Past, Present and Future.


In initial design briefing meetings we always need to know why the company exists. How it started. It’s heritage. It’s founding principles. How it has evolved over time…

It’s important to have the right people in the room at this point. Members of staff from different parts of the business. Elders and young staff members etc.

Past, Present and Future Exercise template. Michael Johnson

Am just reading Michael Johnson’s excellent book ‘Branding in Five and a Half Steps’ packed full of Branding know-how and exercises.

This seems like a really efficient exercise to use when being briefed by a client on a new corporate or brand identity or design project.

We then normally move on by asking basic questions: what do you do? How do you do it? Who do you do it for? How do you do it better than your competitors? Who are you targeting?

But we then need to go deeper to more emotional aspects about the companies values and personality. What do you believe in? What do you value the most? What does your company stand for today?

The key questions, though, are the ones about purpose? Why are you here? What problem do you exist to solve and why will this matter to people, companies (target audiences) in the future? What’s your long term ambition? What are you doing about this now? What will your future success look like? In short, how will your company survive?

When we are designing a corporate or brand identity in particular, it’s really important to know these 3 important moments – the past, the present and the future. This exercise allows us to plot these aspects and see the overall picture very clearly.

We can see the things which are a conflict in the business – does their purpose and ambition reflect what they do and how they do it?

Their ambitions can be very far away from what the business actually does right now – so there will be a lot of work to do. Are there things in their past that can be reinvented now, or in the future? Have they lost their sense of initial purpose and why? Very few companies can answer all 3 temporalities coherently.

Give it a try and let me know how you get on. You can find out more about the book here… https://www.johnsonbanks.co.uk/thoughts/branding-in-five-and-a-half-steps

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