It’s that time of year when many CMOs and their teams are knees-deep in planning and strategy, and searching for help. Finding and hiring the right PR, communications or marketing partner can be challenging, not to mention expensive in terms of time and resources. But let’s be honest. The dreaded RFP, template proposals, wildly off-base recommendations and cumbersome presentations can leave you second-guessing the process. There is another, better way – if you’re willing to get creative: strategy workshops.

Strategy workshops are worthwhile exercises for more than narrowing down your list of potential partners. We’ve found they’re also instrumental in helping teams (yours and ours) dig deep into what your needs really are – and then develop a ready-to-implement, spot-on strategy and tactical approach aligned with meeting them.

Three reasons why strategy workshops work – and their invaluable side-benefit.

Accelerated discovery

Research is essential; it’s the core of every successful strategy. But it’s often done in pieces, over long stretches of time. Swift, immersive discovery – using firsthand (interviews with you and key members of your organization) and secondhand (external analysis of media presence, social channels, competitors, industry, etc.) sources helps paint the bigger picture faster. This step allows assessment of assets, threats and opportunities, as well as deeper understanding of the marketplace, customers (who they are, where they gather and what they need), and current and anticipated roadblocks, including gaps and openings for thought leadership aligned with your business.

Collaborative consultation

In-person collaboration is almost always a pivotal experience for everyone involved. This is where the magic happens. It’s an immersive, working session not only to share findings from the earlier discovery, but to brainstorm together, to feed off one another’s energy and insights. Here is where the teams clarify goals, define and refine “big ideas,” and ensure those big ideas can stand up to (and out from) competitors. It’s also where priorities are determined – business- and communications-wise.

In-person collaboration is almost always a pivotal experience for everyone involved. This is where the magic happens.Click To Tweet

Informed strategy

The physical outcome of the strategy workshop is customized, on-point positioning and messaging and a ready-to-execute program tied to your growth goals. The intangible outcome is knowing whether you’ve found the right partner to put that plan into action.

The process behind a strategy workshop is grounded in partnership; the client gets to know its (potential) partner and vice versa – culture, personalities, working style. That’s the fundamental key to success you won’t find in an RFP.

Think of the strategy workshop as a trial-run for an agency partnership. Low-risk, potentially high-reward. Learn more and give it a try. You have everything to gain.

Strategy Workshops with Stern Strategy Group

Tara’s curiosity and creativity consistently drive clients and colleagues toward their goals in ways never before imagined. Whether she is making powerful connections on the conference circuit or translating narrative into a compelling visual form, Tara is counted on for her sharp ability to make communications concepts come to life. In her role as vice president, she leads our direct engagement competency and guides strategy for visual and graphic projects. Tara’s inquisitive nature extends to her personal life where she is learning to craft leather handbags and building a hockey rink for her children in her backyard.