After reading Jolt Retreat | Part 01 you’re probably thinking “looks cool, but what exactly did you all work on?!” We thought you’d might ask that, so we’re gonna tell ya!
What trip or vacation doesn’t need a little prep first? Aside from packing their bags for sunny (and humid) Maryland, the designers had to prep their brand for Jolt. Instead of a packing list, oh wait nope, we gave them that too, they received a Brand Strategy Prep Workbook. It was a way to get the wheels turning, get thoughts and ideas written out, and have a reference point once at Jolt.
One of the first of many highlights was seeing everyone all together on our pre-retreat video call! I was too excited to snag a screenshot, but I can tell you that it was very clear in that meeting how well everyone was going to jive.
Flash forward and we went from a cozy zoom call in our homes to finally meeting in person in Kent Island, Maryland. After a few hours of settling in we got right to work. Jess of The Colorful Jess helped us transition from the travel jitters to focused and open-minded. Then it was 24 hours of total brand strategy! Led with the strategy guru herself, Melissa Perkins of Sweet Daddy Designs, we started with the basics, continued to ask “why?” and dove deeper.
The designers started with brand values, history and goals. Then we moved into audience demographics, psychographics, personality, needs and solutions, and client brand path. After cruising through these it was time for competitor analysis. This section was the first road block for many as we worked through what each persons competitor really looks like, it’s not a simple one size fits all formula.
After a delectable Maryland themed dinner (aka all the crab and Old Bay) we tackled our first small group task of listing brand attributes. It was magic seeing everyone help one another come up with adjectives for their lists.
After writing all their brand adjectives the designers boiled each category to one word. With these words they wrote out their brand positioning statement. Think mission statement but more internal facing, basically taking all their strategy so far and boiling it down to a few sentences.
Next up was the crowd favorite- Brand Archetypes! Melissa is our resident Archetypes Master, pushing everyone to uncover not only their brand archetype, but their target client as well. Knowing these archetypes unlocked new doors for everyone as they outlined their brand characteristics.
The powerful strategy sessions concluded with brand messaging. This included things like tone of voice, brand language, and voice characteristics. With the clarity of who their brand is, what they stand for, who they want to reach, and how they sound…it was time to put all of that into visuals!
I’d say this is where the magic started to happen, but boy, it happened the whole dang time! We just entered the phase where the designers could get lost in their groove for hours (and some did!) Instead of letting everyone loose to create a logo, it was really important to make sure the discovery in the strategy session translated clearly. For that reason, we started with stylescapes. Designers hunted for images, colors, and fonts that would showcase the vibe of their brand.
Partnering off, designers shared and got feedback on their brand direction. After a few more tweaks, each person had the chance to showcase their stylescape on the giant TV as we listened, encouraged, and pushed each other. My morning, everyone had a more refined visual brand direction and was ready to pull out the pen and paper.
With tons of visual inspiration compiled, it was time to crack open the sketch books. Now, usually sketching can be daunting to designers, right?! But with all the prep that had gone down, it was way more empowering! Filling in all corners of the bay house, the designers got in the zone and started sketching.
No matter their artistic level, everyone showed up for one another to encourage and drive forward their new brand direction. Sketches are the next step in taking what’s in your creative ass brain and getting closer to the digital goodness.
With inspiration, colors, fonts, sketches, and a house full of invested designers, everyone geared up for to share all they’ve accomplished!
As you already know, creating a brand is only part of the work. These amazing business owners have been spending time post-retreat refining, testing, and preparing for brand launches. Not on their own, of course! Our Slack group is buzzing with game-changing feedback and so much support. They are armed with Brand Strategy and Brand Guide templates, as well as mock-up libraries and two follow-up group calls.
We don’t want to give too much away, but be sure to check back when we reveal final brands!
Feeling that FOMO? Make sure you get on the waitlist for 2023. Being on this list means you’ll get the retreat dates first, and you’ll have access to register before anyone else…and maybe some discounts!