Start by Working Backwards
When you have an extensive, complicated, or important marketing or branding project ahead of you, getting started and taking that first step can seem daunting. You already see all the unfinished steps you’ll need to do to complete the project and feel defeated even before you start.
It’s kind of like leaving a pile of dirty dishes in your sink. Sure, one or two dishes you can handle. But as more and more dirty dishes pile up, the more overwhelming and less manageable it becomes. And by the end of the week, you’d rather eat off of paper towels than tackle the mountain of dishes.
When a project starts to feel unmanageable, we tend to procrastinate, perhaps deciding that now is actually the perfect time to rewatch The Office for the fourth time. But by avoiding your marketing or branding project, you inevitably turn it into a bigger monster that becomes more and more difficult to face.
So, how do you move past experiencing overwhelm and anxiety over a project?
Shift from panic to clarity. Start at the end.
When a project feels urgent and important, your first instinctual response may be to panic. But when you’re in panic mode, it’s far more difficult to access your creativity or problem solve. Working in a state of panic isn’t great — the work suffers, you suffer, and you may even cause suffering for those around you.
The good news is that shifting from panic to clarity makes the process more enjoyable and less stressful — simply start at the end. This means work backwards from your end goal or vision. When you have a picture of your end goal, you can then begin to break down your monster of a project into smaller, doable tasks.
Just like that pile of dirty dishes in the sink, when you start by washing just one dish and then another, the task doesn’t seem as much of a chore. It’s far easier to meet your project goals and see the order of attack when you check off one task at a time.
“If you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll probably end up somewhere else” – David Campbell
Defining your goals helps find focus
Working backwards also forces you to think critically about your vision and ultimate goals for your marketing project or brand strategy. Starting at the end helps focus your project and gives you guidance on where to put your attention. Then, each task and decision you make throughout the project process will be moving you towards your end vision.
For us, working backwards is an essential part of our process. Our branding process for example, doesn’t just start with sketching a logo for one of our law firm or restaurant clients. First we must understand where they’ve been, where they’re at now, and what their goals are for the future of their brand and business. This phase we like to call, “Brand Discovery.” With your expertise and our innate curiosity, we dig into and define your audience, competitors, and your goals to lay the foundation of the brand development process.
One step at a time
Of course, nothing needs to be set in stone. You can still leave room for creativity and inspiration, but ultimately, you want to know what your end goal is.
- Are you trying to modernize your brand?
- Do you want to rebrand entirely?
- Do you want a logo that breaks tradition?
- Create a marketing project that builds trust in your brand?
Whatever your ultimate vision, clearly understanding your end goals, working backwards, and breaking your project into smaller tasks can help make an overwhelming project a little less daunting!
If you’re still feeling a bit overwhelmed that’s okay! We can help you gain clarity on your brand or marketing project goals and tackle your project together. Schedule a free consult with the BTD Brand team!