Lean Branding: Positioning your early-stage company for success - MaRS Best Practices


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Mary Jane Braide will highlight branding essentials for start-ups and social enterprises in the early stages of development. It’s never too soon to establish a clear value proposition and your positioning—even if it feels like everything is in a state of flux!

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  • Goal was not to take a snapshot of your current stateWe were asked to explore perceptions, drivers and influencers associated with your key stakeholders
  • Lean Branding: Positioning your early-stage company for success - MaRS Best Practices

    1. 1. Successful Branding: Connect with Your AudienceMary Jane Braide & Brenda van GinkelOctober 17, 2011
    2. 2. MaRS Best PracticesLean Branding forStart-UpsOctober 17, 2011
    3. 3. …start thinking about brand strategy sooner…practical tools to build the brand as you evolve 3
    4. 4. A bit about me1. First career: Organizational change management, time based competition, lean manufacturing2. Second career: Corporate brand strategy3. Fun: Volunteer MaRS brand advisor 4
    5. 5. BRAND IS BRAND IS NOT AdvertisingValue - as seen byothers - that comes Print materialsfrom promising and Logosdelivering Sloganssomething relevant Websitesand different. Direct mail campaigns PR 5
    6. 6. 6
    7. 7. How do we brand a moving object?Will we over-promise?What is the right level of investment?Do we brand to the investor or the customer? 7
    8. 8. I don’t really have time for this right now…..RESEARCH METHODOLOGY 8
    9. 9. GEEK? OR MARKETER? 9
    10. 10. “A strong brand is the customer’s shorthand for making good choices in a complex, risky and confusing marketplace.” Kevin Randall, Director of Brand Strategy & Research at Moveo Integrated Branding 10
    11. 11. Brand matters to investors...“Compared to scale, proprietary technology and monopolies, brand is an equally powerful, leveragable and more sustainable advantage.”.” Credit Suisse 11
    12. 12. Brand matters in your category “Industries that show high-potential for brands include those where trust is a growing purchase criteria, either because of lack of product track- record, proliferation of unknown competitors or risk to health or safety.” The Power of Brand Investing, Credit Suisse, Research Institute, February 2010 12
    13. 13. 67% cumulative outperformanceBrand index versus S&P 1500Source: Credit SuisseThe Power of Brand Investing, Credit Suisse, Research Institute, February 2010 13
    14. 14. Brand matters to employees 14
    15. 15. Brand matters for start-ups Low Speed of switching viral cost Clutter Low barriers to App-brain entry WHY YOU? 15
    16. 16. 16
    17. 17. At what point in the process should a start-upthink about brand? 17
    18. 18. NOW!…if not sooner 18
    19. 19. But how?• The business model is unfinished• The product is changing• We have 200 feature requests• We don’t know how we will go to market• Regulators are stalling us• We’re not fully funded Get used to it. 19
    20. 20. 20
    21. 21. Lean Lean Start- Brand BrandingLean Up Strategy for Start- ups 21
    22. 22. Lean management principles Know Perfect customer over time value Create Customer value flow stream Maximize flow 22
    23. 23. The Lean Start-Up: you are a learning machine Vision Define Learn Experiment Steer Leap Test Measure Pivot or preserve Accelerate Batch Grow Adapt Innovate 23
    24. 24. Brand strategy principles• Be relevant – you’re only as valuable as your markets think you are• Be different – but only different where it matters• Always deliver – good to have a dream, but not likely to get there overnight• Have a story - connect your big idea to hearts and minds 24
    25. 25. Lean Lean Start- Brand BrandingLean Up Strategy for Start- ups 25
    26. 26. Lean branding for start-ups Know your big idea BUT Only build the minimum viable brand 26
    27. 27. Your big ideaWhat’s your hypothesis about the difference you will make?What was the source of that insight? Examine it in depth.Have you tested it? Did you really listen to what you heard?Can you boil it down to one core promise? 27
    28. 28. 28
    29. 29. 29
    30. 30. Minimum viable brand Promise Story Name, look Values and feel 30
    31. 31. Standard brand framework 1 Vision Mission Values 2 Positioning Promise 3 Name Tagline 4 Personality Visual Identity Brand Architecture 5 Story Audience Messaging 31
    32. 32. Promise ValuesName, look and feel 32
    33. 33. PROMISE[What will you allow me to do]This is not a promise of what YOU will do. It’s apromise of what the customer can do with youin their life. 33
    34. 34. EVERNOTE. Remember everything 34
    35. 35. WIND. Conversations matter 35
    36. 36. Promise Story Name, lookValues and feel 36
    37. 37. A story has a beginning, a middle and an end.It begins with a powerful anecdote, explains why it matters and then pays off with a solution.
    38. 38. Micra Electronic Transaction Solutions is a proprietary, integrated transaction deliveryThis is platform targeted to small and medium sized businesses and individuals not previously able to conduct micro transactions using card technology.not a Working off a BlaBla network with a Yadda Yadda micron Bit Bibbildie Boo Bob, the METS system could enable up to 40 million transactions per year in the $2 billion dollarstory micro transaction market. Our first wave of financing supported a six- member development team and one general manager. Our next phase requires new financing to cover a sales team dedicated to working with VISA in Asia. 38
    39. 39. The one area the credit card companies haveThis is not been able to penetrate is the micro transaction space for small business. We figure they’re leaving about $2 billion a year a on the table. Micra is an IP protected app and hardware combination that covers transaction support for SMEs and individuals to collect payment on any credit card on any web-enabledstory device. We’ve got 2 VISA trials now which are giving us the revenue to cover development. We’re now into a second funding round to build the team we need to take Micro to AMEX in Asia. 39
    40. 40. POSITIONING[Audience, need, benefit, proof.] For...(audience definition) ...Who need (pain point or need) ...Company or product X delivers (offer and benefit) ...Which only we can promise because (main proof points) 40
    41. 41. POSITIONING: For example[Audience, need, benefit, proof.] For cost-conscious, tech-able homeowners... ...Who want to manage their growing energy costs ...Company X delivers online energy management and time of use tools that allow 24/7 remote and onsite energy optimization ...Which only we can promise because of our proprietary bridge between homeowners and utilities, our multi-platform facility and our smart, learning systems. 41
    42. 42. Promise Story Name, lookValues and feel 42
    43. 43. GOOGLE: Ten Things 1. Focus on the user and all else will follow. 2. It’s best to do one thing really, really well. 3. Fast is better than slow. 4. Democracy on the web works. 5. You don’t need to be at your desk to need an answer. 6. You can make money without doing evil. 7. There’s always more information out there. 8. The need for information crosses all borders. 9. You can be serious without a suit. 10. Great just isn’t good enough. 43
    44. 44. My start-up values I believe in……………. I care about………………. I think these things lead to successful choices…………….. I don’t want us ever to……………………. I’m doing this because I…………………….. I stand for…………….. 44
    45. 45. Promise Story Name, lookValues and feel 45
    46. 46. SQUARE. Accept payments. Everywhere. 46
    47. 47. 47
    48. 48. InMotive – a brand pivot at the right time 48
    49. 49. VISUAL IDENTITY: tips• Pay for good talent• Don’t ask for spec work• Provide a design brief• Insist on being involved in concept and mood exploration• Get 2-3 logo options• Trust the talent you hire 49
    50. 50. 50
    51. 51. Got questions?Mary Jane BraideMaRS Volunteer Advisor, Brand Strategywww.mjbraide.commj@mjbraide.com647 407 5059@mjbraide 52
    52. 52. APPENDIX 53
    53. 53. NAME: Two types to consider 1. 2. Instant Invested meaning meaning Facebook Amazon Burger Blackberry King Evernote Koodo 54
    54. 54. NAME: Pros and cons 1. 2. Instant Invested meaning meaning Communicates Flexible for you Evocative Can take time Can fence you and money to in build meaning 55
    55. 55. NAME: Criteria of a good nameEvokes the customer benefit • ThinkPadEither descriptive, evocative or blank • Facebook, Twitter, A slate. mazonEasy to say and spell • WINDMemorable and different • SwatchUnambiguous • Whole FoodsAvailable • UniqloTranslatable or multi-lingual • Dialogue 56
    56. 56. NAME: The process1. Create a brief and set the criteria ahead of time2. Crank out a long, long-list. Anything goes. Get people involved. No contests please.3. Shorten to 3-5 and test them informally. Use them in context.4. The right name will take time to grow on you.5. Take 2 to full legal testing.6. Secure the top name in your immediate markets, including online 57
    57. 57. TaglineAn important discipline Great tags tell a big storyShould be about what the • Just Do It customer will experience, not • A Diamond Is Forever self-descriptive • We Try HarderForces you to hone your core • What Happens In Vegas, Stays idea into few words In VegasFocuses you on the external • A Different Kind Of Company. audience A Different Kind Of CarHas to be credible internally • The Future Is Friendly • Think Different 58
    58. 58. Building a tagline1. What is our vision of the possible?2. What is our core benefit to the buyer/end user?3. What is our core source of value creation?4. How can we sum all that up in natural language? 59
    59. 59. Name + TaglineIf you have a descriptive name, choose an evocative taglineIf you have a coined or evocative name, choose a descriptive tagline 60
    60. 60. What about brand architecture? 61
    62. 62. BRAND ARCHITECTURE: logic HOUSE OF BRANDED ENDORSED OR BRANDS HOUSE SUB-BRANDS Established Minor or major Unrelated products brand equity extensions Same channel Product and channel on a central strong Available resources synergy brand 63