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What is Lean Branding?
The Build-Measure-Learn loop described by Eric Ries in The Lean Startup has made an impact in the way we build and sustain startups. But, after working with over 100 entrepreneurs in the implementation of this model, I realized that those who went on to perform successfully in demo days, investor meetings and client acquisition were those who had managed to build strong brands. These brands generated traction, interest, and positioned themselves more effectively in consumers’ minds. (Let me make a quick point here: brands are not logos. Please stop thinking that, it’ll ruin you.) I saw dozens of startups lose opportunities to others with simpler MVPs (minimum viable products) but a deeper sense of what their brand meant.
Sounds unfair right? It isn’t, and here’s why:
Brand creation should not be a background process in startup development. It’s not voodoo, it doesn’t happen randomly, and it’s definitely not something you put together the night before. Branding is not just about fancy graphics on your landing page. A strong brand, or lack thereof, could make or break you. And that’s why this process deserves a book of its own: Lean Branding— coming in 2014 by O’Reilly Media.
Lean Branding is about building chameleon brands. There's no use in standing still in the marketplace when consumers' ideas of who they are/want/need are changing all over the place. Brands today are much better off listening to these changes and learning from them. Evolving.
Lean Brands have conversations, not monologues. They embrace the fact that their mission is to help consumers get closer to whom they want to be. They're comfortable with the fact that this "whom they want to be" is always evolving. So they evolve too: iterating continuously in endless cycles of building, measuring and learning. Hence the three sections of this book.
What do Lean Brands BUILD? A story, symbols, and a strategy. Our Brand Story allows us to show the world who we are, what we offer, how we’re different and how we promise to help them. Brand Symbols make up our graphic identity and engage others with this Brand Story in visually powerful ways. Finally, our Brand Strategy outlines the way in which we will communicate our Story and Symbols to generate conversion.
What do Lean Brands MEASURE? Resonance, identity and traction. Lean Brands measure whether their story is compelling and relevant, their symbols differentiable and their strategy efficient at converting buyers.
What do Lean Brands LEARN? As we measure resonance, identity and traction, we are able to reposition our stories, redesign our symbols and rechannel our brand communications.
This book proposes a model where you can get involved in creating your Brand Symbols, Story, and Strategy regardless of your professional or academic background. This is brand building for everyone.
Excited? So am I.
About the Author:
Laura Busche combines business, design and psychology thinking to help businesses create brands that engage and sell. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @laurabusche on Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+.