A brand strategy session is a crucial meeting that dictates how you'll build your brand. Here's how to prepare for the next brand strategy meeting.
People easily identify the most well-known companies because of their strategic branding. And whether you know it or not, your business also has a brand identity.
The only question is, does it convey the message you want it to?
It's easier for your audience to immediately recognize your brand when you have a defined culture, format, and philosophy behind your branding choices. A brand strategy session will help you review your brand identity and create clear strategies that ensure your audience perceives it the way you want them to.
With that in mind, here’s what we’ll cover:
A brand strategy session is a meeting between a brand strategist and business leaders to discuss crucial information about the business, market, and industry it's in.
In this session, the strategist will learn about the business operations, any social concerns and philosophies, what the target audience wants, and what competitors are doing. That way, the strategist can be armed with enough details to create a plan to shape the audience's brand perception.
Besides using a brand strategist, companies can also do an internal brand strategy workshop with the C-suite officers and departments that directly interact with your audience, such as the marketing and sales teams.
Your job as the facilitator will be to guide the meeting and record every detail discussed during the workshop.
A brand strategy meeting aims to help you understand your business and its market landscape so you can create a message that connects your brand and its audience.
A brand strategy planning session will help::
Like project management, a brand strategy session has many moving parts you need to manage as a facilitator, especially with multiple team members. The executives or key decision makers of your company should attend the session so they can have a say on the strategic decisions they want you to implement. Departments that directly interact with customers can also attend this meeting. They include the marketing, sales, and customer service teams.
You can hold the brand strategy meeting either through a workshop, where you meet physically, or remotely through Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or Google Meet.
Both types of meetings have their benefits. For example, an in-person collaboration meeting often helps everyone attending to participate in the discussion actively. As a result, they get a sense of ownership of what comes out of the meeting. Remote meetings can work well with the busy schedules of the c-suite executives since they can join in the discussion from anywhere, and you can easily record the sessions. Regardless of the type of meeting you are hosting, make sure to use a meeting minutes app to capture your meeting notes effectively.
Once you've completed the branding meeting, you'll have all the crucial ingredients to develop a brand strategy for your company. Follow tasks and meeting actions items should be tracked in a project management tool.
Depending on your company’s structure and needs, you can develop a strategy based on the branding meeting and then meet again for feedback.
Or you may first split into smaller focus groups that each work on a piece of the larger brand messaging before a larger group meeting to put all the pieces together.
A lot goes into having a successful brand strategy meeting, and rushing or skipping some crucial processes may result in a misaligned or poorly positioned brand that struggles to resonate with the audience.
So here are five things to consider when holding your next brand strategy session:
If you're using a brand strategist, they'll usually have their own agenda and will often lead the meeting. So your work would be directing your team members to gather information the strategist has already requested. You can also brainstorm any specific topics you’d want the strategist to cover.
However, if you're holding the meeting yourself, you'll want to set your own agenda.
To prepare well, conduct stakeholder interviews through a survey and small focus groups, then present the results for discussion. Ask for everyone's opinion. You'll probably hear some observations you wouldn't have thought of yourself.
After that, determine which topics are more important and relevant and in what order you'll address each issue. Also, consider how much time you'll allocate to each subject.
Some topics you can have include:
Try Fellow.app's meeting agenda examples during your next brand strategy meeting.
The marketing world evolves fast, and keeping up with these changes is sometimes challenging. But before holding the brand strategy session, ensure you're up to date with the current marketing trends.
According to HubSpot, influencer marketing was the top trend businesses leveraged in 2022, with mobile-friendly website design coming in second. Companies also refined their mobile marketing strategy and invested more in short-form video content.
Researching the current marketing trends helps you expand the information you gather in the brand discovery session. As a result, you'll discover more gaps, insights, and potential opportunities for how your brand can approach the market.
Here, you’ll identify any narratives about your brand you can discuss during the brand strategy meeting. For example, you can prepare thought-provoking questions to challenge the workshop attendees.
Some questions can include:
The answers to these questions will give you crucial information and deep insights to help you create a successful brand strategy.
A brand strategy session aims to create a strong brand identity that:
When brainstorming about your brand messaging, consider the design elements, such as the logo, color palette, icon, and the website’s design and aesthetics.
People first see these when interacting with your brand, so make sure they’re highly personalized to your brand.
After you’re done with the branding meeting, you’ll have all the information you need to develop a brand strategy for the company.
During this time, test the brand messaging, ask for feedback from internal and external partners, and be open to how you can improve it. Internal and external partners are your customers, colleagues, and suppliers with whom you interact often. These interactions will impact your brand either positively or negatively.
To gather feedback, it is recommended to use an anonymous feedback tool. Once you have gathered feedback, compare the answers and decide what you should change or improve. Check if there are any recurring trends or issues in the feedback.
For example, if more than one stakeholder has given feedback that expresses their dislike for the brand's color palette, it may be time to try something new.
Strategic rebranding helps consumers relate to your business more holistically and authentically. Taco Bell is an excellent example of a great brand that rebranded itself and introduced a new, bold personality.
Consumers always knew Taco Bell as a fast-food restaurant. But the brand reinvented itself into a complete lifestyle brand by changing its food, marketing campaigns, packaging, interior design, events, and philanthropic efforts.
Taco Bell’s tone of voice (funny and irreverent) made the company so relatable that people enjoyed talking about and interacting with the brand.
The company understood that once it crossed over from being transactional to being a trusted brand and friend, customers would give them a lot more license for missteps when trying to experiment and innovate.
As a result, Taco Bell created four new design concepts for its stores:
The company also updated its logo, keeping the iconic bell image but separating it from the corporate color palette of yellow, pink, and purple. That gave them more freedom to play around with backgrounds and colors.
Taco Bell also extended its brand identity beyond the in-store experience with philanthropic efforts like the Feed the Beat program, which supports struggling and unknown musicians through the brand's in-store music.
It also has a scholarship program called Live Más that supports students based on genuine passion instead of academic or athletic achievement. As a result, Taco Bell has become a community partner in unique ways, remaining true to its brand identity.
A successful brand strategy session is about determining how best to connect your brand and audience. Therefore, you must understand your business goals and how you want to approach the brand strategy meeting to get the most out of it.
Remember, the more you understand your business and the industry and market you're in, the more effectively you can run your brand strategy meetings.
Do you have more insights on how to facilitate a brand strategy planning session? We'd love to hear what's worked best for your brand strategy meetings.
Alice Sol is a Digital PR Strategist focused on content partnerships and collaborations. Alice has been with HubSpot for 4+ years and she is based in Boston, Massachusetts.
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