Opinions, best practices and research into B2B marketing strategy and practices

Branding workshops 2/3 – Your next team-building event?

team sitting around campfire team-building

As the demands swirl around high-performing teams, it gets hard to keep the Big Picture in focus and easy to lose inspiration – particularly with the long-game nature of B2B marketing. Stepping out of the everyday and breaking the routine can be the antidote and team-building events can bring back some of the magic.

Your marketing team has been working hard to get press releases, articles and brochures completed and printed, and the new section of the website designed and delivered on time. Now, to top it all off, you’re asking them to spend part of their weekend preparing for the big annual trade show.

It might not seem like a great moment for a team-building event, but maybe that’s exactly what they need!

In my experience (I’ve conducted hundreds of branding sessions over more than 20 years in the branding business), marketing employees get highly energized when talking about the Big Picture of branding. Whether they’re hearing about what other brands are doing, or thinking about the company’s own brand/s, it all highlights one of the marketing department’s most important roles.

Key take-aways

Here’s what I see as the key take-aways from a team-building brand workshop:

  • Reminds people of the Big Picture – what are we really trying to achieve with all our hard work on the details?
  • Gives you and the team a chance to stop up and review the key messages/visuals behind your brand – have the market’s needs changed? Have the company’s needs changed?
  • Provides inspiration for USPs and creative angles, even just for upcoming product campaigns.
  • Gives everyone a chance to hear what others think about the brand – and a chance, too, to freely share their ideas in a non-committing context.

It’s this last point that I find particularly useful with a workshop of this kind. From the most senior member of the marketing team to the intern who joined last Monday, everyone can bring interesting perspectives to the table.

Powerful new concept

In one session last year, I realized that, having asked the same question of all 12 participants, their answers had provided enough input to arrive at a very powerful new brand concept. All it took then was a professional branding agency to turn that idea into visual and verbal magic!

So what are the essential elements of a good team-building-style branding workshop? I’ve listed a few below, but I’m keen to add to the list, so don’t hold back if you have further ideas:

  • A general definition of branding
  • Examples of well-known and well-designed brands
  • An interactive exercise where participants name their favorite brands and describe what makes those brands so special
  • An overview of what it takes to create a great brand – from idea to execution
  • A step-by-step look at a typical brand makeover process
  • Brief discussion of the company’s corporate brand or that of its product/s

Inside story

I always like to tell the inside story of branding processes – what really goes on behind the scenes at your branding agency, for example. It’s invariably an interesting part of the workshop, explaining what has made some projects successful and others not so successful, and discussing the learnings. The more open the discussion, the greater the value people perceive from the session, and the better equipped your team will be to engage with future branding projects, both large and small.

Up next

This is the second in a three-part series about the benefits of interactive workshops to inspire effective B2B storytelling, create strong creative concepts and develop your skills, following the first instalment about Big Ideas and picking winners. In the last post of the series, I’ll explain how powerful concepts are not just fairytales – they can turn into real results.

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Jonathan Winch

I’m Jonathan Winch, partner at cylindr BBN and a B2B marketing enthusiast. I've participated as a strategic and creative resource in the marketing and communication sphere for over 25 years, making contributions to the strategies and communications of companies of all sizes, the best known of which include Cisco, Hewlett-Packard, Danisco, GN ReSound, Hempel, Nokia Siemens Networks, LEGO, Coloplast, and Johnson & Johnson. My mission? To help B2B companies make the most of the value they create for the world. My hobby: Nutritional science, particularly sports nutrition.

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