Brand strategy workshops have been around in one form or another for many many years.
But on the back of increased awareness about real branding or branding beyond the logo and the rise of evolving professionals to meet that demand, the strategy workshop has become an increasingly important tool for branding specialist, strategist and their clients.
So in this article, I want to run through 8 brand strategy workshop facilitator techniques and skills you need to workshop like a Pro.
8 Brand Strategy Workshop Facilitation Techniques
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Technique 1: Know Your Participants
Running a workshop is a game of extracting ideas and perspectives from different people, positions and personalities.
Some personalities like to talk, others like to shy away, some people hold senior authoritative roles while others are on the first rung of the ladder.
Regardless of personality or position, perspectives are important so you need to know who you’re dealing with and how to massage all perspectives from the group.
Technique 2: Align Expectations
A brand strategy workshop means different things to different people. It’s important that you set your stall out from the beginning to make sure everyone is on the same page about what they want to achieve.
You might find that one person believes you’ll be getting into the weeds of marketing strategy while another is hoping to dive into the website user experience.
Be crystal clear on what your workshop covers and what it doesn’t so there’s no confusion.
Technique 3: Prepare Like A Pro
A strategy workshop an environment where tools, exercises and people come together and with this mix of variables it’s very easy for things to go wrong or for you to overlook something.
It’s important that you consider as many obstacles or challenges as possible and do what you can to avoid them from travel issues to tech issues and everywhere in between
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Technique 4: Follow Through Like A Pro
Regardless of how much you prepare, things can happen that are out of your control.
Of course the better prepared you are the easier it will be to navigate any obstacles but sometimes it might just seem that the powers that be are working against you.
As a rule of thumb… Make do with what you have and push through to make your workshop happen if possible.
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Technique 5: Map The Agenda
Before you get down to work, make sure you communicate the structure and timeline of the workshop so everyone knows what to expect.
If you’re planning an intense two-hour session without a break when a handful of your participants were hoping for a coffee after an hour, the second hour won’t be as productive because they’re thinking about their caffeine..
When everyone knows the agenda, everyone knows what to expect.
Technique 6: Lighten The Mood
Generally speaking, people tend to be reserved when they’re in a new environment especially where their contribution is a requirement.
Because it is a requirement, part of your role is to oil the wheels to make sharing and contribution feel as easy and relaxed as possible so take the time to make your participants feel welcome and at ease.
Technique 7: Don’t Dictate, Facilitate
Your role in the strategy workshop is not to tell people how things are or how they should be. You core role is as a facilitator and although as a strategist, you may be tempted to go in all guns blazing with advice, it will hamper your workshop if you do.
Ask questions, guide the workshop, facilitate and keep the advice monster in the cage so you can get what you need from the workshop.
Technique 8: Questions & Exercises Determine Success
The end goal of the workshop is to extract the perspectives and ideas from the brand leadership team.
There are other goals too such as providing clarity and understanding but without a doubt, those perspectives and ideas are the core reason for delivering the workshop so your core focus should be on extracting that information.
The better structured your exercises and questions, the more likely you are to leave with the information you need to develop the brand strategy
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Take the time to find a workshop structure that works for you, hone your exercises and questions and turn up like a pro facilitator to extract what you need for success
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