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In today’s world, branding is more important than ever. With so much competition out there, it’s essential to create a unique identity for your company that will set you apart from the rest. As a startup AI company, here at Resua we know this all too well. Because of this, it was incredibly important to us to establish innovative branding from the very beginning. In this blog post, we will do a deep dive into an essential part of our branding process – the brand sprint. We will look at what a brand sprint is, the exercises we used and some of the outcomes that led us to create the branding you see today!
Arguably the most important thing we did when it comes to our branding was holding a team-wide brand sprint. Miro defines a brand sprint as “an expressive exercise that helps turn ideas about your brand into a defined brand image.” Our brand sprint helped us have a structured conversation about brand and align our thoughts on our identity as a company. The guidelines for the brand sprint were simple:
- Full attention
- Creativity is key
- No wrong answers
- Feel free to pass if you don’t have an opinion about something – that’s okay too!
We divided our brand sprint into 6 exercises, and finished with a set of closing questions. The structure was largely based on Miro’s 3-Hour Brand Sprint Template, which we then modified for our purposes. We will go over each of the exercises we used, which we hope will be useful for anyone looking to hold a brand sprint of their own in the future.
Exercise One: 20 Year Plan
This exercise was meant to help us think about the lifetime of our brand. While no company has to stick to this 20-year plan, the exercise can help to think about the big picture, especially for a startup. This is a broad activity that asks the team to discuss where they see the company in 5, 10, 15, and 20 years. Our goal with this exercise was not to generate a 20-year roadmap to follow or execute exactly, but to get the team thinking about the lifetime of our brand.
Some of the first milestones on our 20-year plan include launching as a company and our first products and services. We have visions of becoming a major name in government bureaucracy reform somewhere between 10 and 15 years in the future, and the 20-year mark holds even more exciting milestones we hope to reach! This was a great activity to open up our brand sprint with and get the wheels turning.
Exercise Two: Start with the Why
The goal of this exercise was to get the team talking about why we started Resua, as well as our thoughts on starting to make our brand stronger and differentiate ourselves from the competition. The first thing we gathered thoughts on was the why – the core reason Resua exists. This can be thought of as the reason we all get out of bed in the morning and go to work, and it likely won’t change much over time. The next question was how – how we do what we do, and what technology or approach sets us apart. Finally, we looked at the what – what does our brand do?
We got fantastic answers that generated really rich conversation. Here are some of the answers to each of the questions we asked:
Exercise Three: Values Exercise
For this exercise, we asked our team to write down as many values as they could think of that they felt represented Resua. Once we had lots of ideas, we discussed which values we felt were most important and representative of us as a company and chose the top 3. Narrowing down your company values makes decisions easier, clarifies your message and helps set you apart from the competition.
Some of the values we came up with included: growth mindset, trustworthy, in service to humanity, accessibility and diversity, employee-focused, risk takers, fun, and innovative. This activity was essential in starting to define a key part of our branding and identity.
Exercise Four: Our Audiences
This exercise had us look beyond our target customers to identify whose opinion we care about as a company. The goal of this was to define the top 3 most relevant audiences, and to help the team realize that our brand matters not only to customers but also to other companies, advertisers and employees, among others.
A few of the audiences we came up with include governments, potential future partners, innovative minds, content creators, digital nomads, and industry analysts.
Exercise Five: Brand Personality
In order to help us define our brand personality, this exercise had each team member mark where they feel Resua sits on 6 different ranges. Each range had an example brand at each extremity, with a word defining the personality. One example is Chanel (elite) vs H&M (mass appeal).
The final decisions gave us a better idea of our brand personality as a whole, which played an essential role in developing our branding assets later on.
Exercise Six: Competitors
The final exercise had the team write down competitors for each of our 3 cornerstone products/services, and then discuss to define the top 3 industry competitors. We then placed ourselves on the competitive landscape matrix, and finally double checked that this placement makes sense for our 20-Year Roadmap, What How Why, Values, Audience, and Brand Personality.
Our Brand Sprint was an incredibly engaging and fruitful meeting that gave the Marketing team fantastic content to analyze and use as a starting point to generate our Brand Guide and create the needed branding assets. It was also a great bonding opportunity for our team, which is another important aspect of creating a successful startup!
If you have any questions about doing a Brand Sprint with your team, please reach out to us! Let us know in the comments if you have ever done a similar activity and how it contributed to developing your branding.