I went to see a play in Hamburg yesterday. It’s called “The Last Hour”. You see a couple on stage, both are dressed as if to read the news or attend a press conference. The only other object on the table is a clock used in chess competitions. Behind the couple is a large video projection of the two faces of this same clock.

The chess clocks are set at 11.30. Each have half an hour to tell the other and the audience the things they never said, things they remember or would just like the other to know before the hour passes. At the end of each person’s half hour, the chess clocks’ red indicator falls. When this happens, that person can no longer speak and has to wait for the other to finish their half hour.

Raw truths are expressed, raw emotions and facts you never shared with anyone before. The relationship edges up to a better, more truthful level. And you wish they didn’t need the last hour to finally reveal things they were ashamed to share with their loved ones throughout their relationship.

Brands should be part of a “Last Hour” exercise

Imagine your brand has only one more hour of life left. Nothing you do will save it. It doesn’t matter why the brand is about to disappear: Competition, comets – whatever. It’s over.

Wouldn’t it be worth your while to get all stakeholders in the same room and to openly discuss things people remember about the brand, what they would have done differently, what was good, what should have changed in time? By having this fictional exercise, people will open up and discuss more freely what should be improved and often isn’t because of internal structures, egos or hierarchies.

The evolving business landscape requires us to work under the “Last Hour” premise

Some call it “Always in beta”, others think we have to innovate constantly, staying agile. Whatever you call it: Brands can be gone within months, killed by more efficient competition, sub-par products, PR mistakes or a changing customer landscape. Not expressing your ideas, sharing your thoughts with all stakeholders, not being able to admit mistakes and move on from them is a recipe for disaster.

There are more innovative ideas waiting to be released from within your team than from outside consultants. Tap into this amazing potential. You never to want to be in the position where the last hour becomes reality.

The “Last Hour” exercise might be just the right recipe to prevent this from happening.