5 Top Tips on Running a Brand Workshop

At Brand by Me, we run a LOT of workshops.  They are a core part of our work with our clients.  Occasionally we run them for other organisations too.  We love them so much we even did a video about them.

When it comes to developing or defining a brand, workshopping is the only way to do it, in our opinion.  A strong statement, maybe.  But it’s true all the same.

So first of all, let’s clarify.

A workshop is not a meeting.  Its purpose is not to bring people together, discuss, or share opinions on points of an agenda. It’s not a presentation where one person has a platform to share their knowledge or ideas to an audience.  And it’s not a party (although they can be a lot of fun).

How does a workshop, work (ahem)?

Firstly, you need to define the problem to resolve or opportunity to make the most of.  If you don’t know what this is, then there’s no point having a workshop. Next, you need to identify the group of people who, collectively, have the relevant skills, knowledge and insight to help solve it.  To make the most of your time, you need a structured plan for tackling the problem.  Finally, you need to appoint a person to be responsible for getting the best out of the people in the room (the facilitator).   

So what makes a great brand workshop? In no particular order, here are our top tips:

  1. Great stimulus – to help people look at the problem from all angles.  Make sure that you stimulate multiple senses with rich content that really brings the issue to life
  2. The right facilitator – they need to get your brand and understand what you’re trying to do.  But they also need to be objective, with no vested interest or personal opinion.  They also need to be able to facilitate discussion and thinking.  This isn’t the time for impassioned speeches or someone who’s only priority is keeping to time (although the last one is important too).
  3. Keeping it simple – this is not the time for complex theory so make sure that your time is spent on generating the content, not explaining the background
  4. Real audience insight – there’s no point making assumptions about who you’re talking to, so make sure you have real data on who they are to shape your thinking.
  5. Practical action – the whole point of a workshop is to get down to work.  So limit the discussion and get people trialling, testing and actively working on the issue throughout.  

As a very wise person from Wolff Olins once said, “There should be no more meetings, only workshops”.  We couldn’t agree more.  Especially when it comes to building brands.  So go forth and workshop – and let us know how you get on!  

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