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Minimum Viable Brand: brand early but brand right!

There was a day…a great idea struck you. Since then the world seems to exclusively spin around it. 

You worked hard: you created a promising business model, founded the core team, built the minimum viable product, showed it to the most dynamic investors and congrats! You got an investment and were too excited thinking your product was so unlike the rest out there that people and clients were just going to start clamouring over it as soon as they knew it…

There you were, facing the Big Day; launching your idea, waiting…and then... Silence, nothing beyond some nice words and a few early adopters.

It doesn’t seem to have the expected attraction; the usual channels - launchpad events, startup expo show, FB campaigns - aren't helping; your audience isn’t growing at the rate you want it to. And you are trying to figure out what went wrong. 

Bad news is: welcome to product overload ! Caught in the rush to get a new product to market, or simply short on cash, you thought you could skip brand development. Good news is you can build the memorable brand you wished without overcomplicated things and we are here to help! 

Minimum Viable Brand (MVB) by La Colmena: 

1. Brand early: you will get a north star.

At La Colmena, we love working with startups. We are sort of one ourselves. We started our agency because we have experienced the limitations of the traditional communication and branding models in a world disrupted by digital. It challenged us to reframe the purpose of branding, communicating and brand innovation itself.

As an entrepreneur and start upper you are already very familiar with the concept of Minimal Viable Product - it is the most basic product that a startup can build to prove out their differentiator. Likewise, since launches should be grounded in a brand foundation while at the same time being pursued with agility and speed, we believe a MVB (Minimum Viable Brand /  https://hbr.org/2014/06/start-ups-need-a-minimum-viable-brand) is essential. It will ensure that your internal team is aligned around the same goals, and will help determine how you plan to differentiate your product and win loyal customers.

2. Brand right : you will build the ground to grow.

The MVB should be guided by the principle that focus is essential for new product viabilityhttps://hbr.org/2014/06/start-ups-need-a-minimum-viable-brand). A brand should be positioned in a specific way to a specific target customer. Some entrepreneurs may fear that focusing their brand appeal will alienate potential customers – especially when market demand is unclear. But it is a bad idea to be everything to everyone. When brands understand who they are and embody a clear identity and unique positioning, they are more likely to attract loyal, high-quality customers. Great brands are clear what they stand for and organise their business around it. For example, Ikea’s value proposition is not about price : it is about creating a better everyday life for the many people. And yes, for doing so, low price is the first driver in product development because "true innovation comes when you design quality furniture that’s affordable by everyone”.

La Colmena’s MVB solutions: focus and stake out whatever your circonstances are. 

La Colmena’s MVB solutions helps entrepreneurs focus on what is most important to them: how they are different from their competition and why customers should care. Our solutions take into account a reality: as far as branding, and business in general, is concerned startups face a specific timing and deal with very specific means but generally speaking, either they have to do it the fast way either they can take a deeper breath. 

The Fast way - Minimum Viable Brand Sprint by La Colmena. 

Target: You! Not kidding :) if you are an early stage unfunded entrepreneur or startup wanting to engage as many people as possible as fast as possible. Or if you represent an accelerator looking for a partner and skills to help your local startups stand out among other. 
How: a two days lean-branding workshop.
What: understanding the difference between your early adopters and beta-users; learning how to use lean branding tools for creating your own MVB and get inspired by successful stories of innovative startups; define your mission, onliness statement, elevator pitch and brand promise to use them on your landing page, social media and other channels; create your company name or test and validating the existing one; create your early adopters persona; create your brand personality (the emotional profile of your brand); define the list of your minimum viable brand touch-points; walk away with actionable ideas for further brand development. 

The Conscious way - Minimum Viable Brand Deep Dive by La Colmena. 

Our MVB Deep Dive runs for roughly 4 weeks in two parts, split by a co-creation workshop in the middle of the process. The first two weeks we work to discover and extract the promise, through a series of researches, exercises, meetings and conversations. The workshop is designed to help you address the hardest decisions that you’ll have to make, so that our experience can facilitate and support confident choices that set the brand up for success. It is a collaborative session where our strategic and creative teams work together with startup leadership to develop the most effective visual and verbal brand. The second part of the process is fine-tuning: we spend the last two weeks refining the direction and giving form to the brand. Final deliverable is a Brand Book summarising the strategic approach, creative direction and brand usage rules.

MVB is the beginning of a memorable brand experience.

While an MVB provides the right combination of structure and flexibility in order of being agile and responsive to get started, it isn’t yet the full expression of what your brand can grow into. The next step is being able to build powerful relationships over time by repeating and fulfilling their promise through product and marketing strategy. Your brand will take time to grow. A good MVB is a ground plenty of possibilities for sustainable growth.