One question our clients always ask us is who they should bring along to their Distility 1day1brand. For start-ups, should they bring the whole company? For larger enterprises, should they bring the whole C-suite?
There is of course no single answer – every company has a different mix of people. Some companies need twenty team members to cover all the bases, some micro-businesses can be the single founder. The easiest way to think about this question to reflect on the inputs: what you need to know going into the event, and the outputs: what you need to come out of and after the event.
We strongly believe that before you go into any branding workshop, you need to be ready for branding. In our post Are you ready to brand? Really ready? Really? we explored what is required to be ready to brand and, by extension, what is required before a branding event. To put it briefly, you must have clarity and consensus on your offering, your customer, and your competition. That said, even though your company may have consensus on these items, some team members will have a deeper understanding than others. You need those people in the workshop.
So bring the person or people with a profound understanding of what your company offers. Often this person is the founder or inventor of your product. If you are a technology company, this may be the technology guru, or at least the wunderkind. The key thing is to understand the essential truths of the product, and not just a list of features.
Bring the people who understand your target market most deeply. This probably means you’ll bring your Marketing and Sales team leads, who are presumably talking with your customers daily. But it may also be the person who came from that target industry and understands how they think, what pains they face, and how they buy.
Don’t actually bring a customer without a lot of consideration. It may seem like the perfect solution, but the presence of a customer will most likely inhibit the free and honest flow of ideas in the room. A former customer, however, can be a gold mine. We’re talking here about someone who has left their old firm on good terms, has a good relationship with you, and can speak as freely as you. Your customer service representatives can often bring some surprising insights that may in fact be more objective and valuable than an actual customer.
Bring the people who understand the competitive situation. Sometimes this person is from sales, sometimes it is a product manager, sometimes it’s the industry expert.
Finally, be open to bringing in a wildcard. Someone who seems to embody the values of your company, even if they don’t shoulder much authority. Someone who has off-the-wall ideas that nonetheless capture something true and essential about your company.
So much for the inputs. Now lets consider for a moment the outputs. The brand strategy you get from a quality event like Distility 1day1brand will include your brand promise, personality, and position. Who stands to gain the most from understanding this? Who can take the brand strategy and immediately put it to work?
Generally, this will be your marketing and PR people. But it may also be your in-house design folks, especially if they will be called upon to create new brand systems. It may be customer service. It will certainly be anybody who is out and about, talking to customers, key influencers, or investors.
This is where that wildcard employee also comes in handy. The social, charismatic employee who can communicate the energy and excitement of the branding experience, and take it to the rest of the company. As you roll out your new brand, having an internal cheerleader who is not the CEO can be golden.
What if they can’t attend?
If someone you think is critical to a quality output can’t attend, think hard to moving mountains to make it work. They should be flattered that they are needed or made to recognize the importance of the day in the organization’s pursuit of success.
You hired your people for what they bring to the company. Bring that genius to your event, and you can convert their genius into a brilliant, authentic brand!