Find the Bullseye With MAC’s Brand Clarity & Messaging Workshop

How will our organization capture the attention of the people we need to reach?

Here at MAC, we’ve developed a unique and collaborative method for discovering the answer to this question. Our approach has helped many complex organizations like yours hit two essential targets related to developing your brand.

One, it creates buy-in from key stakeholders who are invested in your success—and two, it provides unique, authentic, and strategic messaging to help the entire team better and more accurately tell your story. 

Using Zoom (or in-person, if you prefer), we will work with the key people you select for two sessions lasting about two hours each — four hours in total. During this time, we will uncover insights into your short- and long-term goals, target audiences, and potential communication challenges to overcome. The result will be a messaging story that everyone behind your brand can buy into.

Here’s how we do it. 

Workshop Day 1

Generate Consensus and Discover Your Brand Attributes

We aim to generate consensus around the branding effort when we first start. Why are you here? How will you know when we’ve succeeded? What are your organization’s challenges, strengths, goals, and audiences? We will also discuss your organization’s lived culture in the form of brand messaging.

“The team at Madison Ave. Collective took the time to truly listen to each voice at the table and to help us find our commonalities. In the end, we had a message that everyone was proud to stand behind together.”
—Jenn Richter, Early Learning Director at FamilyCore

To that end:

  • On a virtual whiteboard, we list the strengths and challenges we’ve already discovered in research; then, we invite participants to reflect on these: what’s right, wrong, and missing?
  • After we’ve dissected your own strengths and challenges, now it’s important to understand the competitive landscape. Who are your competitors? How are you similar to them? How are you different?
  • Next, we begin to identify your target audience. Who do we need to reach? We’ll use Zoom break-out rooms to facilitate group discussions and fine-tune our understanding of each audience, creating a persona to represent each one. What is their age, gender, ethnicity, income, etc? What is their main struggle right now?

During this time, a variety of themes are likely to emerge. We will dig into them, ask clarifying questions, and ensure everyone shares the same impression.

By the end of this portion of the workshop, participants have a shared understanding of the purpose of the messaging that you’re striving to develop. They also know who you’re targeting and what those people need to hear.

Workshop Day 2

Begin Developing Concepts

The purpose of this next step is to develop the ideas that will lead us to a positioning statement (“We are a [what] that [does what] for [whom]”) — which is a must-have component for any brand toolkit. Through this process, we also begin to define the lived culture for internal and external audiences.

“At the outset of our project, our group had lofty goals but not a lot of specificity or clarity. Throughout the branding and messaging workshop, the team at MAC led us through a series of thoughtful, engaging activities that drew out our group’s best thinking and ideas.”
—Holly Mar-Conte, Childcare Sector Strategist for Onward Eugene

Here’s how it works:

  • Using Zoom break-out rooms, we divide the team into three groups and assign each a portion of the statement to work on. (The first team takes [what], the second has to come up with a [does what], and the last group will answer [for whom].)
  • We begin with a few minutes of silent writing on a shared document that everyone can work on simultaneously so quiet folks can get their ideas out before launching into a small group brainstorming.
  • Once the teams have begun collaborating, our facilitator can bounce between each “room” to help them narrow their ideas to a single answer.
  • Once a group has settled on its wording, one of its members fills in the blank for that portion of the statement on the virtual whiteboard. (This often makes for a very disjointed and humorous positioning statement.)
  • After assuring everyone that this is just a brainstorm, not a finished product, we reflect on the rationale behind each team’s choice and any alternatives they considered, tapping into multiple perspectives to understand the internal and external landscape of perception that their organization is navigating.

Again, no final decisions are made, but by the end of this portion of the workshop, the entire group respects the effort it takes to develop brand messaging. Participants also share a common knowledge of why certain choices may work better or worse for your organization’s marketing and communications. And just as important, they feel a personal investment in the outcome because their voices have been heard. This statement now belongs to them.

The Final Product

Our online brand messaging workshop can be an intense experience — but so productive! We’ve received overwhelming appreciation from every client we’ve facilitated this experience with to date.

“What is a brand? Why does it matter so much? How can you make your brand a standout success? The bright people at MAC will guide your team to discover the answers with their brand messaging workshop.”
—Curtis Wright, Marketing Communications Consultant for Heartland Humane

Through this workshop, participants feel heard, inspired, and aware of your organization in a more nuanced and meaningful way. Meanwhile, our team returns to our desks with notes and concepts from many different perspectives, so we can turn what we learned into an incisive messaging toolkit for effectively communicating your brand.

The time spent during the workshop is invaluable, as it brings everyone together on the final product. When workshop participants later see the deliverables, they see their own insights shining through. They understand the work it took to get there and share a common story for why we’ve chosen one direction over another.

Interested in what our Brand Discovery & Definition Workshop could do for your organization? Reach out to Logan Hoffman at to find out.

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