Brand Sprints

The Brand Sprint is a perfect compliment our Design Sprint workshops.

The point of these exercises, it turns out, is to make the abstract idea of your brand into something concrete. After doing the exercises, the team gets a common language to describe what their company is about — and all subsequent squishy decisions about visuals, voice, and identity become way easier.

A word of caution: Don’t run a Brand Sprint unless you really have to. If you won’t use the results right away, wait for a trigger event. Good triggers are naming your company, designing a logo, hiring an agency, or writing a manifesto.

How it works

The Brand Sprint is designed to fit into a morning or afternoon. Try to find a block of three straight hours — it works much better if you don’t have to split up and regroup later. The schedule will go something like this:

  • Prep: For an optimal Brand Sprint, we’ll ask everyone to do a few quick things to prep before you start.

Then, the Brand Sprint consists of six exercises. First, you’ll think about your company’s motivation:

  • 20-Year Roadmap helps you think long-term.
  • What, How, Why reminds you why your company exists.

Next, you’ll add detail:

  • Top 3 Values makes your why more specific.
  • Top 3 Audiences helps you prioritize the target for your brand.

Finally, you’ll position your brand relative to others:

  • Personality Sliders defines the attitude and style of your brand.
  • Competitive Landscape compares your brand to other companies.

Get the right team

You need two to six participants for a Brand Sprint. These have to be company executives. Many startup teams don’t think of themselves as “executives.” If it sounds funny to you, try “decision-maker” or “stakeholder”. Bottom line: Your Brand Sprint needs to include people with authority and ownership of your company’s identity.

Must have in the room:

  • CEO

And at least one of these:

  • Co-founder
  • Head of marketing
  • Head of product or design

One participant must be the “Decider” — the company’s true decision-maker about your brand. In most cases, the Decider is the CEO, but in some cases the Decider could be a co-founder or CMO. This does not work without the Decider. Find some way to fit the Brand Sprint into her schedule. If she won’t make the time, don’t do the sprint.

In addition to your executives, you’ll need one or two facilitators. These might be folks from marketing, product, or design. Since you’re reading this post, you’re a good candidate. The facilitators should have good writing skills. (You’ll see why later in the post.)

Sometimes, you might bring in a customer expert. For example, in a Brand Sprint you might have the CEO (the Decider) and design director — but also bring along your colleague, an expert in field who could help us see through the eyes of the customer.

Like to know more or book a Brand Sprint workshop?

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