Building a Minimum Viable Brand

By Katrina Carroll-Foster

Katrina coaches Wavefront’s RevUP companies on how to finesse their marketing strategy. She is the Principal and Founder of Kollectively, and co-founder of RAISE Collective.

When you get down to it, does a brand actually correlate to sales or revenue – especially in the B2B world? The answer is yes.

Branding helps your target audience understand what you’re doing and why they should care about your company and your solution. Without branding, you’re building and iterating without factoring in how users and customers will experience and understand you in the real world.

When thoughtfully built, a purposeful and well-executed brand ensures a cohesive and differentiated image is presented to the market.

For businesses without much of (if any) a proven track record, a good brand can be the difference between “not interested” and “I want to learn more”. Slack’s Stewart Butterfield summed it up this way: “When [a customer] wants something really badly, they will put up with a lot of flaws. But if [they] do not yet know they want something, their tolerance will be much lower. .. Every petty irritation will stop them and give the impression that it is not worth it.”

Growth phase startups have the tricky balancing act of being grounded by a solid brand foundation while at the same time pursuing agility and speed. As such, founders need an alternative to a complete, robust brand platform. Just as start-ups use  the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) concept to test product hypotheses with minimal resources, using a Minimum Viable Brand (MVB) concept can ensure those hypotheses are grounded in strategic intent and customer insights.

The six component parts of your Minimum Viable Brand are all well within the control of a founder, or founding team to develop, evolve, explore and build internally. Your investment is time.

Brand building strategies

 

One of the (many) challenges for early growth companies is there is usually limited budget available to invest in not only building the brand, but bringing the brand to life through execution via marketing. If and when you do engage an agency or contractor to help build (or simply evolve) your brand visually or verbally, having your MVB mapped out will ensure you’re both in control of your brand direction – and that your investment is appropriately spent.

While the execution of a brand may rest with marketing, the brand’s strategy is the responsibility of the executive team. Approaching its development as a Minimum Viable Brand facilitates and expedites its creation.


Need help branding your startup?

If you’re just getting started, check out Wavefront’s Venture Acceleration Program.

Already have a few customers and sales under your belt, but need help to refine your brand strategy? Check out Wavefront’s RevUP Program designed to help startups scale.

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