Prototype your brand story concepts

Business benefits

Define your go-to-market strategy for each brand story concept to determine which is most viable.

Choose 2-3 brand story outlines that you’ve come up with so far to prototype.

If you only have one story outline, consider going through the ideation stage again to come up with alternative ideas.

Draw your Napkin Pitch model template by making a four-quadrant grid with quadrants labeled Theme, Benefits, Execution, and Business.

You can do this on a whiteboard, piece of paper, actual napkin, or in a spreadsheet.

Napkin Pitch model

Create a new grid from the template for each of your story outlines.

Ask what is the central theme of this story? Add the answer to the Theme quadrant.

Consider how audiences with different lived experiences may interpret the central theme differently. Also consider how audiences you are not targeting but will still see the story will interpret your story.

Ask what are the benefits to the stakeholders and what needs does it cover? Add the answer to the Benefits quadrant.

Think of your brand’s leaders as the audience. Consider:

  • How does it align with company goals?
  • How will we convince leadership that this is a worthy investment?

Ask how can this story be executed? Add the answer to the Execution quadrant.

Answer these supporting questions to answer the main question:

  • What format will the story be in, for example, a 2000-word blog post, a 15-minute documentary film, or a series of Instagram images and captions?
  • Where will the story be published, for example, your website, Twitter, or a third-party publication?
  • How will we promote its content?
  • What is our budget?
  • Who will create the story materials? How? What is the timeline for its creation?

Ask what are the business reasons for telling this story? Add the answer to the Business quadrant.


  • How will this story help us meet business objectives?
  • What KPIs are we aiming for?
  • How does the chosen format and distribution channel match our goals?

Compare and contrast the answers to each napkin pitch for each of your brand story outlines to determine which story prototype is the most viable.

You do not need a definite answer on the best story yet, though you may want to rank your stories’ viability now, based on your answers and assumptions.

2-3. People can read numbers faster than the words.

This could flow better. Like:

Same with the next three steps.

This feels awkward and out of place. Instead, how about working this information into the 2nd step? So we could start the step with, For each story outline, … that way the reader can see that they’ll need to repeat the process for each one.

Just make this a smidge more clear – for each napkin model.

Edits made to address all feedback

1 Like

Thanks @lsmous! I made some minor edits to this one to improve the readability. Have a look by clicking on the orange pencil icon near the top of the playbook.

The edits fall into categories like:

  • Use numerals, not words, for numbers. I know this goes against the training for a lot of blog writers, but we’re focused on letting people read these very quickly, and we read numerals faster than the equivalent words.
  • Eliminating unnecessary repetition.