THE MVB CANVAS
A Minimum Viable Brand gives a starting point for brand iteration by looking at the overarching themes of a brand as the primary driver for its development – story, artifact, and invitation.
The Minimum Viable Brand Canvas is a tool you can use to dive into your MVB work. It will help you build successive iterations of your brand which enable full turns of the Build-Measure-Learn loop with a minimum amount of effort and the least amount of development time.
It is designed to be relatively intuitive and easy to use as an interactive space to sketch out your thoughts, ideas, and hypotheses about your brand. You can use the canvas as both a tool for development and as a diagnostic aid to support your intentional brand development efforts.
Simply filling in the boxes won’t get you anywhere. Don’t settle on your first run through the canvas. Sketch out alternatives and options to compare and contrast against to discover the best path of development possible.
As you begin to build your MVB, keep in mind that each of the components are meant to be prompts to inspire the development of the overall relationship. They are not meant to be checkboxes requiring completion, but instead a diving-in point to begin building from. Ultimately, the goal is not in completing the tool, but in creating passionate, strong relationships with your audience.
Story is your story. Who you are. Why you do what you do. Why people should care about a relationship with you. This is your unique rallying point defining what you’re fighting against and what you’re fighting for. Relationships are formed in the synchronicity between who you are and who your audience wants to become.
Artifacts are expressions of your story. Whether it’s a pink mustache on a car or a hackathon on Google’s campus, the goal is to find artifacts that tell your story and engage people with who you are. Great artifacts evoke emotion and reflect the relationship you are forming with your audience.
Invitations are active calls for people to join your story. It’s much more than “messaging.” What you say, where you say it, and how you say it impact the way people respond to you. Customers aren’t looking to be sold on features and benefits, they’re looking to be inspired. Compelling invitations don’t sell, they inspire.
– The MVB Canvas works best when printed out large scale or projected onto a screen so groups of people can jointly start sketching, hypothesizing, and discussing the elements.
– As you start to work with the canvas, we encourage you to use post-it notes for each of the ideas you have within each of the brand components. Your ideas need to remain fluid, and we’ve found sticky-notes allow for your ideas to remain liquid rather than static.
– We also encourage you to use both words and drawings, photos, or other visual representations of your ideas. Colors, shapes, pictures, doodles, and sketches are all ways to deepen your understanding of your ideas and enhance your sense of the bigger picture.
– Finally, it may help to keep a running collection of lean brand canvases to map out new or successful brands you come across. Applying an MVB canvas to companies you admire or you want to learn from can help you understand what they did.