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The most important conversation you’ll ever have

Happy clients with their new logo

Sitting here late at night working on a name for a new product for a small business client, which got me to thinking about the meeting that led to this late night activity…

I call it the kickoff and it is the most important meeting I have with a client. Just like in football, the stronger and more accurate the kick, the better. So it is true for this meeting.

I get the client to tell me what we’re doing.

In brand development, it’s important to know what the brand actually stands for. A logo with pretty colors is nice, but in order to get real meaning behind a brand, I get my clients to do this little exercise:

I/the company/product/service add(s) value because/by ______________________. I get the client to complete that sentence as many times as possible. I am always surprised what comes out after they warm up a little.

What are three (and only three) adjectives that describe your business/product/service?

If your customers could only remember one thing about you, what would it be?

How do you want your customers to feel after they have interacted with you? (Those answers tend to get pretty standard, so I usually re-direct them back to their values sentences)

And we’re done! We turn those value statements into benefits when we flip them around and look at them from the user’s point of view and that becomes the brand proposition. Turn that into prose, and you have the brand story. Demonstrate how the business/product/service achieves those benefits and you have your proof points.

Works like a charm and gets the creative juices flowing and makes the client feel heard and invested in the success of the project. It’s a great way to solidify the brand, communications and creative strategies.

Definitely try this at home.