A two-day camp is now two one-day workshops

My DIY Brand Camp was designed as a two-day workshop. Then, last month, I had a chance to lead the camp at NESEA’s annual BuildingEnergy conference—whose format allows for daylong workshops at most. What to do?

Try it as one day and see is what I did. And it worked. In fact, it worked so well that from now on, DIY Brand Camp will be one day—followed by a separate one-day “graduate seminar.” The first is coming up on April 29.

Here’s the story on how this happened.

The wisdom of the group

At the BuildingEnergy workshop, a great class of 12 people worked from 9 to 5, with a one-hour break for lunch. I used the exact same curriculum—Why do you exist? Whom do you serve? How do you help?—in the exact same order. Because I had less time in which to cover the same material, I relied less on individual and break-out group work, keeping the larger group together more.

The previously hidden benefit of whole-group work is that collective understanding comes more quickly when more voices are discussing the same material. I noticed that the few people who were struggling to grasp the nuance of a lesson gained clarity more easily by listening to the people who did get it.

Do one thing well

There is a certain magic in trying to do more with less. With literally half the time to present the same material, I had none to waste. Where was I wasting time before? Time didn’t feel baggy in the first two camps. Okay, so what could I leave out? At the NESEA camp, I focused primarily on the foundational principles: how to understand and articulate your core positioning and the messaging strategies that support it. We spent far less time on how to actually use this understanding with regards to, for example, the various points of audience contact and the elements of a contemporary marketing plan. Which leads to …

And then there were two: introducing the DIY Brand Camp Graduate Seminar

At the end of the day, the NESEA group shared feedback on their experience with a one-day brand camp. I was impressed to hear person after person exclaim that they were blown away by how much they had learned in just one day. And, like a lot of other campers, many said they’d really like a chance to come back to the same learning environment to learn to apply it. That’s when the lightbulb went off. Brand strategy is not something that can be grasped in just a few hours. It’s a discipline and a process that requires practice, a lot of shots at the goal, and a lot of missed shots.

I’m learning that this curriculum is better served in smaller, more manageable pieces. So the next DIY Brand Camp—on April 29 at the Smith College Conference Center, Northampton, MA—will be one day. Then, on the next day, I am going to conduct a separate one-day “graduate seminar” focused on how to build your brand. That workshop is open only to those who have taken the DIY Brand Camp and to Clarity clients who already have a clear understanding of both their positioning and their messaging.

I’ll keep you posted on what we learn.




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