The word lean gets thrown around quite a lot these days, and not just because the bikini season is coming. Lean startup and lean entrepreneur are the two collocations that first pop into mind, however, there is one more that should not be overlooked, and that is lean branding.
We all love watching Mad Men cooking up their great marketing schemes in the Madison Avenue skyscraper, but that sort of advertising and branding is slowly, but surely losing its edge. After being bombarded with all kinds of advertisement, we are just not that susceptible to adverts, and one stroke of advertising genius is not guaranteed to sweep us of our feet.
We’ve been schooled in the art of advertising we know the tricks companies try to capture our attention with- now we are looking for value. Products in themselves have value as they fix a problem, satisfy a need, provide us with something we want- that is called functional value. But there are so many products that do one and the same thing- so how do you make the customer chose your particular brand?
Branding is creating emotional value
By creating more value, of course, but this time an emotional one. Brands create emotional value through the human connections they are able to facilitate. A brand is a relationship between an organization and its target audience. Any organization nowadays, from a startup to a large enterprise, must learn to build emotional value, not just a functional one, because therein lies the one possibility for great branding.
This is exactly what Jeremiah Gardner’s book The Lean Brand is all about. He is a self-described author, speaker, brand hacker and bulldog lover who works with entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, and Fortune 500s to help them discover, iterate and develop their emotional-value. His work is focused on helping people reframe the way they think about brand development, creativity and leadership.
Just like the lean startup, The Lean Brand is a framework, and one that Jeremiah Gardner details in his book very leanly named The Lean Brand. It is an approach to brand development based on experimentation, validated learning and continuous iteration. We need new thinking, he states on his webpage LeanBrand.Me, we need to bring entropy, energy, and life back into the way we build relationship with people.
Lean Brand for Lean Startups
Lean brand is written to move our thinking, understanding and practice of brand development forward, as the author himself states, because truly great brands aren’t strategically imagined ahead of time any more, they are discovered through experimentation and validation on the go.
With his work Gardner aims to contribute a framework for startups to integrate their brand development into the activities and ideas they are already employing as a lean startup– lean startup and lean entrepreneur provide techniques to create innovative products, whereas lean brand is focused on developing innovative relationships.
If you would like to learn more about the concept of lean brand, make sure to visit Gardner’s blog, and the Lean Brand book itself is available for preorders and will be hitting the shelves (digital as well as birck-and-mortar ones) soon.