Why tech start-ups need a brand workshop

Why start-ups need a brand workshop

Let’s set the scene. You’ve seen a gap in the market and developed a product that’s going to fill it. You’ve got your founders, investors, tech people and maybe even a sales team. So, what’s next?

Well, it may sound obvious, but you need to make sure people understand what you have to offer and how it can help them. And this is where your marketing journey begins, ideally starting with a brand workshop…

What is a brand workshop?

In essence this is the process of defining and agreeing what your brand looks like and who your audience are. The workshop ensures consensus on the brand and how you want your customers and prospects to react and engage with your brand marketing and messaging.

During a brand workshop you will:

  • Determine your brand and value proposition
  • Clearly outline your audience
  • Define your brand messaging

Who needs to attend?

All key stakeholders should take part so you have buy-in throughout the business and, ideally, you will have the input of a marketing specialist who can guide you through the process and pull all of the session outputs together.

How to conduct a brand workshop

There are no hard and fast rules with this. However, we like to break it down into two half day sessions; the first identifies your value proposition and brand positioning, and the second looks at your audience and messaging.

Top tip: Give the team carte blanche. Lay it out upfront that all attendees are welcome to talk candidly about how they see the brand today and of the future. You’ll get more out of the session this way, and maybe see your organisation from an angle that you’d not considered before. 

Session 1: Value proposition and brand positioning

In the first session, you’re aiming to unify and consolidate opinion on what the brand and broad value proposition should be. We like to do this by asking questions based loosely around Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle model, to identify why you do what you do and who it benefits.

Start with Why

WHY do you do what you do?

HOW do you do it – how do you solve their problems?

WHAT do you do – what’s the brand’s USP?

WHO is your audience?

WHAT are their problems?

WHY should your customers choose you?

WHERE do you sit in the business landscape – now and in the future?

Exploring your brand anatomy

Once you’ve pinpointed the why, how and what (and for who), you can start to breakdown the anatomy of your brand to identify its attributes. These brand attributes provide the foundation for your brand identity and will help shape your value proposition.

Ask the team to use single, positive adjectives to sum up each of these key parts of your business – the goal is to express attributes based on the ideal of where you want to be, not just the now.  

Culture – how would your community describe you?

Customers – how would you describe your customers?

Voice – how do you sound to others?

Feeling – how do others feel after interacting with you?

Impact – what tangible impact do you have on others?

X-factor – what differentiates you from the rest?

From this session you should be able to go away and come up with:

  1. A value proposition – a single statement that sums up why customers should choose your business over any other brand and your promise to them.
  2. The brand positioning – the value proposition sits at the heart of this, but your brand positioning statement also identifies where you sit in the market landscape.

Session 2: Identifying your audience and brand messaging

You’ll have touched on your audience in the first session, but now you’re going to take a deep dive into your critical audience groups and connect them with the key issues your product or service solves.  

Customer personas

Identify and outline your customer personas based on their demographic, need and the solution they need. Grouping them this way will allow you to tailor your brand message for each. This process should be done not only for current customers, but those you want to generate revenue from in the future.

Brand messaging

Now you know clearly who your audience groups are and what they need, you can use your value proposition as a basis for the brand messaging you deliver to each persona.

For this, we revisit the brand attributes of Voice, Feel and Impact (from session one). These three elements, combined with the needs of each persona, will define how you communicate with your customers and prospects.

From this session you should be able to:

  1. Develop a marketing, messaging and persona proposition to guide future marketing activity.
  2. Define a marketing strategy informed by the audience need and messaging framework.

What next?

Now you’ve invested all of this energy into agreeing your value proposition, market position, customer personas and brand messaging, it’s really important to get it down on paper for future reference. We like to do this as a brand guide or book, including examples of design and typography style, but if you don’t have the resource for this then a simple Word doc will do.

Your brand guide can be issued to new employees to make them aware of the brand identity, or sent to any marketing agencies, designers or copywriters you may work with to help ensure they stay on brand.

One last thing to point out… your brand identity of today may not be your brand identity of the future. As your business grows and product base evolves, your brand identity may need to change too. It’s good practice to conduct a brand workshop every 3 years (or when the business goes through a period of change), just to make sure who you’re addressing and what you’re telling them is still relevant to your current business.

Think your business could benefit from a brand workshop but need a helping hand? Then please get in touch, we’d be only too happy to help.

Next in the series…      

The next blog in our mini-series, “How to build a strong B2B brand”, takes an in depth look at the importance of establishing a tone of voice and knowing how to use it for effective marketing communications.

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Why tech start-ups need a brand workshop
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