Simple And Fun Brand Workshop Exercises


So, you've decided to have a branding workshop! As you're probably well aware, the reasons behind this are to dig deep and discover your company's core beliefs, it's purpose, vision, personality and values. As these are all relatively serious issues, you have the choice of approach; make it fun or make it boring?

We suggest going the fun route by making use of fun exercises. These will take everyone on a completely different mental route to the normal working day and by doing so help make new connections for your brand. In order to get the widest perspective on your brand, it's best to clear half a day from everyone's schedule, and invite in people from other departments, not just creatives or those from marketing. The more cross section from different departments, the better the ideas you'll receive

So let’s have a look at the possible exercises. 

The Cocktail Party

Try and imagine your brand personified. And then they show up at an industry party which is filled with all your clients and customers. Describe what they’re wearing, what they’re like as a person, and how they approach the other guests. What does your brand say when he/she speaks? Have everyone write down all the brand attributes they can think of. Now, imagine that your brand person has had a couple of Long Island Ice Teas, and has loosened up considerably. How does heshe behave now? Are they talking louder, more funny or more serious, how does he/she approach clients and customers? 

The idea behind this exercise is to explore the personality of the brand and see how it might be possible to amplify the brand’s persona. Maybe the slightly drunk personality can offer up some insights into the way the brand could subtly change it’s image, make it more approachable, and add some extra buzz into the entity.

The Comparison Game

In this we ask how you would depict your brand if it was an animal? A bird, a lion, a cat, or a dog? What this is trying to achieve is to equate the brand with a tangible object. In this way, we can quickly access the brand’s personality and positioning. Of course, you’re not just limited to comparing the brand to animals. You can use anything, soft drinks, cars, clothing brands, celebrities, cities, you name it and there’s a way of fitting your brand in. 

This is a means of looking at the brand through a different lens. An example would be someone suggesting the brand is a whale, which allows everyone to see it’s in fact a minnow. Comparing the brand to totally removed things allows you deeper insights as to how the brand could be perceived.

Big Brand Role Play

For this you’ll have to imagine that a famous brand has recently taken over your company. Divide everyone up into smaller groups. Now have everyone think of a brand they admire or their favourite one. This could be almost anything branded, whether a sports personality, pop star, mobile phone, sneaker shoe. Then have them explain why they chose that particular brand. 

So now their favourite brand has now taken over the company, what changes do they think will take place. Have the groups write down 3 major changes. An example might be that Apple would immediately change all the packaging to the colour white. China might introduce a company song in the mornings. Adidas will encourage a morning fitness routine before starting work. The list is endless. But this will allow those present to see a new brand experience for their customers by taking inspiration from the crazy imaginary diversification of other large brands.

Bad Guys & Superheroes

If your brand was playing the superhero in a movie, then who would be playing his nemesis? Essentially, what evils are you trying to rid the world of? For example, for a restaurant it might be reducing food wastage. For a design consultancy it might be greater use of renewable materials.

Here we’re trying to have people see the brands greater purpose, as opposed to simply making the biggest profit. As all business is synonymous with creating or finding value, then we should try and think about what we’re really offering the customer. This exercise, by using opposites,can make it easier to understand what the brand really stands for. 

Front Page News

Fast forward 10 years and your brand has made the front page of a national newspaper. What’s the story? What has the brand done to achieve this spot in the limelight? Has it changed  the way people perceive something or think differently about something? Is it a story of success? What’s the headline accompanying the story?

By looking forward, we’re seeing how you can align the company’s vision and what it’s highest goals look like to the general public or your customers. If this is the goal, then it can act to motivate teams to work towards it.

Best Moments

It’s important that everyone understands what the brand is trying to achieve, what it cares about and what it's able to deliver. Form small groups and discuss when the company was running at it’s best. Perhaps it was dealing with a difficult problem whilst the clock was running down to a demanding deadline. But everyone pulled together and so was able to deliver. Or maybe a team building where everyone has a blast. Within these events, what was it that made them so memorable and put them at the top of the enjoyment list? 

By doing this, we’re trying to understand what the brand is capable of delivering as an experience that’ll be memorable. Because actions always speak louder than words, the answers to this exercise will reveal the most important core values. In some ways, this can become the brand's mission. 

What We Learned

By the end of these exercises, you’ll have a mountain of paperwork with lots of scribbled answers. Now place a large piece of empty paper on the left side of the office wall. Write at the top “TODAY.” Underneath this jot down all the things you learned today like people’s beliefs, the brands strengths and weaknesses. All relevant information from the workshop exercises.

On the right hand wall office wall, put up another large sheet of blank paper and label this as “TOMORROW.” here you should make a list of the things that you would like the brand to achieve in the future. 

Between the two pieces of paper there’s a blank wall. Somehow you need to bridge this gap between today and the future. How can you get from the left to the right side? What needs to change to make this bridge? How will you close this gap and end up with the ideals and values of tomorrow? Now you have a perfect visual starting point to help you and your team move forwards toward definite aims and goals.

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