Past Present Future Brand Exercise

As any good Back To The Future fan knows, the things we do in the past can really jack up our present, our future and – apparently stuff we did back in the old-west times, too? I do admit I sometimes get lost in the timeline in these films. Perhaps it’s because crazy-eyed Doc Brown looks exactly the same age – and exactly like he just stuck his finger in an electrical socket – no matter which time period (or sequel) he’s in.

Past Present Future is a brand exercise we created for small businesses to help them balance out their crazy-eyed Doc Brown future-vision – with a realistic look at where they’re already great. Like Marty McFly (a.k.a. Michael J. Fox), who’s effortless confidence comes from sticking to what he’s good at – playing electric guitar really loud and looking boyishly mischievous in designer denim and puffy vests. Talk about what goes around comes around.

If a small business can find the overlap where big dreams meet proven core strengths – the result is a balance of truth and aspiration. But you don’t need a flux capacitor, just ten minutes, to try this brand exercise for yourself.
Past Present Future Brand Exercise
So Try This:
A. In the PAST column write five most memorable accomplishments or victories.
B. In the FUTURE column write five goals or dreams that would define your future success.
C. Last, in the PRESENT column rewrite just one idea from the PAST and one from the FUTURE that have the most natural overlap between them. Why those two? How can you pull strength from your past and find a way to execute on that single future action?

The thing is, this brand exercise has been equally eye-opening for individuals who still have some proving to do and whose aspirations are frankly a bit overwhelming. We’re talking about creative professionals taking the leap into their own startups or micro-businesses.  And this brand exercise can actually help them gain clarity and courage on what they should act on today – even when their actual “brand” is still a few more milestones away.


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