First, the definition of a brand is: a relationship between an organization and an audience. It isn't your logo, color scheme, identity system, advertising, or any other asset outside of the relationship. These surface assets project the relationship, but are not the totality of the relationship.
Lean Brand development is optimized for disruptive brand-formation for innovative organizations. It centers around experimentation, iteration, and the elimination of branding waste (yes...you might not need a logo!). It provides a scalable framework for continuous cycles of development and improvement through validated learning and real customer development.
The Old Way:
A branding "guru" or agency will do some level of "discovery" and distill their findings down to "key insights." From those insights, they will attempt to build all sorts of assets (logos, color schemes, experiences, decks, personalities, etc.) for an organization to tactically deploy regardless of validation or the effectiveness of the assets. It's a one-way process rather than an iterative process.
The Lean Way:
The entire framework is about discovery. Through a process of solidifying our assumptions into value hypotheses, we will learn to experiment with our hypotheses to find validated learning in a "live" environment. It centers around a build-measure-learn loop wherein we define 1) What we need to learn, 2) How we will measure it, and 3) What we need to build at a minimum level to run an experiment. Lean branding uses an iterative and validated approach to the development of a brand.
Ultimately, Lean Brand development helps you make better, faster branding decisions. Vastly better, faster branding decisions. Bringing principles from lean manufacturing and agile development to the process of brand innovation, the Lean Brand helps companies form emotional-value in a business landscape riddled with risk.
Lean Branding vs Agile Branding:
As a term, "agile" refers more to an approach to project management, typically used in software development. Whereas Lean Brand / Lean Startup is a disciplined methodology for discovering and building products and brands. They seem to be used interchangeably, but they mean separate things. Lean is used to help build and define a marketable product. Agile is the means to achieve this in software development.**