1225 zoo LOWRES 025 smlThere are so many definitions of ‘brand’ out there, that it makes it very hard to know where to start developing one – so we go for the obvious – the logo.

“Many of the startups and early stage businesses we see have a very simplistic view of branding,” says Lorinda Wyatt, Managing Director of creative consultancy, Zoo Group in Canberra.

“The perception is that once they have a logo and website they can tick branding off their ‘to-do’ list”.

It’s important to remember though that branding is about relationships. If you think this refers to your customer’s relationship with your brand and how you create and manage it, you’ve missed half the story. The relationship is the brand! Everything you do and don’t do forms this relationship.

Both new businesses and those looking to launch new products into the market need to understand that your brand both fulfils a utilitarian function – fulfilling a promise through a product or service; and it has an emotional impact – that of solving or not solving a problem for a customer.

“Just like a Minimum Viable Product or MVP is about eliminating waste to test the market; an MVB or Minimum Viable Brand eliminates the waste of building a brand that no one wants a relationship with,” says Lorinda.

“While larger or more established organisations have the time and money to conduct extensive brand research, for startups with short runways developing an MVB means you can spend as little as possible in terms of time, effort and money to develop a connection with your customer and learn about what creates value for them.”

The shift to metrics and ensuring measureable marketing results that deliver a return on investment has seen a massive change in the way some creative agencies operate.

1225 zoo LOWRES 031 sml“For the most part, gone are the days of creatives with cute glasses and big extraordinary personalities coming up with expensive campaigns that win awards but achieve little direct impact for the client,” says Lorinda.

“Especially with the advent of social media, the relationship between brands and their customers is developed in real time and you have to be prepared to listen, understand where you create value and adapt and change quickly.”

According to Lorinda, developing a Minimum Viable Brand allows you to test your story and why people should care about having a relationship with your business. It also allows you to evaluate what type of artefacts engage your audience and foster an emotional connection with you. Finally, an MVB allows you to test what type of invitation is compelling enough for your audience to join and be part of your story.

“At Zoo Group we believe startup branding is about getting your brand into the marketplace early, establishing and testing your story and giving your audience an idea about what is possible. It’s not about what you’re doing right now, a logo or a pretty picture. We want to accelerate startups by helping them build powerful brands and meaningful relationships with their customers.”


About Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre
Lighthouse has a strong track record of supporting entrepreneurs, researchers and inventers on the path from concept to commercialisation. Since July 2008, Lighthouse has worked with over 990 distinct enterprises and provided group and peer based services to over 3400 enterprises and individuals. For over five years Lighthouse has successfully delivered business advice, education, mentorship and networking opportunities to help these businesses commercialise their ideas and grow their companies. Lighthouse also delivers programs such as the ACT Microcredit Program for the ACT Government. Visit www.lighthouseinnovation.com.au for more information.