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Building a Brand Book: When, Why, & How

Lesson 6 of 11

Your Brand Book: Story & Content Strategy

Josh Silverman

Building a Brand Book: When, Why, & How

Josh Silverman

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Lesson Info

6. Your Brand Book: Story & Content Strategy


  Class Trailer
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1 Introduction to Workshop Duration:07:56
2 What Makes Up a Brand? Duration:09:39
3 Why Are Brands So Important? Duration:13:06
5 What Makes a Great Brand Duration:07:34
8 No Brand Lives in a Vacuum Duration:34:47
9 Increase Brand Visibility Duration:33:24
11 Have the Right Conversations Duration:28:26

Lesson Info

Your Brand Book: Story & Content Strategy

So we're going to talk about what goes into making a brand book because everyone wants to actually do it. Everyone wants to get it started. The way you start is starting with y so to me, why is why are you doing what you're doing? Why are you building your product or service? Why should I care? What problem is your product or service solving and what need the customer need the human need? What is it that you're addressing with this with this thing you're building? If you don't know what it is sometimes it's easier to define what it isn't so you absolutely must tell us what it isn't who wants to know about it who does it serve? What is the audience segment? What is the user segment? Why should they care? Sometimes they have presuppositions or biases that may be part of what they're thinking about before you even make the thing so you need to understand their needs and their biases and my favorite question how is what you're building going to make the world a better place? Why why does y...

our product or service matter and why will it leave a legacy for us as humans? So if you don't know why you need to figure that out before you do anything before you do any colors or need typefaces, any visuals definitely need to start with the story knowing why means you're going to tell a great story stories are made up of content, stories are content and content means both words and pictures content is how you're going to convey what it is you're doing content is the way you're going to communicate with your users with your audience content is the conversation they're goingto have about your product or service they're going to tell their friends and they told two friends and so on and so on content will drive the decisions you make about whatever visuals you will ultimately select and content dictates the form that you're visuals take whether it's illustrative or photographic, whether it's, scrappy or whether it's really refined. If you don't know any of those, why things then you shouldn't start with. I like that picture. I like that typeface. I want that color, so here to talk with us more about how to make content. Work for your brand is jennifer jeffrey. Please welcome jennifer. Thanks for being here thanks for having me it's my pleasure so what's the difference between content and content strategy well I think it's you know if we think about the difference between you know design and like pictures are images it's sort of that same analogy content strategy is looking at all the decisions that we make about the types of content we want to put out there content itself is just the it's the words it's the message is it's the things that we ultimately end up publishing out there but the strategy is back to josh's great intro it's the why behind it tell us about laura epsom for those of us who don't know more right so why why do you have death to laura moves and death to laura moves up I as josh and I were talking about today we talked about how you know ten or so years ago as somebody working in in copyrighting is kind of where I got started in content strategy and you know, I would just get thes design mock ups with basically containers filled with lauren gypsum and the designer would be like, well, here's this is gonna be our site basically replace those lauren gibson blocks with actual words and that sucked because, uh, you know, you just get a container and you just have to fill it up with what you have but it doesn't necessarily fit the needs of the brand or the needs of the audience and so laura medicine, while it looks so tidy and it makes that that might make that page looks so great, it doesn't actually help us get where we're going. And so we really like to start, if at all possible, without lord mints from it all, but actually creating the real content first, so that the designers have something to actually work with in say, oh, this is what we need to do here, that's what we need to communicate, because that informs everything else that comes after. So laura midsomer can give us a false sense of this is what you know, we just need we just have the small thing to convey, or it just doesn't actually give us any useful information. It's not a story, we want to read it all right? No that's that's, not even well, it is a story, but it's not a story. We want to really care about that. Um, tell me about your own practice, what it is that you do with secret sauce. Oh, gosh, well, I'm when when you called me about being involved today, I was embarrassed because I thought I'm going to be working with this talking with these designers, and my current website is completely broken I'm having it re vent right now, but it's actually improvs in process I promise it's going to be launching next month but I'm like oh no you're gonna go to my site and think I'm a complete disaster so I for over a decade I've worked with companies to help them defined their content strategy and really understand sort of the message is that they want to get out there I worked with a lot of technology companies I work with on profits I work with some food companies so quite a broad range I just love teo to really dig in um and understand why people started the business that they started who they really care about what they're passionate about and working with designers is one of my favorite things I feel like if that collaboration can start really early in the process the outcome is so much better vs sort of treating it like oh this is my side of the room and this is yours I think if we jump into the sandbox together really early better things come out the other side here here let's let's look at more of that there you go okay so so I wanted to start with just a simple definition of content strategy um and I'm showing a quote here by margot bloom stein who actually is the person that introduced josh nice I thought it'd be appropriate teo to show a quote from her margo has written about called content strategy at work which is a wonderful resource if you're interested in learning more about content strategy and her definition is the content strategy is planning for the creation aggregation, delivery and governance of useful years of all an appropriate content within an experience that's a mouthful there's lot packed into that sentence I'm and so if we sort of think well okay so that sounds like kind of like a lot so what is the content strategist really d'oh and I sort of there's a whole laundry list of things that contents try to just do I thought I would share just sort of a few things to let you know kind of things that we might do on a daily basis so content auditing content modeling competitive analysis information architecture er message architecture er voice and tone guidelines, editorial guidelines even editorial calendars helping to set up a cadence for when content is published but keeping in the spirit of what josh is here today to talk about with standards I think rather than sort of focusing on those sort of day to day things let's let's talk about that bigger picture that step back because it's not so much once we're down in the weeds with the content that that it really gets interesting it's early on when we're starting starting to think about again back to that why why should anybody care? Because content strategy is no more about wrestling you know with taxonomy then design is about, you know, finding the right image right if that's just such a simplistic view of it behind any solid content strategy is a very deep understanding of the brand and you know what it is what it's not who it serves and why anyone should care and as you can imagine it really it really has a lot to do with those messy human bits because when it comes down to asking those fundamental questions you khun start to really quickly get into politics like well somebody says the brand is this and someone else says it's that and somebody thinks the audiences is this in somebody else thinks it's that so right away in content strategy we start to really start to see sometimes conflicts issues that might be eventually going to bubble up down the road that'll cause cause interesting things to happen in the design process so we try to start to have those conversations from day one and start to really listen for maybe what's not being said I'm and so as we think about that you know how to sort of practically put the the why before the weapon that how I like to do this fundamental work with bringing teams together from the beginning way before we start in with any of that laundry list stuff and start to think about the standards for content strategy so much like, you know, much like thinking about putting together a brand book with design elements I think that there's an analogous piece on the content side. And I call that the messaging playbook in my work. That's, what I call it and a messaging playbook is a set of core messages. They can be used across channels. It guides all subsequent content development, and it is too content strategy. What a style guide is to design. So I'd like to show you the framework that I use for that. It is a set of things that I put into this messaging playbook that sort of again guide the content going forward and the first set of things that's what I call the four piece the position so where the brand plays in the market what category where is that sort of slice that that brand is competing in? What is the purpose so this section typically fold in mission and vision what is the promise? So what is the promise either implied or explicit that the brand makes to the people that it serves and finally what are the principles that it that it wants to use to guide its content development? What are those things that set it apart? Those characteristics those principles that it uses as it goes out on dh interacts with the bigger world and finally I like to talk in that that messaging playbook about idea of identifying those primary audiences and the value propositions that we're going to take to market and that circle that you see kind of around it is sort of this story layer the context so we have all these pieces and parts that air fitting in but what's the context we operated why now why it is you know why are we offering this product the service this project right now? So these are the pieces that go into the messaging play books that I worked to create with with clients and sometimes if if they don't have a brand book yet we actually full the messaging playbook into the brand books so we have you know half is all designed pieces and then half its content pieces that's really nice some people already have a brand book in progress so that's two separate two separate things but in any case I feel like they're just they just go hand in hand because just like you want to say you know what does what is her color palette say about us what our fought choices say about us you also want tohave it immediately understand the whole setting for for why that exists so again possession purpose promised so important in that set of standards any questions before I I find that you get pushback from clients when you start teo introduce kind of this whole process because I think two people who aren't in this field it feels like well why are we doing all this are you just trying to get more money out of me so I mean I had that experience with clients it's always a really tense conversation I I'll tell you I've become such a passionate advocate over the years for this and I just go to bat for it because early on I would be like well I think we should do this thing and you know it's have had good results with it and whatever and yeah you're right I'm absolutely gotten pushed back and they're like you know what would rather just let's just start writing let's just start creating copy and now I've come up with a couple of great stories that I'm able to go look here's why we're going to make a mistake if we just start writing where we're gonna we're not gonna have that sort of guiding set of principles that we go back tio we're going to get off track it's it's we're probably going to end up budgets khun go over we might have to redo work it's so important for us to set up this set of standards at the beginning um so I just I've I've developed quite a quite a pitch I'm quite the evangelist for it now but is there push back yeah and I guess everyone you just sort of develop your own style of how you sell it and case studies right being able to say here's how it worked for this company and and it helps a lot I just think it's so refreshing to hear this because I think a truce I'd like the companies have worked for in the past if when you ask somebody what the content strategy is like, we're putting so much great content out there but what's the strategy because if we're not having the team's kind of march two one mission then it's just a lot of beautiful noise and the market pants but it's not really laddering up to any kind of objective that we can actually track and measure and figure out if it's working for the brand so I think it's it's really kind of refreshing to see starting at that point yeah yeah it's really helpful questions coming in from our online audience as well jennifer's this one comes from the tony bliss and he says a question he's again a solo entrepreneur and he wants to know if you could talk a little about how to create a story without a team like does something like this messaging framework work if it's just one person absolutely I actually do this for myself every year so I take myself through this exercise to try toe teo asked myself like you know where my competing in the market what's the purpose what am I doing this for um I think it can be an incredibly valuable exercise for one person to people even it doesn't you don't have to be some big mega brand to have this be successful because I'm having this stuff sort of making a stake in the ground even if you start to shift it can just be so helpful because then you then it helps you to say well why am I doing this and why am I doing that? You keep going back to it and it helps really guide what you d'oh and on that same token we have a question from a woman who wants to know a little bit more about and you may be getting to this but how do you test some of this out like just knowing what is working what's not working is it seems like a lot of the people in the chat here they're just not sure of what's working what's not and it could be overwhelming trying to figure out what's good and what's bad what I do in the process of the messaging playbook is it's very interrogative there are usually three to four rounds where um I spent a couple of days workshopping this with with the team on dh then we start tio we start to mock up thie each one of these pieces so we draft statements for our position we drop statements for our purpose, our promise and so on and then what we do is we actually we talked about it frequently with we get some customers on the phone or we bring him in we showed this to some advisers for some board members and we really we started road test it and sometimes they'll push back and go yeah that doesn't seem true I don't think you guys really do that or that feels really arrogant or brag you do mean to have that tone or or sometimes the reverse you guys are selling yourself hard enough this is really under positioning what you d'oh and so having that having that feedback is really, really important and I just I think it's really important to get out of the bubble during this process so I always at the beginning go we need to have a little sounding borders were working on this who can we throw this in front of as we're working on it so that could help a lot it's not it's not a sort of specific kind of market test but it it does really really help frequently to refine it and make it better all right, I think we're good no question go ahead yeah um do you ever find yourself I've never had to do this but I think if I were teo I would probably start at the bottom and come with maybe one or two value propositions that seemed perfect and then sort of way career backwards like how does that like how does that voice my position and purpose really it depends so much on the client and then maturity of the product or the idea or the project if they haven't yet maybe launched then really getting into value props first can be a little tricky because they're not quite sure yet so we start from the top I'm yeah I don't necessarily go in exact order like it really really depends on again the situation how much? How much sort of involvement they have with customers on a day to day level what people are saying back to them and what I think is really important is that in these groups when we workshop this that it's not just marketing people in the room, I think it's, so important to get customer service people, that air hearing act from actual customers. Getting complaints, sales, folks, operations, folks. So that we're hearing a broad view of what the company's about and what the brand is truly about. Because that's, where those really interesting discussions happen, and sometimes some arguments. But it's in that that we really start to settle around what it is. And it's, not just marketing people that are just kind of throwing around the fancy words. So it would take quite a while for me to go through the whole messaging playbook on dh in the interest of time rather than doing that I just wanted to show you to take the one piece called guiding principles and show you how kind of you trickles down through a couple of case studies and how how that effects design so let's look at anita borg institute need a borg institute is a large nonprofit located in palo alto there they work tio they work to celebrate recognizing champion women technologists they also work with organizations that value diversity so I've been working with them for a while around really starting to you know, honing their message and really understanding how tio convey the specialness of what they d'oh um the guiding principles that we landed on for anita borg our connection, inspiration and guidance so again thinking about those two audiences of women technologists and organizations they really wanted to focus on connecting people inspiring and guiding, helping people to understand kind of where they can make a difference at different points. So every digital project for a b I therefore attempts to create interfaces that support connection interaction so that connection is always ah high priority visuals, images and content that inspires and a sense of guidance along the way so always helping people to understand what to do next it's really, really important. And so as we think about sort of how these principles interact or help with design. I'm thinking about that connection. Peace. Because we want to connect people. We'll develop spaces that promote conversations and community, our language of lee inclusive, and speak to a diverse global audience. So we've just been working on a new community site for a b it's called fbi dot local, and it it connects women all around the globe in online and offline communities so that they can meet with women in the area near them. And these three things were just so important in the project. Thinking about how can we make design choices that connect people, inspire and guide? The inspiration piece really, really plays big in design in that we decided, for instance, we weren't going to use any stock photography at all. We wanted to show pictures of rhea women we wanted teo use big, vivid images that draw the eye in you notice that the color palette is extremely warm and it's it's a very diverse palate, um, and that the layouts would be designed to be accessible, informative, so thinking about those at every level, those principles really to help not only with content, but with design, and that notion of guidance helped to guide the decision to create an app fbi puts on a huge conference every year called grace hopper celebration of women in computing was in houston actually, uh, just this month had eleven thousand women there, and he created an app to help guy that whole experience and so that women could just just from the ap, be ableto figure out which session to go to next, be able to connect with other people just directly from the ap. Get a message boards, find out what people are saying great things, etcetera so that's just a tiny peek into how those three principles really help to guide the decisions we make with a b I and that's again a very high level because we don't have a lot of time but if we think those those content strategy principles do end up permeating every every decision it everything that we dost aly and especially digitally question question yeah I'm going back to the guiding principles how many guiding principles are enough and how many or too many cannot confuse the message out in the marketplace because I've seen cos I've worked for they've had eight they've had three they've had five how do you know when it's just right so I make my clients choose between three of three two five five is the max because I feel like um more than that usually says that we have a problem of narrowing things down and making priorities and it usually speaks to the fact that people either don't want to give in or there's a problem with sort of overly conceding to the broader group and that causes issues and so kind of forcing that narrowing is really good because it makes people go it forces those hard conversations of course everybody wants eight everybody wants ten because we want to do everything but if we actually the conversations that what a less from a two six to five two sometimes three are awesome and they really helped to say this is what we really care about we keep going back to we'll remember you know our purposes this our promises this and that really helps us to go okay for you to stick with ease. The brand it's, just really important, because I saw this video the other day of larry ellison speaking. And he said, oracle focuses on. And then he listed eight things, like nine thing. And I was a cortical focuses on eight or nine things, like I can't even remember the first two or three things, he said. But I believe that with his list. So I think in both design and content, knowing what you're not going to do is every bit as important or more so than what you are going to dio. Because you only have so much time in so many resource is, and you have to narrow if you want to make an impact, right? Question came in the chat room, and a few people wanted to know the answer this but the question is about emotion and ominous says how does jennifer bake emotion into the framework that she presented? What I'm learning from this course and from my own experience is that emotion is really the foundation of powerful brands. Does jennifer have any tips on baking emotion into the core of your framework? Wow, that's a great question baking emotion, you know, I think that, you know, having that second half of that framework would be all about audience really makes us continually go back and ask, what do they care about what matters to them? So I think I think I would say that that is is a really important thing. Another thing that I often say with clients is that, you know, we're trying teo appeal tio the visual senses we're trying to appeal to the head, but we're also trying to appeal to the heart and that that is also so key. Um, but do I have a do I have an exact formula for baking emotion in? I wouldn't say so, but I love that question, and I want to do some thinking about that that's great. So, let's, look at one more case study before I wrap up. This is space, hopefully familiar to a lot of you here, mo. Add museum of the african diaspora, located downtown, across around the corner from sfmoma. And last year I was I did the content strategy for a whole relaunch of moe, and they had a really old website. They were getting ready to reopen the museum with a whole new design. And so I worked really closely with the agency that did the redesign on starting out with setting up this messaging framework and setting up a content strategy and the guiding principles that we settled on here, where that mo had wanted to be provocative, cosmopolitan and socially conscious. So those three principles were really key to everything that we did in that in that work. And the way that those principles helped guide that guide the design are for the provocative piece they had a previous palette that felt very sort of conservative it's sort of huge very traditional sort of african colors and they decided they want to break out of that box and really take a fresh look at color and do some things that were unexpected and that word provocative really I think guided a lot of thie conversations that we had because they were like we don't want this to feel expected and so they're using big, bold gorgeous images of the art rather than really small thumbnails that they were using before so when you go to the site or you go to the ap or some of the other things we've built it's just I mean the artist just right there in your face and it's it's excited it's really engaging and you know they wanted to create that sense of dialog with the audience so that was that was really exciting um the cosmopolitan piece was important because they didn't want to be pigeonholed as this small museum in san francisco they wanted teo really have a feeling that it was bigger than that they received they were receiving a lot of web site traffic from around the world and they wanted to really be conscious of being able to reach those audiences that maybe weren't ever going to be able to come to san francisco, so we wanted teo build in lots of resource is to what we what we created for people that so that they could have a great experience even if they didn't get to visit and using language and navigation that was accessible to people globally so that was another piece that was really important so there's a lot of content on the site this this piece of the site is called the wells fargo heritage center and formerly it was just some content that was locked into some very, very old pcs in a dusty little corner of the museum that like four people looked at in a year I'm exaggerating but so we we pulled all of that content and made it digital I'm quite a holy set of visual resource is it was it was really exciting to be able to to take that out of this dusty room and actually bring it to a bigger audience um and finally that socially conscious piece was really really important again they wanted teo not just be a historical archive of art and things that have happened in the past but also to bring their mission to the world today and so they have a whole piece about telling rials stories of african americans in their own words and preserving the art of of oral storytelling so there's a whole a whole section on the site where they have stories it's called I've known rivers and it's actually beautiful audio interviews with photographs of people this particular chapter was the baby project but there's other chapters too so again high level I could talk about it all day but those three principles of being provocative, cosmopolitan and socially conscious guided design and content from the very beginning and helped us to make those decisions narrow down what we did and stay on point throughout so all clothes with just some you know what I've been saying the whole time through, which is that content, strategy and design are better when they go together and when it's not sort of seeing them as two separate entities that play in separate separate spaces it creates alignment from the very beginning when when we become best friends it supports a consistent experience that reinforces the brand so that as people are having an experience there they're like oh, they actually actually know what they're doing they know who they are and it guides decisions it helps us stay within a budget, stay on schedule and definitely helps to reduce or eliminate start over situations. So that's one of the things that I in terms of selling it that's what I talk about a lot and again having those standards both from sort of the brand book perspective and the messaging playbook really does does create that north star that you keep coming back to you throughout and just without it things can get so easily off track so finally, one last quote from margo. She she had a quote to start, so she'll have a quote to end. Content. Strategy creates harmony, not cacophony, across channels and that's. My pitch for content strategy. Thank you for having me. All right, josh, come right back. Thanks, tash. Yeah, I really appreciate what what you said about. Content and strategy driving design decisions and I'm really happy that we had those really clear case studies about the words you chose and how those actually helped inform the design decisions it's really clear those those case studies have you ever had a talking about the quality moment earlier have you ever had a client situation where people just like argue about the interpretation of the word and then who makes final call on that so there are some there are some issues that are beyond my control I think as as consultants probably you guys feel this way too but sometimes you feel like you're more of a therapist then a service provider was going to say you're a politician on your output is content yes yes I mean I feel like it's really important for me to t b the to facilitate those conversations and two when I do hear that disconnect between people think it's different things toe not two not mute that but actually raise it so that we have that argument or that dialogue or that we hash it out and I feel like I don't want to shy away from those those difficult conversations and go well you know let's let's let's ballot out let's figure it out and hopefully the end there's some good resolution around you know okay we're swaying towards this or swaying towards that but sometimes that doesn't happen and you know that's on them and you know, I guess if they can't resolve that, and that continues to be a thorn that causes issues. Sometimes, that's, a bigger problem than a consultant can really fix their lattes. Because there's. Lots of problems that content, strategy and design can solve. That gets back to that messy human part, you know. You like the content strategy really make sense what comes to services organizations but when it comes to creating a brand around a product how do you create that story when it's sort of one item in enough itself does it isn't additive to do that yeah I think well I think that the same principle still apply because you know what was the purpose that the product was created for what's the promise that that product sort of implicitly makes to the customer I feel like again 00:34:08.934 --> 00:34:12. having those things sort of documented that we can 00:34:12.9 --> 00:34:16. go back to make making sure that our sometimes their 00:34:16.14 --> 00:34:18. hypotheses right what we hope the product does in 00:34:18.44 --> 00:34:20. the world sometimes when it gets out in the world 00:34:20.45 --> 00:34:22. we find that people do different things with it so 00:34:22.85 --> 00:34:25. we can come back and update that but at least having 00:34:25.47 --> 00:34:29. some framework for for for what we think it's going 00:34:29.9 --> 00:34:32. to do I think is yeah very very important 00:34:33.56 --> 00:34:35. are you talking about like a physical product or a 00:34:35.35 --> 00:34:38. web product I feel like coca cola I guess would be 00:34:38.81 --> 00:34:41. a good example they sell you know fizzy beverage and 00:34:41.77 --> 00:34:45. they've created a hole sort of world around that fizzy 00:34:45.08 --> 00:34:48. beverage but like when you create a product how do 00:34:48.11 --> 00:34:50. you create that world's well I guess it it starts 00:34:50.39 --> 00:34:53. with identifying with those words are yeah which is 00:34:53.6 --> 00:34:57. tricky when it comes to a product it iss I work with 00:34:57.29 --> 00:35:02. them with spec they make phone cases and other accessories 00:35:02.52 --> 00:35:05. and we talk a lot about that like what are those? 00:35:05.9 --> 00:35:08. What are those key things that helped because there's 00:35:08.42 --> 00:35:10. lots of cases in the world there's lots of fizzy beverages 00:35:11.46 --> 00:35:14. and being able to identify those things that we believe 00:35:14.58 --> 00:35:18. really set this product apart and that that we really 00:35:18.43 --> 00:35:21. want to resonate with our with our audiences is so 00:35:21.6 --> 00:35:24. important and something that helps to teo to guide 00:35:24.91 --> 00:35:28. you know, colors and finishes and you know, maybe 00:35:28.72 --> 00:35:31. artist collaboration is that we won't do versus those 00:35:31.05 --> 00:35:33. that we will sow and sometimes the product itself 00:35:33.66 --> 00:35:37. you know like what was that that bomb was at new coke 00:35:37.17 --> 00:35:40. or something that like totally held many years ago 00:35:40.33 --> 00:35:42. that's that's a really great example of a customer 00:35:42.38 --> 00:35:46. feedback loop that changed how the brand makes or 00:35:46.97 --> 00:35:48. doesn't make their product 00:35:49.26 --> 00:35:49. no 00:35:50.92 --> 00:35:53. oh questions questions all around 00:35:55.14 --> 00:35:56. well I was just going to kind of bring it to you that 00:35:56.86 --> 00:36:00. sometimes content is the product like with the museum 00:36:00.06 --> 00:36:02. yeah on dh so I would just think it's really important 00:36:02.94 --> 00:36:06. to that when you have a new instance where the product 00:36:06.1 --> 00:36:08. is content I don't have that kind of gets the note 00:36:08.92 --> 00:36:09. of your question 00:36:10.88 --> 00:36:12. to make sure that not only the content that you're 00:36:12.94 --> 00:36:14. selling but that the content you're using to promote the content all has to drive us well I actually have a back like sounding like such a weird person with all these different things that I do but I have a master's in museums so it's close to my heart and and I'm just thinking about you saying you know over community minded and we're cosmopolitan with some but I'm like I wonder what happens in like it's the curator sze yu don't how important that brian is and stuff that's a good point so and and they were part of that work that foundational work and so you know they bought into that so that was great if they hadn't been in the room it would have been a problem for sure I have one question but I want to hear jake's too yeah I was gonna ask how you impart like tone in terms of messages and content strategy and like for example with the dear san francisco as that airbnb just like there had to be a content strategy out there that head tone involved and how did they like not like I'm always surprised actually been surprised over and over again at when I when I go in tour with companies how few of them actually have those identified I'm continually presently come on it's got to be somewhere and some of them dio and dusty pc somewhere exactly but some of them don't and I think or you have sort of rogue groups that go off and think of this will be funny and you know they do something like that it's hard to imagine how that escaped all the filters, though, that was that was a pretty big miss. Yeah, how long should a good content strategy last? Like, what is it case so three years doesn't depend on the company it does. I think with startups there's so much, so much shift so fast that the messaging playbook, you know, gets updated quite a bit more often than a more established brand. But I think, you know, I think we should look at it at least every year, sometimes sooner, sometimes on a, you know, twice yearly basis. Sometimes the tweaks might be small, but even just like practice of going back to it and saying is this still true is a structure, even if it's all check marks it's just good, just teo, just have that little review built in to make sure that we're remembering what were what were doing, especially if you have. If you have traction on your product or service. It's probably more difficult to do with the first time than to go back and say, okay, now that we have traction, users experiences feedback. Sales like lots of other proof of a business existing to go back I mean I'm thinking about in terms of business sense but like to go back and then say okay do we want to integrate new stuff should we drop one off yeah five because typically not a wholesale change like you said it's like you go back and you go you know this one doesn't feel quite right yet or or the feedback we've gotten is that this you know like let's just say provocative isn't working for us we need to modify that we need to refine that so it's not like you go back on the whole cell redo everything it's more of a yeah it's a refinement it's an evolution thank you so much for being here I really appreciate it my pleasure it was great before you go just remind us jennifer where people can find you online to get more yes my broken website yes it's secret sauce agency dot com the secret sauce is because a long time ago kind of the start of my journey I moved to the bay area at this sort of right before the end of the dot com boom and I was involved in a couple of startups and during the raising money phase I we would sit in these vc offices and we would give up give our pitch and and then the vc would always go. Okay. This interesting idea so what's your secret sauce and that really, you know that that question really stayed with me, and I would go back and look okay, what is it? Is it you know, is that the team? Is that the code? Is it that, whatever, and and and so when I when I decided tio kind of go from just using my own name to actually using a business name, I kind of went back to that and thought, you know, that secret sauce or something really there's, something special about that, that special, something that sets a company or idea brand apart. And so part of what I do is really helping people identify what there is, is so your secret sauce? Is everyone else's, something like that? Yes, thank you. All right.

Class Description

The brand guide is the roadmap for employees and ensures consistency across the company. Josh will help you create a brand book that is comprehensive, actionable, and easy to use in Building a Brand Book: When, Why, & How. 

Josh is a veteran branding professional and in this class he’ll show how to create complete brand guidelines and adhere to them. 

You’ll learn: 

  • What a brand guide is and how to use it 
  • Components of a brand guide and how to create your own 
  • How large and small businesses apply brand guidelines 

Whether you are a designer working with clients, a solopreneur, a small business owner, or working on branding in-house, Building a Brand Book: When, Why, & How with Josh Silverman will help you develop a better understanding of branding and how to develop guidelines everyone can use.


Yi Ji

WOW, really worth the money, information is real, up to date, the quality of audient also good, they ask really real question, not those kind of 'performance' course. Thanks!


This class has potential, but misses the mark for me. The first thing that I noticed was the fact that the video and the sound do not sync with each other. It feels like you are watching a foreign move with English dubbed over the lip movements of another language. It is often hard to hear the audience questions as they do not hand around the usual 'creative live wireless audience microphone' and I think that was a mistake. The topic is a good one and the speaker is appears to understand his craft but a lot of the 'talk' in the first few videos could be removed by a clear definition of terms in the very very beginning of the class. If feels like it is flowing on an off the cuff manner and is lacking the structure that Creative Live known for. Instead of spending so much time asking the students about their understanding of what brand identity is and way to many quotes... I would like to see some practical how to advice early on in the class. I would love to see more classes covering this topic from people like Sean Adams or Alina Wheeler :) I am sure this class will get better the further I get into it and I normally do not write a review before I have listened to the entire class. Also I purchased it at a deeply discounted rate so even with those issues factored it is is still work what I payed for it. :)


Absolutely relevant and interesting content, made through example classes. The way the material is exposed is very good. One single critic, since the headline is really precise on the topic I expected more on the "how" but the course doesn't really teach a "system" to create a brandbook, like choosing wich documents are to be included and how to make and expose them depending with the client needs. The course is all about the why explained through case studies, which is good but partly neglect the headline promise. Anyway this is still an excellent course but I thought it would be useful to point out this aspect.