Claire Suellentrop: Brand Sprints – Talk recap from FemtoConf 2018

The FemtoConf 2018 Notes and recaps can be found on the central hub page.

Full title: Why even the tiniest companies should think about their “brand” – and how to get it over with in 3 hours or less
Twitter: @ClaireSuellen
Slide deck & brand sprint templates:

  • I’m not an expert on “brand”, but I had to become “okay” at it
  • Brand or Brand Development
    • Brand is a promise you make to your customers
    • Makes your life easier and your company more attractive
  • branding 
    • Messaging & positioning
    • voice & tone
    • color palette
    • website & product design
  • Brand Marketing
    • Efforts to build top-of-funnel awareness of your brand, sometimes in ways that are difficult to quantify – e.g. billboards
  • Brand dev challenges you to think more holistically
    • Where will my company be in 5 or 10 years? 
      • Lets you make smarter marketing and pricing decisions
    • Your company will keep growing. That’s what successful companies do. They don’t stop. – Jason Cohen, MicroConf 2014
  • Brand development simplifies all the “squishy” decisions
    • How do we describe our features? 
    • How do we tell people how awesome our software is? 
    • What should the logo look like? 
  • a consistent experience makes your company feel trustworthy
    • Imagine meeting a person in t-shirt and jeans one day and a tuxedo the next day. Which of the two versions “are” they?
    • It’s confusing, same goes with the brand
    • Brand development lets you outsource work – without worrying about losing consistency
      • How should a page on the website look? 
      • How do we write copy? 
      • What’s our tone when we do customer support? 
  • Brand Development helps your employees, customers, and potential strategic partners (3 target audiences – not just customers!)
  • Slide deck & brand sprint templates:

How to run a Brand Sprint

  • Do it. Takes 3 hours
  • The 6 brand sprint exercises
    • Your company’s motivation
      • 20-year roadmap
      • What, How, Why
    • Your unique details
      • Top 3 values
      • Top 3 audiences
    • Your brand relative to others
      • Personality sliders
      • Competitive landscape
  • Before you sprint, prepare – it makes the actual sprint faster
    • Make sure there are no phones

Step 1: The 20 years roadmap (15 Minutes)

  • Write down your predictions for your company for 5, 10, 15, and 20 years
  • Share with your team members and discuss
    • What do you do after you get acquired (if that is the plan)? 
  • It was great for Benedikt, Jane, and I to learn about each other’s visions
  • If you’re doing it in a group, have a decision maker. At the end of the 15 minutes discussion he/she highlights the most important vision in 5,10,15,20 years
  • Do we want to raise money or not? 
  • Are we going to be part-timers on Userlist forever? 
  • Are we going to grow it to 100+ employees?

Step 2: What, How, Why (30 Minutes)

  • What we do
  • How we do it better than anyone else
  • Why we do it

Step 3: Top Three Values (30 Minutes)

  • Write a list of 5-10 company values, these should help make why (above) more specific
  • Start with a long list, narrow down in first round, then select the Final Top 3
  • e.g. “honesty” will be a great guiding light in dark times

Step 4: Top 3 Audiences  (30 Minutes)

  • Same process as Step 3

Step 5: Personality Sliders (30 Minutes)

  • Pick your stand point on each of these scales
    • Casual – Formal
    • Young – Experienced
    • Modern – Classic
    • Simple – Complex
    • Friend – Authority
    • Quiet – Loud
    • Feminine – Masculine
  • With Benedikt, Jane & I there was a lot of discussion about “Quiet – Loud”

Step 6: Competitive Landscape (30 Minutes) 

  • place competitors on two-dimensional matrix relative to their brand personality:
    • Classic – Modern
    • Expressive – Reserved

Share Button
About Christoph

Christoph lives in Munich, Germany and is bootstrapping his own SaaS application as a part-time entrepreneur.

He likes to write on this blog about anything of relevance to single-founder bootstrapped software startups.


  1. […] Claire Suellentrop: Why even the tiniest companies should think about their “brand” […]

Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.