Skyrocket’s Minimum Viable Brand and the importance of key messages
Whenever our team approaches a brand development project, our goal is to strike a balance between delivering as quickly as possible and digging so deep into discovery that we leave no stone unturned. When we framed our Minimum Viable Brand concept several years ago, our aim was to position clients to compete and to do so quickly with a lean budget. We wanted clients to enter the ring with a strong brand with clear messages, a slick visual identity, a brand toolbox, a landing page, a company deck and guidelines on how to move forward.
Why do we call it Minimum Viable Brand?
A Minimum Viable Product is created with the least effort required to provide value, encourage adoption and test business viability. Minimum Viable Brand applies the same thinking to branding. Brand development is an important and highly valuable process, but it’s typically quite time-consuming and beyond the budgets of fresh, new startups. The Minimum Viable Brand process provides the essentials of what is needed to begin communicating your value and capturing new audiences.
We understand that companies, especially startups, need to maximize their resources. So, we’ve engineered our brand framework to deliver optimal results, quickly. The Minimum Viable Brand gives you everything you need to launch, then iterate and evolve as time goes on.
In just 8-10 weeks, we set companies up for growth with our Minimum Viable Brand which includes:
- Discovery workshop and value proposition canvas
- Brand identity with key messages and visual identity
- Brand toolbox: Ready-to-use digital assets and lean usage guidelines
- Company pitch deck
- Landing page
Key messages help your customers understand why your product matters.
Many startups are still in their own discovery phases — they’re discovering who their customers are and why their customers and users care about their product at all. When you build a product, you begin with an idea of what is most important, then, you test whether or not anyone will buy it.
This is precisely where Minimum Viable Brand or any brand development work that we do comes into play. Our brand development process ensures that your customers, investors, and other external stakeholders are clear on why your product matters before we even touch the visual design. One tool we use in brand development is the Value Proposition Canvas. The Value Proposition Canvas helps us clarify product-market fit by making sure that you’ve positioned your product or service around customer needs and values. Once we’ve identified customer needs and values and how your product fits into their world, we craft key messages which will serve as the foundation for any future content.
Why key messages are important for startups
In our work with Fission, a technology company eliminating the gap between frontend and backend development, key messages became the cornerstone for the brand. Having built a highly-technical product, the Fission team discovered that it was difficult to explain what they do to a broad audience. Taking Fission through the Skyrocket brand framework, we gave them a simpler way to talk about their products that speaks directly to the value they bring to the market.
Having clear messages meant that Fission no longer had to interpret data to decide what was working and what wasn’t in terms of messaging and could now focus energy and resources on growth and improving the product itself. You can read more about our work with Fission here.
For legacy brands, it’s all about evolving messaging
Though when we think of brand development initially, we might think of building a brand for something new, but brand messaging exercises offer significant value to more established companies who’ve been around for some time as well. The truth is audiences and customer values change and brands need to evolve continuously to stay relevant and attractive to customers.
An example of this concept can be examined in our work with a 20-year-old capital investment firm. Advantage Capital, a financial firm providing underserved markets with investment capital, recognized an ever-growing gap between what they were saying and how they were being perceived by their target audience. They were approaching businesses traditionally, as they had been for years, with a sincere desire to help and were surprised when their message wasn’t always received as well as it had been in the past. They suspected that a big chunk of their customers — farmers, small entrepreneurs, family business owners — were skeptical of investment companies, sometimes perceiving them as having sinister intentions, trying to take away their hard-earned equity.
We knew that a brand overhaul would carry the risk of losing the recognition and goodwill that Advantage Capital had acquired over the last two decades. So, what could we change? We took them through our branding framework, completing the Value Proposition Canvas and evaluating key messages. We refined messaging and developed a verbal identity that introduced a softer, more conversational tone to client communications that would be easier for customers to receive and understand.
Repositioning the brand and adapting their tone of voice would shift brand perception and open doors for Advantage Capital. You can read more about our work with Advantage Capital here.
Why hire an agency at all?
Companies work with agencies to develop their brands and key messages because perspective matters. We offer an external and objective perspective that no one inside your company can possibly have. Granted, finding an agency that also grasps the gravity of the problem your product or service solves can be a challenge. Our team finds the most fulfillment in our deep dive brand discoveries — where we’re challenged to understand the world and product that your company has invested so much energy and specialized knowledge into, so that we can distill the core message and leave you with a brand that is empowered. It’s the work we love to do.
If you'd like to see what it'd be like to work with us to develop your brand, reach out to us and start the conversation.