The Brand Workshop

At the beginning of every brand project we complete, we undertake a brand workshop.

It’s how we get under the skin of a brand, discover where the brand is now and where it needs to be, and gives us the information we need to make informed decisions to push your brand forward.

Every brand workshop is a little bit different, because every company is different.
We’re always evolving the Brand Workshop, and the way we do things is constantly changing. As of now, here is what you can expect in our Brand Workshop.

Brand Architecture

To begin with, we will make sure the architecture is right for your company.
The four types of brand architecture are: Monolithic (Branded House), Sub-brands, Endorsed and House of Brands

Every company sits in one of these categories. At this stage of the Brand Workshop, we will understand which one fits. If your company has more than one brand or product under its belt, this will help us to determine how they all fit together.

Your Audience

Then we will move on to understanding your audience, or audiences.

As you probably know, if you’re marketing to everyone, you’re marketing to no one. This is one of the most important things to clarify at the very start of the process, so we know who you’re speaking to OR who you would like to speak to.

Brand Positioning

We then move on to positioning. To figure out where your brand is positioned in the marketplace, we give everybody a deck of postcards, all with car brand logos on them. Everyone chooses the car brand that they think resonates most with the brand we’re there to talk about, and explains why. Usually, the most valuable part of this exercise is the discussions around why people chose the car brand that they selected. The words they use.

Sometimes we use supermarket brands for this exercise. If one person chooses Aldi and another chooses Waitrose, there is a misalignment with how people perceive the brand. We then make sure everyone is on the same page in regards to how we are positioning the brand in the future, so that we’re all very clear on where the brand sits in the marketplace, as this will influence everything the brand does going forward.

The price point, the tone of voice, marketing decisions, the exclusivity or accessibility of the brand. These are a few factors that would be completely different for a brand at the Aldi end of the spectrum to the one at the Waitrose end.

Brand Personality

Next we establish the brand personality. If the brand was a celebrity, who would it be? At this point in the workshop, we give everyone a deck of cards with celebrity faces on them. From Serena Williams to C3PO. Emma Watson to Ghandi. Again, it’s less about which they choose, and more about the why. Words that come out of this exercise are those like “knowledgeable”, “passionate”, “expert”, and “calm”.

These descriptors give us a sense of how the brand should act. The way the brand goes about business. The way the stakeholders want the brand to be perceived. These adjectives are used to influence brand decisions, from the development of the brand core all the way through to the colours and fonts used.

Brand Visuals

The next exercise is useful for us to make sure that everything that has been said so far aligns when it comes to visual representations of the future branding. We provide the stakeholders around the table with a pile of magazines. Everyone flicks through the magazine and rips out anything that they feel suits their brand/future brand. They put the ripped-out pages in a pile, then make a separate pile of things that they really dislike.

As with the last two exercises, we then go around everyone and ask why they liked or disliked certain things on the page. This might be the simplicity of an ad, the tone of voice of the copy, or the subtlety/boldness of a campaign message.

The liked piles should reflect some of the brand attributes we have already decided on. For example, if we have decided that the brand is positioned at the high-end end of the spectrum, then people choose very cluttered pages full of offers, we need to explore that – as the two do not go hand-in-hand. A premium brand is more likely to have visuals with a lot of white space, and subtlety to its creative concepts.

pages ripped out of a magazine of varying sizes and colours attached to a wall with magnets.

Purpose, Vision, Mission and Values

To figure out brand values, it’s useful to understand what you hate.
Sounds backwards, but it’s way easier to communicate negative feelings about something than pick out the positives. It’s human nature. We’re natural complainers (or problem solvers, depends how you see it).

When we figure out what we don’t like, it’s easy to find common themes in what we value. We discuss what’s important to the company, the reasons the brand stands out, the reasons customers have chosen the brand over competitors in the past, and from there, brand values are born.

We go over why the company exists, what we hope to achieve in the future, where we see the company in 10 years’ time, and how we aim to get to that goal. When all of this is written down, we say goodbye and then get down to writing the Brand Strategy Core.

Brand Strategy Core

Using the information we gathered in the workshop, we distil everything down into the Brand Strategy Core. This document consists of all the words behind the brand. It’s all written down in black and white, and these words should back up everything that the brand does. Creating an ad campaign? Refer to your values, making sure you’re aligned with what you decided you stand for. Refer to your brand personality. Make sure it’s positioned effectively. These words are your brand, in a nutshell.

The Brand Strategy Core will eventually be accompanied by your brand identity and guidelines. This should be shared with every single staff member, so that everyone is always on the same page. It’s best practise to bring everyone along and actually explain why this is happening and what it means on a day-to-day basis to the brand and their role within it. It should inspire, change behaviour, create ideas and help grow the brand and it’s people.


And that’s a wrap!

If this sounds like something your company needs, get in touch today to book yours.