A Brand Sprint (an exercise based on Google Ventures' popular 7-day design sprint; get the details on how it works in our last post “How to Build a Brand in 3 Hours”) is a quick, easy way to get the basics of brand out in the open — things like your company values, mission, audience, etc. But it's also a great way to get teams talking in the same room at the same time about their company, products or services at a high level, in ways that don't happen organically as everyone goes about their daily work.
Putting everyone together to be a part of essentially one big team working toward one common goal is intensely uniting, and it’ll help your employees connect both to the company’s mission and to each other.
It’s basically a win-win, and in the end, you’ll have the benefit of all those important things every Forbes article on building a strong team talks about like…
We all know it’s easy to lose sight of the big picture when departments are siloed, or you’re focused on completing your own work within your individual role. A brand sprint provides the opportunity to step back to understand the company and its offerings from a broader perspective. Even veteran team members might reaffirm (or, more interestingly reassess) their understanding of the business’ position and their particular role within it.
Plus, in bringing together all stakeholders in a company with people from each discipline, you’ll get a range of input from varied points of view and end up with a more solid foundation for defining your brand than getting only a C-level perspective might allow. It gets everyone on the same page and engages them with the company in a forward-focused direction.
While every sprint needs a Decider (the final decision maker; usually the CEO) and maybe a facilitator (someone to explain each exercise and keep things moving quickly), there aren’t any other role delineations. In other words, directors and junior team members sit side-by-side. Employees get an immediate sense of empowerment when being given the chance to contribute directly to idea generation in a safe and relaxed environment where everyone is encouraged to participate equally and there are no right or wrong answers.
The sense of freedom the exercises allow combined with the time and process constraints is designed to foster creative exploration, too. It’s a powerful way to engage employees and unlock compelling insights for defining your brand.
Because a brand sprint is about who you are as a company at its very core, and because the ideas in a sprint are generated by your employees, they’ll subsequently have a greater feeling of ownership in the brand and the business’ mission as a whole, driving greater investment — and passion — in their own work within the company. It may sound like a benefit that applies to just the individual, but it’s rooted in the idea of seeing the work you do framed by a larger sense of purpose, and understanding how you’re contributing to something that’s bigger than yourself.
Allowing employees to brainstorm, propose ideas, and receive validation for their input inspires a higher level of collective motivation: there’s a shared vision that was built together. It can help bond employees during the sprint — and long afterwards.
We did our first sprint with the Edgar Allan team in January of 2018, and it was kind of amazing to see how far-reaching the benefits of simply putting people together in a room to talk about the business could be. It helped hone our brand strategy, sure, but it really created a sense of why we do what we do that united our team; a “we’re in this together” mentality that set the tone for creative collaboration the rest of the year. We’re getting ready to do another to kick off 2019 — we’d recommend considering kicking off your year with one too!