The most effective visual brands are built on a solid strategic foundation.

Before designing your identity or your website, it’s immensely beneficial to take time to answer fundamental questions about who you are, what you offer, and who you serve. This helps ensure that all the creative work aligns and directly supports the image promise you wish to make.

Along with brand strategy partner Tronvig, we are offering a cost-effective way for small businesses and nonprofits to set the foundation for their brand. A proven process distilled from 23 years of working with hundreds of companies, the brand strategy tutorial includes the following:

  • Live consulting time with seasoned professionals
  • 7-part series of videos on how to use the Brand Pyramid
  • Detailed workbook and presentations
pyramid

Brand Pyramid

Creating a Brand Pyramid requires answering five core questions succinctly to have the focus and differentiation you will need to thrive in your chosen marketplace. Your brand must occupy a meaningfully differentiated position out in the world in the mind of the target customer. To accomplish this, your brand position must be intuitively obvious, true, and simple.

The Brand Pyramid ensures the right level of simplicity is achieved by helping you distill who you are as an organization, what makes you different from your competitors, and why your target customer will value your offer.

“It’s not about you, the CEO, the Vice President, or Jane in accounting. Instead of designing to appease individuals within the firm, the Brand Pyramid allows us to design for the target audience.”

Take a minute to learn about the 5 essential questions in the trailer above.

Here's what you get with the most popular plan:

Strategy DIY-Video

Access to the 7-part video series with illustrations and live examples
There’s an introduction to the Brand Pyramid and Tronvig’s philosophy, a video for each of the five levels of the Brand Pyramid, and an appendix with tips on how to run a successful workshop.

Strategy DIY-Phone

3 extended consulting sessions with an experienced Tronvig strategist
Tronvig will answer your questions and prepare you to run your Brand Pyramid workshop, providing personalized guidance at critical moments in the process for industry-level results.

Strategy DIY-Worksheet

Workbook, presentation, and documents
You'll receive a Getting Started Document with step-by-step instructions to maximize your Brand Pyramid Workshop, a Brand Pyramid Workbook for all workshop participants, and a Brand Pyramid Presentation for your facilitator to use when leading the workshop.

Frequently Asked
Questions

Q: Who should use the Brand Strategy Tutorial?

A: Organizations who are not currently engaged with a branding agency for comprehensive strategy services. Tronvig’s full offer of 360-branding services is outlined here.

Q: What's the best way to tell whether our organization needs a Brand Pyramid?

A: Ask five individuals at different levels within your organization to write down their answers to these five questions:

  • What is our business? (What business are we in?)
  • How do we deliver value differently from our competitors?
  • Why does our core customer (client or audience) choose us over a competitor?
  • What are our Core Values? (Can you remember all of them and do you know how they apply to your day-to-day work?)
  • What is our Brand Idea?

If the answers you get are consistent, you don’t need to do this work. If the answers are all over the place, you do.

Q: What's included in the Brand Strategy Tutorial?

A: There are three tiers of the Brand Strategy Tutorial.

DIY includes the following:

  • Access to the seven-part series of instructional videos that takes you through the process of properly constructing your organizational Brand Pyramid with examples, illustrations, and sample stories you can use as you or your designated facilitator runs your workshop.
  • Printable PDFs and a presentation template to help you prepare for and run a successful workshop and to ensure that your answers are sufficiently concise.
  • These include the following:
    • Document A: Getting Started with step-by-step instructions to maximize your Brand Pyramid workshop
    • Document B: Brand Pyramid Workbook for all workshop participants
    • Document C: Brand Pyramid Presentation for your facilitator to use when leading the workshop
  • A 30-minute consultation with a Tronvig team member to review your completed Brand Pyramid and give you notes and recommendations for next steps.

PRO includes everything from DIY with the following additions:

  • Three separate 50-minute consulting calls with a Tronvig strategist to accomplish the following:
    • The first call takes place with you and your facilitator and will answer questions relevant to your particular situation and make sure you are set up properly for success in running your Brand Pyramid Workshop.
    • The second call serves to review your work and give you specific guidance on where your answers are strong and where more work needs to be done. Is your Brand Pyramid complete and sufficiently robust? What could be improved? Do you need to run another workshop? What do you still need to do to make this an industry-level tool for your business?
    • The third call serves to make sure your Brand Pyramid is ready to use as a tool for business success. Depending on the level of work you have been able to achieve, we will give additional recommendations on implementation and the practices required to bring the key elements of your brand strategy to life.
  • A cleanly designed version of your Brand Pyramid so that it can be used by your team or anyone else inside or outside of your organization who needs them.
  • A PDF resource guide directing you to relevant content on the Tronvig blog as it relates to each level of the Brand Pyramid.

MAX includes everything from PRO with the following additions:

  • Six separate 50-minute consulting calls with Tronvig’s President and Lead Strategist, James Heaton.
    • The first call takes place with you and your facilitator and will answer questions relevant to your particular situation and make sure you are set up properly for success in running your workshops.
    • The second call serves to review your work and give you specific guidance on where your answers are strong and where more work needs to be done. Is your Brand Pyramid complete and sufficiently robust? What could be improved? Do you need to run another workshop? What do you still need to do to make this an industry-level tool for your business?
    • The third call serves to make sure your Brand Pyramid is ready to use as a tool for business success. Depending on the level of work you have been able to achieve, we will give additional recommendations.
    • The fourth call will introduce you to the Brand Map and prepare you to run a workshop to test the assumptions you have made in the first version of your Brand Pyramid.
    • The fifth call is to assess your Brand Map and reevaluate your value proposition and introduce you to the Marketing Targets Diagram.
    • The sixth call will clean up any of the loose ends from the previous sessions and make sure you are confident in how to apply the work in running your business and discuss any issues that are particular to your situation.
  • Additional resources and reference materials specific to the business situation and unearthed needs for your organization. This might include but are not limited to the following:
    • A template for employee performance reviews that will help ensure that your brand strategy yields more than just a look and feel for your organization.
    • A model for Organizational Alignment Workshops to bring your Core Values to life within your organization.

Q: For PRO and MAX, is there guidance other than the consulting sessions and the videos?

A: There are a number of additional resources that are part of the offer depending on the product you select. See “what’s included” above. The consulting sessions, however, are of significant value since they allow you to tailor the work to your particular circumstance and they leverage our many years of experience helping other organizations.

Q: How much does it cost?

A: It ranges, starting from a one-time payment of $460. Click here to view the pricing plans for DIY, PRO, and MAX.

Q: How long are the consulting sessions?

Each of the three consulting sessions for PRO and six consulting sessions for MAX is 50-minutes long. The consulting session for DIY is 30-minutes long.

Q: How much of the Tronvig process do the videos cover?

A: The seven videos explain the Brand Pyramid and help you properly build one for your organization. The videos are as follows:

  • Video 1: Introduction to the Tronvig Brand Pyramid
  • Video 2: The What Level
  • Video 3: The How Level
  • Video 4: The Why Level
  • Video 5: Core Values
  • Video 6: The Brand Idea
  • Video 7: Appendix with tips for running your own workshop(s)

In MAX, we will further explain the creation and use of the Brand Map and help you create your Marketing Targets Diagram.

Q: How long are the videos?

A: The videos vary in length but are, in aggregate, a little more than an hour long. Video 1 (available to stream for free) is 15-minutes long and introduces the Brand Pyramid. Videos 2 through 6 provide an in-depth explanation for each of the five levels of the Brand Pyramid. Video 7 shows you some additional thoughts and tips for leading a successful workshop.

Q: Who on our team should watch the videos?

A: Only the person who plans to lead the workshops needs to watch all the videos. If others are interested in learning more, they can watch the 15-minute introductory video, which explains the importance of this work and shows a 5-minute excerpt of a live workshop.

Q: How do I use the documents and workbook that come with my purchase?

A: We provide step-by-step instructions on how to use the various documents you’ll be receiving as part of your tutorial packet. You’ll find all the guidance you need on Document A: Getting Started.

Q: Who should we involve in the process?

A: The configuration of the workshop is highly dependent on the particular situation and the type and size of your organization. This is thoroughly outlined in Document A: Getting Started that is part of all versions of the Brand Strategy Tutorial, and is part of the first consulting call in PRO and MAX .

If you are using DIY, the key is to put the most dynamic and diverse set of stakeholders that you can assemble into the workshops. They should include representation of your customer and anyone who could interfere with the implementation of the new brand strategy. The minimum number of persons for an effective session is five and the maximum is usually around 25, depending on the skills and experience of the facilitator. If your organization is very large with multiple business units, it may require multiple sessions and a reconciliation process at the end. If your organization is smaller than five persons, then you want to bring in trusted outside advisors or clients to get to the five-participant minimum.

Q: Can I do this without a workshop?

A: The point of the process is to create or improve your organizational brand strategy. If you sit down by yourself or as an executive team and compile the answers to these questions, that may lead you somewhere, but experience shows us that this tends to yield little genuine insight and a likely perpetuation of the status quo.

Q: How many people should participate?

A: Our experience has shown that the minimum number of participants for an effective workshop is five (not including the facilitator) and the maximum recommended is about 20, but this is unwieldy for virtual workshops. In such cases the minimum is the same but the upper limit is somewhere around 12 for the kind of truly interactive session that works best. Specific planning based on your particular situation is part of the first consultation call in PRO and MAX.

Q: Who on our team should lead the Brand Pyramid workshops?

A: The workshop leader can be the marketing director, an outside facilitator, or any other person in the organization who is a good facilitator. In our experience, it is best if the leader of an organization participates in the workshop rather than facilitates it.

Q: How long will the process take once we get started?

A: As a rule of thumb, the average time for the whole process is four to six weeks. And the larger the organization, the longer the process generally takes. But timing can vary greatly depending on your ability to coordinate the required workshop and process the results.

Q: How many meetings do we need to schedule, how long should they last, and how far apart should they be?

A: Ideally, for DIY and PRO there should be two 4-hour sessions or three 3-hour virtual sessions, but there are various constraints depending on the organization. MAX will have additional sessions and will be more tailored to your particular organizational needs due to the extra consulting time.

Q: What materials do we need for the Brand Pyramid Workshop?

A: This is detailed in Document A: Getting Started included in all versions of the tutorial. For a live workshop, we find that the most constructive setup is to have multiple easels with large sticky-back flip charts. There should be markers to write down the group’s proposed answers and the notes should be torn from the flip charts and stuck to the wall for everyone’s reference. Participants can either have their own workbooks to write down consolidated answers or assign this to a meeting scribe. The printable PDF Workbooks (Document B) are a part of all versions of the tutorial and these are intended to be used by all participants.

In the case of a virtual workshop, more detailed preparation and planning is required. All packages include a Brand Pyramid Presentation (Document C) for use during the workshop to help the facilitator. A virtual workshop requires far greater discipline and will typically have to be shorter, so the work might need to take place over three or four 3-hour sessions instead of two 4-hour sessions. The planning of this based on your particular circumstance is part of the first call in PRO and MAX.

Q: Can the Brand Pyramid Workshop be conducted virtually?

A: Yes it can, but as noted above, virtual workshops require greater discipline and will typically have to be shorter, so the work might need to take place over three or four 3-hour sessions instead of two 4-hour sessions. The planning of this is based on your particular circumstances and is part of the first call in PRO and MAX. General instructions are included in Document A: Getting Started included in all versions of the tutorial.

Q: Where should the Brand Pyramid Workshop take place?

A: It should take place in a well-lit space where participants will not be subject to interruption. These can be either on-site or off-site, though there are advantages to doing it at an off-site location. The room should be configured so that everyone can easily see each other and the easels.

The configuration of virtual workshops depends on the virtual meeting tools selected and would therefore need to be planned on a case-by-case basis. General instructions are included in Document A: Getting Started included in all versions of the tutorial.

Q: How do I schedule the phone sessions if I’ve purchased PRO or MAX?

A: One of Tronvig’s team members will reach out to you to coordinate a time for the first consulting call and each additional call as you complete the appropriate segment of the process.

Q: Who participates in the phone sessions included in PRO or MAX?

A: The organizational leader and facilitator or a core team of two to five people who are responsible for the project’s success. The calls can be by phone or video, as desired.

Q: Can the entire team participate in the consulting sessions included in PRO and MAX?

A: Yes. This may not be the most practical use of everyone’s time, but we are certainly happy to hold a phone or video conference call to answer questions from the whole group.

Q: Who will we be speaking with during the phone consultation(s)?

A: DIY includes a half-hour call with an experienced and fully trained Tronvig Analyst. PRO includes three 50-minute calls with an experienced and fully trained Tronvig Analyst. MAX includes six 50-minute calls with Tronvig’s President and Lead Strategist, James Heaton.

Q: What deliverables will we have once we’ve completed the process?

A: To state the obvious first, in all cases you will have a Brand Pyramid for your organization — the bedrock of a solid brand strategy. This is a valuable tool in brand strategy, organizational alignment, employee retention, operations and program assessment, vendor management, and more. The most appropriate applications of your Brand Pyramid will be discussed during our consulting time. But to restate some examples that we outlined in our description of the Brand Strategy Tutorial above, you should understand the Brand Pyramid as a simple diagram on which the most fundamental questions about your organizational brand are clearly answered. You will have developed and agreed upon these answers with all of your colleagues so that you can use them to guide your decision-making. When you have a disagreement, you can turn to the Brand Pyramid for a shared foundation on which to resolve the argument. You have a tool to prevent personal taste from dominating discussions about how your logo, website, or advertising campaign should look or what it should emphasize.

For PRO, this will be formatted and supplied to you as a PDF for you to use.

If you have purchased MAX, you will additionally have an organizational Brand Map and Marketing Targets Diagram, the final versions of which we will provide in cleanly designed digital documents.

Q: I want to purchase your Brand Strategy Tutorial, but I need help convincing others. Why would this be a good use of our limited resources?

A: First, share the video trailer on this page with them and ask them to watch the 15-minute introductory video from the Get Part 1 Free offer. If this is still not enough, we are happy to get on the phone with you and your boss to answer any questions they might have. Email info@greyboxcreative.com to arrange this.

Q: Must the CEO be in the workshop?

A: It is critical to have anyone with the power to scuttle the process present in the workshop to make the Brand Pyramid more than just a pretty piece of paper. If the Brand Pyramid is not sanctioned or endorsed by leadership, it will be little more than an interesting exercise.

Q: How do I get my CEO to participate in the workshop?

A: First, share the video trailer on this page with them and ask them to watch the 15-minute introductory video from the Get Part 1 Free offer. If this is still not enough, we are happy to get on the phone with you and your boss to answer any questions they might have. Email info@greyboxcreative.com to arrange this.

Q: Is there a standard invitation letter/email I can send out to describe the workshop and invite attendees?

A: We will give you a sample template based on your particular situation. This follows the first consulting call in the case of PRO and MAX. We also have a standard letter that can be modified for this purpose if you have purchased DIY.

Q: What are the consequential differences between PRO and MAX and Tronvig's full offer of 360 branding?

A: The main difference between PRO and MAX on one hand and Tronvig’s full offer is the level of effort required from your team and the level of direct exposure to the time and talents of James Heaton and the rest of the Tronvig team. A full engagement gets to the final product faster and with less effort on your organization’s part because it is run by the Tronvig team from beginning to end. If you have the resources, it’s a great way to go. If you cannot commit that amount of money to this work but still need a robust product, PRO and MAX also deliver the goods. The bottom line is that with PRO and MAX compared to the full engagement, we are looking at an 80/20 work allocation with the bulk of the work done by you in the former and by the Tronvig team in the case of the full offer.

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