A crucial element to any brand workshop is fun. (Twizzlers are a close second.) The goal of a brand workshop is to get under the hood of your company’s beliefs, purpose, vision, values and personality. And that’s hard to do when you’re bored to death.
Creative exercises inject a little fun into your branding workshop. They help you step back from the day-to-day to make new connections about your brand.
If you want to get a better handle on your brand, clear a morning and get a bunch of people in a room. Invite people from a variety of departments – not just marketing – to get new perspectives.
Arm yourself with a flip chart, sticky notes, Twizzlers and the exercises below.
Exercise #1: The Cocktail Party
Imagine your brand is a person who just showed up at an industry party full of your ideal customers and competitors. Describe what he (or she!) is like. What is he wearing? How does he approach people? What does he say? Write down as many attributes as you can in one column.
Next, imagine your brand snuck off to the bar and downed a few Long Island Ice Teas. He comes back to the party buzzed. How does your brand act differently? Is he funnier? Talking louder? More confrontational? How does he approach competitors and customers now? Write this down in a new column.
This exercise helps you: explore your brand personality and how you might amplify it. In most cases, brands have room to turn up the dial on their personalities. Could you take a little inspiration from your buzzed brand and be more approachable, vibrant, bold or even a bit cheeky?
Exercise #2: The Comparison Game
If your brand was an animal, would it be a lion, an eagle or a dog? This exercise is about equating your brand with other objects and people. It’s a quick way to assess your brand’s personality and positioning. You can play this game across lots of categories: soft drinks, famous brands, animals, clothing brands, superpowers, colors, bands, celebrities, emotions, cities, tools etc.
This exercise helps you: look through a different lens to see new things in your brand. For example, you may dream of being the lion but realize your brand is more like the lamb. There’s something wonderfully non-threatening about comparing your brand to an animal, which can reveal powerful insights.
Exercise #3: Big Brand Role Play
Get into small groups. Everyone thinks of a famous brand they admire, preferably outside your company’s industry. It could be a celebrity, sports franchise, smartphone, anything. Each person takes turns sharing why they chose their brand.
Now imagine that famous brand took over your company. Write down at least 3 changes your favorite brand might make. For example, Apple might revamp your packaging, Google might simplify your product’s user experience, and Zappos might inject some fun into your customer support experience.
This exercise helps you: consider new ways to create brand experiences for your customers, by taking inspiration from the Big Boys.
Exercise #4: Bad Guys and Superheroes
If your brand was a superhero, who are the bad guys? Who is your arch nemesis and what evils are you trying to get rid the world of? Your answers can be concrete or abstract. For example, an IT consultancy might be about vanquishing complex solutions and long helpdesk queues. A fitness studio may be against intimidating classes and lack of confidence.
This exercise helps you: understand your brand’s greater purpose, and the value you offer customers. These are things that drive your organization and must be a part of your brand. Sometimes, being clear on what you’re against makes it easier to understand what you stand for.
Exercise #5: Front Page News
Picture this: 10 years from now, your brand is on the front page news for achieving greatness. What does the headline say? Have you cured a problem? Grown to be the biggest? Changed the way people do something? What does success look like?
This exercise helps you: align on your company’s vision, or the biggest goal on the horizon. A strong vision helps guide business strategy and motivate the team to achieve it.
Exercise #6: Best Moments
Get in groups and talk about specific moments your company was at its best. For example, maybe it was solving a complex business challenge for a client. Surprising a customer with an unexpectedly high level of service. A company fun day where your team got closer. What made these experiences so memorable?
This exercise helps you: understand what your brand truly cares about and delivers. Actions speak louder than words, and your answers get to the core of your brand’s mission and values.
Well that was fun, now what?
By the end of these exercises, you should have a mound of paper with scribbles. Put a big piece of paper on the left side of a wall that says: TODAY. Underneath, write what you learned about your brand today, like beliefs, personality traits or strengths and weaknesses.
On the right side of the wall, hang a paper that says: TOMORROW. List the things you hope your brand will achieve or become over time.
You’ll see a blank wall between the two pages. Think about changes you could make to bridge the gap between your brand today and tomorrow. It could be as simple as re-writing your customer service emails to sound less corporate and cold. Or starting a foundation to support your cause.
This is where you start building a stronger brand. And that’s where the real fun begins.