What Is A Branding Exercise?

I have a branding assignment from a mid-sized national trucking company. They specialize in time-sensitive marketing materials. The company, call them Ajax, provides superior transport services and has strong technical capabilities to support their operations.

Ajax has a good reputation with warehouse managers and “people on the dock” who often make the determination of a carrier. Their desire is to leverage this reputation and have it reflected in the brand and new marketing efforts to grow volume. Currently Ajax’ marketing program is pretty much non-existent. With a stronger brand and some marketing support they also hope to work their way up the customer food chain and develop some awareness among higher level executives at companies whose materials they are transporting. The hope being that these executives could be persuaded to direct warehouse and doc people to use Ajax as a carrier.

Now, to my question. I want to run a branding exercise with executives and employees of Ajax. I want to talk about the target, benefits, develop a brand essence and personality. Could you please offer me your thoughts on the components of brand architecture and any suggestions you have to tease out from them expressions of benefit and essence, etc. that are rich and emotional and not simply a dull recitation of the obvious.


Jay’s Answer: Instead of trying to get them to come up with branding thoughts, have them tell stories of things that they are proud of, or were told by others, or how a bad situation turned around. By analyzing the stories worth repeating you’ll get the emotional core of your branding/personality.

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