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The Power of the Mercury Method

Justin Bieganek
Justin Bieganek
Founder & Creative Director
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At Mercury, we help organizations harness the true power of their brand by bringing brand clarity and alignment to the teams we work with. We have a proven process we call The Mercury Method, which is a comprehensive approach that puts strategy first and design second. The Mercury Method helps leaders clarify and communicate the value of their organization so their team, clients, members, prospects, and communities can self-identify that they belong.

We know marketing directors and executive directors can be under-equipped and fatigued as they constantly try to prove how outdated and inconsistent messaging contributes to poor results. Mercury facilitates an inclusive, intentional process for change that allows those involved to influence and inform its direction. Value creation is messy! So we take time and effort with your leadership team to get there.

But we don’t simply create clarity + alignment; we care for and encourage the growth and development of our clients and ourselves. We help businesses and associations define their value, design their brand, and find community to help them be better so we are all better together. We promise to help leaders clarify and communicate the value of their organization so their audiences can truly belong.

Please sit back and watch Cheri and I share our process with you. Each organization is unique and so are the steps we will take with you; but the Mercury Method is the framework that works. Share this process with your team and your board. Then reach out to me to learn more about the Mercury Method and how we could help facilitate an inclusive, intentional process for organizational change.

Key Takeaways:
  • 01:14 – Cheri describes brand strategy in the first phase of our method, Spread Your Wings.
  • 02:33 – Justin explains the design process of the second phase, Take Flight.
  • 04:21 – Cheri and Justin discuss the power of collaboration (1 + 1 = 11).
  • 05:27 – Justin describes the brand launch in the final phase, Soar.
  • 08:20 – They share how Mercury stays on as an accountability partner to ensure future success.
Video Transcript:

Cheri: We call the different phases of the Mercury Method – Spread Your Wings, Take Flight, and Soar. Tell me what goes into Spread Your Wings, that first phase. They knew what they did, but they didn’t know how to describe it consistently for their ideal audience. And coming out on the other side of that was really key. That consistency was key to helping them find that and discover that.

 

Justin: So Spread Your Wings is the key thinking, that’s the time that we ask a lot of questions and just sit back and listen and really dig in deep to understand: what does this organization stand for? Who are they doing what for? What problems are they solving?

And it’s our time together to really help craft their story. They know their story. They just don’t know how to bring it together and package it in a way that’s going to resonate with their ideal buyer or ideal member, for example.

I’m actually going to turn Spread Your Wings back to you a little bit, just to talk about coming in

as a brand strategist. What in this Discovery piece are we doing that’s so important and what are some of the key takeaways that our clients will receive?

 

Cheri: So I have a big part in the Spread Your Wings phase of the Mercury Method, being that it really is the brand strategy. We’re creating that strategy, putting words down on paper to form the brand guide.

So bringing in and defining ideal client, ideal buyer, ideal member, that audience, for some it’s a recruit even, that they’re working to build results for. It includes the value proposition, the manifesto, and then on into the brand character, which can include your brand voice and keywords, and key messages.

That then evolves. What do you get at the end? It’s that piece that you can print out and use for internal onboarding, that you can use to get your internal team on brand and on message. And then it ends with brand expression.

Brand expression is the segue between Spread Your Wings and Take Flight. It’s the piece that is the brand tone, the brand look, the brand feel, that is pulled from the strategy.

And then we’re able to give that and bring on our design team. So into that Take Flight Stage. Your heart and soul came from design, so tell me more about Take Flight. How would you describe it?

 

Justin: Take Flight is where the rubber hits the road. Or, if I was going to be silly, where the rubber hits the runway, right?

So it’s taking that strategy, it’s taking those words, taking the story, taking that essential value and creating a design brief, like – how are we now going to express this brand? How are we going to tell this organization’s story in a visual manner, and in sentences, and in photography and video?

The brand expression Take Flight is identifying: what do we need to create for those core elements? Which is logo, your identity system, still business cards, letterhead, those types of things, everyone, and moving outward to your brand communications.

So website, which is where a lot of people start, like they’re noticing these communications aren’t in sync or consistent anymore. Kind of coming back to that strategy will inform the creative, which will inform the actual right tactics and communications to connect with Carole or Monica or Michael, or whoever it may be.

 

Cheri: And what we found works best is where we bring the design team on board in the Take Flight stage, but the brand strategist and the project director still stay part of that cohesive team as well because there’s a lot of addition that brings that messaging to life, like you said.

 

Justin: Well, there’s so much knowledge that we have in that initial strategy phase that you have to transfer that to the creative team as well. And you can’t just do that in a brief.

There are conversations that happen that, for me, when I’m in the chair on the discovery side, I’m seeing visuals, I’m seeing things happen, so it’s my job to transfer that knowledge to the creative team so they can run with the actual tactics and kind of expand upon that brand guide and the information that we’ve gathered together.

 

Cheri: It also speaks to how we really become part of our client’s team, where we’re bringing our team together and those key people, along with collaborating with the client, to produce something that is the best rebrand, the best comprehensive rebrand for them.

 

Justin: It’s that discussion of – what are you seeing and what are we seeing? And together, there’s just so much more that can happen.

I learned from a consultant early on, 1 + 1 = 11, and that’s always stuck with me. So I can only do so much. But you and I together are much more powerful.

And then you bring in our client, you bring in a larger creative team, you have all this diversity of knowledge and thought and expertise, and it’s amazing what you can put together.

 

Cheri And it works better and it works faster. Absolutely.

So the third phase of the Mercury Method is Soar, and Soar is where strategy and design then become execution and taking those elements and launching the brand or the rebrand.

How do you describe Soar, that phase? What happens there?

 

Justin: Soar is the fun part. This is where you see all of this work come together in a creative expression, in a way that from the very beginning, our clients are seeing – it might be a new logo or a new name or a visual expression of some sort, but now they get to see that all come together, and now they get to use those tools.

So they’ve been part of the process. Now we’re engaging them and being an active role model, in a sense, to use the items that we’ve built and then get out into the marketplace and test it and see what works.

But going back to that launch, the launch is so critical.

We spent all this time thinking about this organization: how are we going to involve and grow that organization? Now we’ve put that story together and visuals. Now we’ve got to get out into the marketplace successfully and in a way that they can manage it. Both on internal resources, financial resources, and timing.

And going back to the team. That’s where we can really come in and help fill in any of those gaps or take the lead on a lot of those elements now. We’re solving their original business challenge and we’re helping them grow and advance their organization.

 

Cheri: It’s one of my favorite parts too, because brand launch is, like Justin said, taking those pieces and getting to bring them to life.

We put together a calendar for our clients that really plots out – what are all the activities that need to be executed to have the most success with brand launch?

We have to go back and communicate internally first. So getting the entire client’s internal team on board and on brand and then – what happens? Who’s that next level? That may be top clients,

that may be joint venture partners, that may be associates that talk about the business.

So we have the internal team talking about the business the same way with consistency. Then we branch out a little further, having all of the associates talk about the business the same way. And then we go out into the world, and then clients or members talking about that organization, and the community.

So having steps for each of those along the way. That is also the best-laid plan for how to launch or relaunch your brand.

 

Justin: And it takes time. You have to onboard and train your executive team, all your employees, board members, those key stakeholders, as you had mentioned, and our job is to equip them with easy tools that they can use in their own way to talk about the organization or connect with their ideal member and buyers and set them up for success easily.

We’re not putting together a huge marketing plan that is, like, outdated and overwhelming by the time it’s done. We’re talking about a couple of pages that are relevant, it’s usable, and it’s going to move that organization.

 

Cheri: And we stay with the client along the way as well. As a brand strategist, this is sometimes my role, of being that accountability partner and taking everyone back to the communications and the words. That strategy that we initially set, even during launch. We call it On-Brand Coaching.

We provide On-Brand Coaching along with the brand launch calendar so those two things keep happening together and we continue to support the client and be part of their team.

 

Justin: And we’re learning. We’re learning with you, because we’re not going to nail everything right out of the gates. Some of those communications are going to work really well. There might be some bumps, but we’re with you closely, so we can quickly adapt and change things, should we need to.

So you’re getting the traction, you’re getting the results that you’re looking to achieve.

 

Cheri: Right. And just being that partner to answer questions, remove obstacles along the way, and keep it moving forward. That accountability partner.

 

Justin: We’ve just shared a lot about our process, the Mercury Method, and we want to get to know you and your organization and how we could bring your brand to life.

 

Cheri: You’re the most important part of our process, and we’d love to collaborate!