Do a full health check of your brand before lunch.
“How long does it take to review our brand?” It’s one of the key questions marketers will ask their agency partners and brand gurus – who will pause and reflect, then say it depends on things like your company size, how complex your product or service is, what your list of branding requirements are (ie – new logo, new website, new comms material etc), your budget and so on.
Truth is, these branding professionals are likely ‘guesstimating’ the time required, but they’ll eventually have a stab at it and tell you sometime between a month or so and 6-12 months (that doesn’t include ‘long term efforts and roll-out’1 )
At MyAdbox, we love brands. Our Brand Management Software is the ultimate branding gatekeeper – it gives Marketers control and seamlessly delivers beautifully executed brand campaigns every time. We believe that doing a regular health check on your brand is vital for your organisation’s future. But we also recognised that ‘Branding’ can be a protracted process. Everyone says it takes time, right? Forbes2 warns you openly: ‘When Branding, the process should never be rushed.’ (Interestingly, they don’t tell you why.) So we’re sharing this super-fast branding program as a way to do a quick health check on your brand.
Introducing the Three-Hour Brand Sprint3
This idea is not entirely new – Google Ventures put it forward back in 2017 – but given how marketing teams and their budgets have recently been cut in the new pandemic world we’re facing, maybe it’s time to revisit the concept. Just maybe 3 hours is enough time to devote to the process and see what ‘falls out’. Perhaps the idea of condensing the whole process into the best part of a morning or afternoon might force a focus that is harder achieve in long sessions. Anyway, what have you got to lose?
Importantly, you’re not doing this to fill three hours in a quiet week. It makes sense4 to ‘wait for a trigger event,’ – like the need to overhaul a logo or revisit your brand name. Or maybe it’s when you’re about to find a new ad agency or website supplier. Either way, your Brand Sprint has to be focused to a purpose, not something that ends up in a bottom drawer.
You don’t necessarily need to hire a session facilitator – this is something you can have a crack at with your own team – just make sure that team contains some decision makers who have a say in the business - stakeholder involvement in the session gives it extra weight and purpose. You can also distribute some straightforward homework5 for the team to complete that gets you on the same page faster.
Book a room (ideally outside your offices), make sure you’ve got a whiteboard or two (don’t forget the whiteboard markers and eraser), have pads and pens at the ready and have a basket on the table for phones to live in (preferably switched off!). One phone can stay on in ‘Airplane’ mode with the timer set and ready to roll for each session (keeping to the session times is important).
Drawing on the inspiration of revolutionary brand thinkers like Steve Job, Stewart Butterfield, Simon Sinek and Phil Knight, Google Venture’s Brand Sprint consists of six exercises spread across three hours with a ‘bio’ break thrown in for good measure. Try and contain it all within this period as splitting it into two or more sessions loses the momentum.
During each session, you’ll be using Google Ventures’s proven6 ‘Note and Vote’ approach which prevents meetings from getting bogged down in long-winded discussion.
In the first session, you’ll chart where you think the brand will be in 20 years. Seem unrealistic? Good brands will last for many decades. Why not yours?
Session 2: ‘What, How, Why’ is an exercise founded in Simon Sinek’s ‘Golden Circle’ – the centrepiece of his incredibly popular TED talk7 (Maybe flick the link to Sinek’s Ted talk to your participants as part of the homework.) This thirty-minute session is all about knowing why you’re in business… what gets you into the office every day.
While you’re on a roll, you jump into Session 3: ‘Top Three Values.’ You need to arrive at three max - and that isn’t easy. And just when you thought that was solved, you then need to distil it into one single most important value. This thirty minutes will go fast.
After the break, there’s a thirty minute session on the Top Three Audiences (you simply must know who you’re talking to), followed by a thirty minute session on Personality Sliders – where you’ll chart your brand position against pairs of brand extremes (this is where the White Board is important) and finally, thirty minutes on Competitive Landscape.
At the end of this three hours, you’ve got the essence of a Brand Guide. Yes it’s simplified. But it’s likely to have revealed some eye-opening insights into where your brand is now and where it needs to be. And if you’re about to launch into a branding partnership with an external agency, you’ve got a roadmap that puts you a lot further ahead than you were three hours ago.