Developing Your Brand Story

Developing Your Brand Story


Right now our world is in what we call “experience economy.” At its core, the experience economy is humans' need for play, community, personalization, authenticity, etc (TrendWatching.com). Shopping has become a much more personalized experience, segments have become personas, demographics have become actual people. At Circle Graphics we have created living breathing representations of our brands. CG SignLab is a sassy, young and upbeat professional. While Circle Graphics Corporate maintains expansive knowledge and industry authority, still using accessible language.

Think of Coca Cola, Nike, Airbnb, PBR. PBR went through a massive rebrand, no doubt they used similar exercises to The Brand Sprint to especially redefine their brand story. Now they have one of the biggest hipster cult followings in the industry. Coca-Cola legitimately branded the sound of a bottle opener with a smile. Nike sells shoes, that’s what they do. But that’s not what we think, like Steve Jobs said in 1997, Nike is so much more than shoes, they “honor athletic greatness.” And even more recently, “if you have a body, you are an athlete. Anybody is an athlete’s body.”

Consumers identify so strongly they refuse to use another brand, even shaming competitors through memes and social outlets. iOS users shame android, Coca-Cola customers refuse to drink Pepsi, etc. Their brand loyalty is astonishing, it is so strong because consumers can see themselves in these brand's messaging.

Developing a brand story is typically long drawn out process, choosing synonyms and tripping over insignificant language and details. What we found at Circle Graphics is that this is extremely detrimental to the creation of a brand story. Without the rigor of The Brand Sprint, it was easy for us to get lost; wasting time and energy. Great ideas got caught in the weeds. When getting started on your brand story, none of that is necessary. And in fact, it is not in the spirit of a brand sprint.


The Brand Sprint

Before beginning the workshop, please read this article and complete this worksheet. You will be using Google Venture's "Note & Vote" system (below) to complete most of these exercises. This discussion system will help you and your team to make quick decisions, without overthinking it, all while maintaining focus and productivity.

1. 20-Year Roadmap

15min

(Note & Vote)

  • Not solid ideas, start thinking about the life of your brand
  • Sets the stage for the remainder of exercises
  • Good brands are long-lasting to 2050 and beyond

2. What, Why, How

30min

(Note & Vote)

  • Highlights your motivation
  • Be idealistic; Passion > pragmatism
  • Encourage participants to remember your roots and why you started your company

3. Top 3 Values

30min

(Note & Vote)

  • Reduce and prioritize
  • Need 1 top value to maintain authenticity and focus
  • Easy decisions, clear message, stand out from the competition

4. Top 3 Audiences

30min

(Note & Vote)

  • Define who you speak to
  • not just customers but also other businesses, reporters, advertisers, employees, potential hires
  • Broad or specific? Athlete or runner? Whatever fits best with your brand

5. Personality Sliders

30min

  • Each person marks their printout individually
  • Everyone then plots their sliders on the whiteboard and label with initials
  • Discuss and argue for 5-10 min
  • Make sure to explain & discuss differences of opinion
  • Decider chooses final positioning

6. Competitive Landscape

30min

  • Create 2x2 matrix (“classic” to “modern” on the x-axis; “expressive” to “reserved” on the y-axis)
  • Everyone write list of competitors
  • Choose top 2 individually
  • All write top 2 on sticky notes
  • One at a time place sticky notes on matrix, quickly discuss placement
  • Repeat
  • Place your brand
  • Cross-reference with past step’s answers for cohesiveness; (decider calls it)

Posted in Business-Tips on Jul 25, 2019