Jamie Viggiano is Chief Marketing Officer at Fuel capital, an early stage venture capital firm investing in consumer, SaaS and infrastructure companies.
More contributions from this contributor
Be effective, every element of your brand’s ethos must be authentic. Your values have to match your identity, your mission has to fit your purpose and your vision has to be a shot of the moon that goes down well with your team, your customers and above all with you as the founder.
A true ethos cannot be dictated or copied. It needs to be extracted from the people building your business (sounds painful, I know). This is where the visioning workshop comes in. A visioning workshop ties key players on your team into one room to delve deep into your collective motivations, inspirations, and ambitions. It’s a collaborative, generative experience that brings to light the concepts that matter most to your brand and business.
That’s how it’s done:
Let the founder or CEO push this process forward to signal the importance of the work. An outside moderator could help you keep things on track, but the entire workshop can be built by yourself if budget is an issue.
Skipping ethos work is a costly mistake that leads to a disjointed and rudderless brand that directly and negatively affects the company’s growth potential.
Pick five to six stakeholders for the work team to ensure a cross-section of the perspectives in the room. Most early stage companies find it convenient to involve department heads and members of the founding team. This team will do most of the work and will be responsible for bringing insights from their respective areas.
Then, gather the team (preferably off-site to limit distractions) for at least a four-hour session to participate in a series of exercises, both individually and as a group. Make generous use of a whiteboard (take photos of the chalkboard as you go) and encourage them to take notes. You might even consider making an audio recording of the session for future reference.
These exercises should be generative in nature and you will use the results to stimulate discussion and identify patterns.
Help TechCrunch find the best startup growth marketers.
Make a recommendation in this quick poll and we will share the results with everyone.
Here are three of the most effective ones for early stage businesses:
Exercise # 1: Is and Will
Deceptively difficult, this one is great to get started as it encourages productive conversation. Give each team member 10 minutes to complete the following two sentences. The answers should be short, ideally less than ten words in total. Then share the answers and discuss in a group for 20-30 minutes.
“My company is …”
“My company will …”
The purpose of this exercise is twofold: The first sentence helps to derive the mission of your company, which is the daily focus of your team. The second sentence helps in deriving the vision of your company that is your direction and your goal.