I’m sure you’ve faced this situation as a client or agency leader. Your gut tells you that a golden nugget of an insight which might inspire a stellar marketing strategy is buried in front of your eyes. But, finding that nugget can be a real challenge. So, that’s why I tell my clients …. “let’s generate some FRICTION.” We do that in the Brand Workshops that I’ve discussed in previous newsletters.
Insights can be discovered when people unknowingly think out loud, contradict themselves or challenge others. They might say something at the beginning of a workshop – perhaps thinking it’s something they should say to look smart – and then say something later in the session that contradicts what they said before. Participants might debate each other, or even shout insults at one another. FRICTION.
I have constantly witnessed this dynamic since facilitating my first Brand Workshop 15 years ago when twelve executives from various departments and regions of a multi-national company were gathered in one room for 8 hours. Initially, the group was taken through exercises that dissected the company’s health, mission, vision, and points of differentiation as EACH individual member understood it to be. Major disagreements emerged from the onset. However, through additional exercises we generated more FRICTION to ultimately produce some shared vision that all understood and conditionally embraced – and which could be validated by research. It isn’t an easy process, but in most cases the participants do reach common ground.
By gently mining those contradictions and contentious verbal exchanges, you can gradually move towards consensus building and some real ‘out of the box’ thinking. Strategic ideas and direction often emerge when FRICTION contributes to the formulation of business concepts that might not have been overtly recognized or understood at the beginning of the melee.
Is there disagreement on your senior team about the company’s health, mission, vision, and points of differentiation? Do your key executives all know and subscribe to the same set of core values for your brand? Do you sense major disconnects every time you meet with them? If so, you may want to recommend creating some FRICTION that can help solidify direction, understanding, and even uncover that nugget which inspires a successful brand strategy.
If you need some help creating FRICTION, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s talk about how we get started.