What Is A Brand Strategy Session?

[+How To Plan One]

So what is a brand strategy session exactly and how do you go about structuring yours?

You’ve probably heard of a brand strategy session before.

You may have even held one yourself.

But before you dive into a brand strategy session with a prospect or client, it’s critical that you understand your end goal and your approach options.

In this article, you’ll learn exactly what a brand strategy session is and the three phases you need to understand to run an effective one.

what is a brand strategy session header
what is a brand strategy session header

So what is a brand strategy session exactly and how do you go about structuring yours?

You’ve probably heard of a brand strategy session before.

You may have even held one yourself.

But before you dive into a brand strategy session with a prospect or client, it’s critical that you understand your end goal and your approach options.

In this article, you’ll learn exactly what a brand strategy session is and the three phases you need to understand to run an effective one.

Brand Strategy Session
[The Video Breakdown]

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What is a Brand Strategy Session?

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A Brand strategy session quite simply, is a meeting between the brand strategist and the business leaders.

The meeting uncovers details about the business and the market it serves and aims to identify the most effective way for that business to approach that market.

During this process, the brand strategist learns about the business they’re building the brand around and develops insights into how to the brand may be positioned. (i.e. the strategist uncovers clues about how the market would be most receptive to the business).

Then, using this knowledge and these insights, and further research, they develop a strategic plan for the development of the brand and how that brand can shape the perceptions and influence the decisions of the target audience.

In other words, the brand strategy session is about finding the best way to bring the audience and the brand together.

Brand Strategy Workshops vs Remote Sessions

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Brand strategy sessions mean different things to different people, which are shaped by processes and philosophies.

There is no right or wrong way and how you conduct your sessions will be based on a decision involving your own positioning strategy and the proximity of your audience.

If you want to serve clients all over the world, you may adopt the remote session approach.

If you want to become the go-to expert in your city, you might prefer in-person workshops.

So why don’t we take a look at both.

Brand Strategy Workshop

what is a brand strategy session discuss

A brand strategy workshop is an in-person collaboration meeting between the business leaders and the brand strategist.

Strategy workshops have no set duration though they can range anywhere from two hours to three days depending on the strategist’s approach (and the potential size of the project).

The in-person approach allows the strategist to lead the session while collaborating with the leadership team in both the uncovering of information and strategic ideas on the market approach.

Who Is A Brand Strategy Workshop For?

If there are multiple decision makers or a group of executives who want their say on strategic direction then a brand strategy workshop is most suitable.

Brand Strategy Workshop Advantages

There are many benefits to this in-person approach as the heavy involvement of the leadership team often leads to a sense of ownership on their part and that added “buy-in”.

Brand Strategy Workshop Disadvantages

The disadvantage is the need to be physically present and the requirement for confident in-person presentation and meeting direction skills.

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Remote Brand Strategy Session

what is a brand strategy session online

A remote brand strategy session is exactly how it sounds.

It’s a brand strategy session held remotely, whether over the phone or on video conference.

Remote sessions have a different structure to the in-person workshops due to their nature.

It’s much more difficult to hold the attention of one or more business leaders on a video conference that goes on for an extended period when compared to an in-person workshop.

Video or phone sessions are most effective when they have shorter durations.

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The remote strategy session therefore is often broken up into two or more separate sessions that aim to achieve different goals.

More of the strategic work and insight gathering is conducted by the strategist without the constant input of the leadership team throughout.

Who Is A Remote Strategy Session For?

If your business serves clients in multiple countries and your clients are the sole descision makers, then a remote strategy session can be very effective. This business type may be in its infancy and the remote approach keeps costs down.

Remote Strategy Session Advantages

The advantage of the remote session is that they are shorter and can be conducted from anywhere in the world.

Video conference skills are also easier to acquire than in-person presentation skills and the remote nature means that the strategist can serve a broader market.

Remote Strategy Session Disadvantages

One of the main disadvantages of the remote strategy session is that it may not achieve the same involvement and added “buy-in” of the leadership team which can lead to stronger client relationships.

Brand Discovery Session vs
Strategy Development Session

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The terms “Brand discovery session” and “brand strategy session” are often used interchangeably. So let’s define the difference here.

What Is A Brand Discovery Session?

what is a brand strategy session research

The brand discovery session is a game of understanding.

Within this session, the brand strategist aims to understand as much relevant information as possible about

The industry

The business

It’s operations

The people it aims to help

Its strengths

Its weaknesses

Known competitors

The leadership team

Their ideas and ambitions

Though insights and ideas may surface during the discovery session, this session is about information gathering and understanding of the conditions.

Because ideas and insights often flow from this session, inexperienced or ill disciplined strategists cut corners by prematurely jumping into a strategy session before the discovery session has been conducted thoroughly.

It’s critical that the discovery session is completed effectively to avoid any misalignment or missed opportunities late in the process.

What Is A Brand Strategy Development Session?

what is a brand strategy session imagine

The brand strategy session is a game of creative brand development.

Within this session the brand strategist uses the information gathered in the discovery session to identify insights, gaps and opportunities in the market.

These insights provide the spark which drives the development of the entire brand strategy including

Internal Brand

Differentiation Strategy

Positioning Strategy

Human Brand Persona

Brand Personality

Tone of Voice & Language

Brand Messaging Strategy

Brand Storytelling Strategy

This is where the brand is born and defined within this strategy is.

How the brand is positioned

The difference it offers

The value of that difference

The characteristics it displays

The voice & language it uses

The stories it tells

The visual appearance

The brand strategy session is the “why” “what” and “how” behind the way the brand will approach the market, deliver the message and resonate with the audience.

Market Research:
The Meat In The Brand Strategy

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Between the discovery session and the strategy development session, there is another session.

Once the discovery session has been completed, the brand strategist has all the critical ingredients required to begin the real work.

This work doesn’t begin with strategising but with research.

what is a brand strategy session discover

Although the business leadership team will have a vast amount of knowledge of their business operations and maybe even about their audience and competitors, chances are there is a lot more that they don’t know.

From the intimate lives of their audience, the customer journey to competitors’ positioning strategies, there is much more information to uncover that can assist in defining an effective strategy.

Research is a critical step in expanding the information gathered in the discovery session, which often leads to many more insights, gaps and potential opportunities for how the brand may approach the market.

The Goal Of The Brand Strategy Session

what is a brand strategy session further research

The goal of the entire brand strategy session is simple.

To understand the business and the market landscape in operates in as intimately as possible in order to define the most effective way to bring the brand and the audience together.

The more work the brand strategist puts in to assembling critical information about the business and its market, the more tools they’ll have at their disposal to define the best foot forward.

Conclusion

Although different strategists approach the brand strategy session with different perspectives and processes, it’s important to remember what it is you’re trying to achieve from the strategy session.

The brand strategy session is about finding the best way to bring the audience and the brand together.

The more you understand about the business and the market it’s playing in, the more effectively you can strategise an approach.

Are you holding brand strategy sessions in person or remotely?

Will you take anything from this framework and implement it into your own processes?

I’d love to know, drop me a line in the comments below.