Focus and optimize the brand and marketing conversation

How often do you sit down with your team and really talk about brand and marketing strategies? Holding a Brand & Marketing Summit will focus the discussion, solicit new ideas and address concerns that you and your team face. When you embark on a Brand & Marketing Summit, it’s a special journey and we’ve guided many summiteers through it for almost a decade.

What should I expect from a Brand and Marketing Summit?

A summit is a fast-paced, full day that is carefully facilitated. We provide workbooks, big post-it notes, non-toxic scented markers and plenty of flip charts.  We also provide creatively-stimulating toys, such as Play-Dough and Legos, for kinesthetic engagement.

Typically, we explore 4-6 brand and/or marketing topics over the course of a day (see sample topics below). We do group and individual work in the form of brainstorming, writing, storytelling and idea prioritization. Participants will never be bored because we move quickly, take multiple breaks and there’s plenty of opportunity to move around the room. Often participants comment that the day “flew by” and “it felt highly productive.”

How does a Brand and Marketing Summit work?

Your summit day is unique to your organization, so your agenda is customized based on the things that matters most.

Prior to any Brand and Marketing Summit, Brand Mentoring will prepare by conducting discovery work, which typically includes a combination of:

  • Surveying or interviewing your key audiences and stakeholders
  • Assessing your current marketing activities and assets
  • Studying the competitive landscape
  • Reviewing any relevant documents and past market (or customer) research

Who should participate in a Brand and Marketing Summit?

Your participants (aka summiteers) should represent a good variety in functional roles, seniority and organizational tenure. Between 8-12 summiteers is optimal and they can be staff, volunteers, board members and/or key marketing partners (ex. graphic design partners, website/SEO developers, writers/content creators and any other marketing or brand partners). There is usually a small, pre-summit assignment for summiteers which gives us a sense of where they agree or diverge on key issues.

 What is the end deliverable for a Brand and Marketing Summit?

This depends on what you truly need. Sometimes it’s detailed notes from the session. Other times it’s an actionable marketing plan, content campaign plan or brand platform document that summarizes key strategies for the brand or brand family.

12 Sample Brand and Marketing Summit Topics

1. Starting with “Why”

Why does your brand exist? Borrowed from Simon Sinek’s bestseller, “Start with Why”, we articulate the why (belief/cause), how (actions, principles, values) and what (tangible offerings, outcomes) related to your organization. This is great exercise to align the team on the bigger picture before deep diving into the various facets of an individual brand.

2. Brand Family Architecture

What does your brand family look like?

Explore the four major brand family structures for organizations with multiple brands in order to determine the relationships the brands have (or don’t have) with one another. This is a good exercise if visual identities are being evaluated.

3. Your Brand Promise

What is a brand promise and do you need one?

Define and discuss the role of a brand promise and how it’s central to your core marketing message. Review examples of famous brand promises to inspire us. Work on a written exercise to begin developing your brand promise statement. A “Client Bill of Rights” exercise is used to jump-start our thinking.

4. Market Positioning & Messaging strategy

Where will you lead in the marketplace? Define and discuss specific positioning strategies. Explore different leadership positions brands purposefully try to “own” and use to differentiate themselves. We start this exercise by identifying your industry’s table stakes to help us uncover the “me too” messaging we want to avoid. Then we look at your purpose and strengths versus key to see if our desired positioning is too similar (we want to be as opposite as possible). From this exercise we should identify a very specific market position, examples include: technology leader, fun leader, comfort leader, innovation leader, experience leader.

5. Key Audiences / Buyer Personas / Editorial Mission

Who are the most important people to reach?

Explore via story creation the key buyers and influencers we must address with our brand and marketing communications. What are their key mindsets? Fears? Hopes? Values? Preferences? We identify what we absolutely know and what we need to research further. We also write an editorial mission statement for each persona for inbound and content marketing purposes.

6. Brand Essence & Brand Personality

What is your brand really about?

Define and explore brand personality and why having one is important. Do brand archetype exercise to explore the four human motivators and associated classic archetypes that may be a strong fit for your brand. Example archetypes: The Creator, Caregiver, Ruler, Jester, Regular Guy/Gal, Lover, Hero, Outlaw, Magician, Sage, Explorer, Innocent.

7. Brand Voice

How will your brand sound?

If your brand were a person, how would you describe him or her? Examples: The trusted friend? Humble hero? Quirky creative? Wacky disruptor? Then we define your voice’s key attributes, vocabulary and simple do’s and don’ts. We are not attempting to define every scenario but instead provide an instructive guideline for your content creators to follow when writing or producing graphics and video.

8. Tagline Types

What is your tagline?

Define and discuss the role of a marketing tagline and the 5 different tagline types. Review competitor taglines and deconstruct their brand strategy. Note: we usually do not brainstorm taglines in a Brand Summit, instead we sharpen our focus for developing strong tagline candidates later on.

9. Brand (or Customer) Experience

How will you live your brand?

Define and discuss how to “live” your brand relative to your client experience. Explore what your ideal experience would look, sound and feel like. Determine what you would start, stop or continue based on your new brand strategy.

10. Website Wish List

What would you change about your current website?

Group ideation using lots of post-it-notes! What if there were no limits on your next site’s functionality or content? What would your visitor experience look, feel or sound like? Exercise results in organization of key ideas to better brand your website.

11. Graphic Style Meter

What will your logo style look like?

Focus the graphic style discussion with the use of graphic style meters to hone in on the right words to use to describe your desired visual identity. This is a good exercise if visual identities (logos) are being evaluated, refreshed or revamped.

12. Brand Naming for Trademark Purposes

What do you need from your new name?

Group discussion and decision making about key naming criteria, name types and naming themes. Review of other brand names for similar products/services/organizations that our target audiences will likely know or use.