preliminary stage is all about getting the workshop prepared.
Not every workshop is the same. Different clients have different needs and not all require or respond to the same thing. Workshops are customizable with adjustments made to considerations such as
Remote vs In-Person
The preliminary stage also provides an opportunity for strategists to do their homework with some preliminary research on their client, their target audience, and the competitive landscape of the market.
STAGE 2: Workshop Delivery
This stage is the meat on the bone of the workshop process.
It’s the collaboration between the strategist and the leadership team to extract the ingredients needed for strategy development.
Workshops differ depending on the strategist, their processes and their philosophy too.
Some strategists get right down to business, diving into questions and exercises while others take the time to educate their clients on the elements of the brand they’re developing and why they’re so important.
Regardless of processes or philosophies, the workshop exists to extract the knowledge, perspectives and ideas from the clients.
This is done through strategically developed exercises and questions posed to the clients which are designed to draw out the relevant information and align the leadership team on their shared challenge.
STAGE 3: Post-Workshop & Deliverables
The final stage of the workshop process is used to take the information gathered in the workshop to develop the brand strategy.
First, the strategist distils the finding of the workshop to provide to the client. This ensures everyone is on the same page and all are agreed on the output produced.
Then, using the workshop output as the foundation, the brand strategy is developed out into a final delivery document to the client.
If there are further agreed deliverables along with the strategy, they are developed in this phase also.
Key Brand Strategy Elements To Cover
While there are many strategic elements that make up the structure of a strategic brand, there are certain key elements where it is most important to gain specific input from the leadership team.
The bulk of the workshop focuses on extracting the information from the client related to the following strategic branding elements
The substance of the brand is the internal beliefs, ambitions, commitments and behaviours that brand will use as a guiding compass for decisions and actions.
The brand substance includes
As each of these elements are very personal to each brand and play such an important role in guiding the brand long-term it’s critical that they are developed from the leadership team.
Without a doubt, the audience is the most important consideration for the development of any brand and that is why this section takes the most time.
By uncovering demographics, psychographics, goals, challenges and emotions, profiles are developed of the target market segments the brand will prioritise.
Depending on the brand, there may be multiple market segments and multiple audience profiles.
The workshop is also a platform to understand the competitive landscape to gain insights and ideas about the positioning strategy of the brand.
By identifying the main competitors, their strengths and weaknesses, the brand is much better positioned to find a unique way to resonate with their intended audience.
This is where the rubber meets the road with strategic thinking.
With the understanding of the audience and clarity of the competitive landscape and opportunities that exist, perspectives and ideas are shared around the most compelling reason to provide the audience to choose the brand.
This element of the brand brings it to life with human traits and characteristics into a human brand persona.
The information extracted from the exercises for this element, bring a sense of tangibility about the brand and provides direction for how the brand will communicate in the market.
Over To You
The more they’re involved in the process of developing the brand and the more granular the information you extract from them, the more invested they’ll be in the end result and the more rounded that result will be.
On-Demand Digital Program
Brand Master Secrets
Make the transition from hired-gun to highly valued brand strategist in less than 30 days. The systems, frameworks and tools inside this comprehensive program are all you need to level up.