In this guest column Dennis Simpson explains the four steps of a discovery workshop – and how this can help you rediscover your brand positioning after a crisis.
As many business owners shake off the dust and debris of a disorientating 2020, there is often time to reflect upon goals for the coming year. For many people that includes a refresh of sorts, an audit of where their company sits in the market, the services offered and their brand presentation. Unfortunately, many owners are discovering that their business has not evolved to meet the needs of the more discerning budgets post-COVID, and they are being left behind, facing shrinking work orders and a disengaged team.
A crisis like the uncertainty of 2020 is a good way to highlight pitfalls in a business’s service offering. Are we promoting services that our customers no longer require? And are our staff aligned on how to talk about our brand in the market? Often what is needed is a fresh take on the brand story, and an updated look to match the message.
The four steps of a discovery workshop after a crisis
Once a decision has been made that an update or revitalisation is needed, the first step is a Discovery Workshop. While it’s tempting to jump in the deep end immediately and start playing around with new branding and expensive ad space (aka the ‘fun stuff’), so much time and effort is wasted when these types of updates happen without an in-depth internal research process to uncover the new opportunities, re-position the business within the current climate, and pull the full team together. A discovery workshop does not have to be onerous or time-consuming. Rather, it can be a great exercise to do in a team offsite meeting and is usually best kept to a half-day session to prevent conversation fatigue and encourage active participation.
Step 1: Unite the team
Often sessions concerning the business strategy are confined to managers and c-level team members. If you are able to – so much information can be gained from bringing the full team together in one room, and tasking the right facilitator with coaxing the valuable insights out of all team members (not just the squeakiest wheel) and encouraging a safe space to share feedback. Bearing in mind that a downturn in business revenue will affect the whole team and have a negative impact on enthusiasm and enjoyment. Involving the team in at least the first step of this kind of strategic realignment can be a great way to honour their commitment to your business.
Step 2. Current Positioning
Often companies make the mistake of ‘business as usual’ and don’t notice the market shifting or competitors evolving until it is too late to catch up. A lot can be gained from a really simple sharing session on ‘what we know’ about the market right now. Pick the companies you associate with and aspire to be and watch their service trajectory. Are they investing in future proofing their offering in a new way? Frequent analysis of the current market, the customer demand, and the competitive landscape is a great way to pinpoint new opportunities and ensure your business will not be left behind.
Step 3: Internal Review
With the team in one room and the landscape analysed, now is the time to turn inward and take an honest review of the kind of products and services your business is promoting. A workshop is a great way to get honest feedback from your staff members. Maybe their workload is overrun by requests for a service that is not revenue-generating for your business, or they are lacking the support they need to offer a profitable service that the customer would value. Having regular check-ins in an open and honest forum is the best way to ensure your staff are armed with the resources they need, and that their day-to-day activities generate revenue.
Step 4: Uncover the Opportunities
Finally, once the insights have been shared and collected off the back of a team building workshop, the analysis can begin. Determine where the opportunities are to grow the business! You’ve realigned and reinvigorated the team, you’ve analysed the market in which you operate and your competitors, and you’ve optimised your internal processes to ensure your expertise are meeting the needs of your customers. An external facilitator is now able to pinpoint your business’ unique sales proposition and set you up for success.
This article is contributed by Dennis Simpson, founder and strategist at Magnum Advertising and Design. Dennis conducts discovery workshops for businesses looking to rediscover their direction. More information at this link https://magnumltd.co.nz/
You can read more contributing articles by other experts and ourselves in the blog section of Company Crisis.