Branding for Startups: The Minimum Viable Brand Concept

Startups typically:

Have smaller budgets
Focus more on R&D for their product than look and feel
Tend to equate “brand” with “aesthetics”

Brand tends to get neglected and is seen as an unaffordable luxury.

Branding for Startups

So how do you commercialize and go to market with a brand that is worthy of your amazing product?

We have all heard of MVP. This is the s*!t without which the product would not fly. It has the minimum amount of features needed to drive adoption.

Enter the minimum viable brand (MVB)

Much like the way you establish the Minimum Viable Product for your app or service, you should do the same for your brand. This is the minimum branding exercise that will drive adoption. It provides the foundation for your brand — your company — to grow into.

Branding for Startups

Achieving MVB

A brand will always evolve, but great brands don’t change fundamentally. So, it’s imperative to get the important stuff right. How? Explore. Ask the right questions.

What is your vision?

You must dig deep to uncover your story and the values at the heart of your brand.

Who are your target audiences?

By understanding their thoughts and behaviour, you can determine how you will connect with them.

What stage are you currently at?

A product audit will provide you with a map of your current activities and what you can do to get ahead of the game

Who is the competition?

A competitive analysis tells you who the key players are and what you’re up against, allowing you to aggregate and apply all the aforementioned information for identifying opportunities. Now, you will be equipped to find a place for yourself in the world and refine those aspects that set you apart.

Define: Brand Positioning

The Brand DNA. The jumping-off point for the way you position everything you do from now on. And yes, everything should grow out of this document. It must be good. It provides the roots for your tree. Here, you will lay the foundation for your vision and promise. Your tone and brand personality will define a unique way of communicating with your audience. This will spark a connection and determine how your customers view you.

MVB will define how to go about creating your visual and verbal identity: the look, feel & voice.


  • Wordmark
  • Symbol (if you want one)
  • Taglines and language
  • A Brand Ecosystem (how all of your elements work together in harmony, to create a consistent experience)
  • Lean guidelines and optimization for all channels of communication

Boom! You are all set to take the market by storm – your product better be worthy of your brand.

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