The Lean Branding process consists of strategy, messaging and design. Of these three, messaging and copywriting is often the hardest to apply lean principles to. Language can be very subjective, so judging how best to create copy in a fast-paced environment is not easy. There are a few lessons I’ve learned from creating copy to help express a refreshed brand position.
Copy and messaging is where your brand comes to life in the written word. People are visual creatures, but language is still one of the most powerful ways to communicate and persuade. In almost every industry copy and messaging is a vital part of bringing the brand to life.
One of my friends in New Zealand is a full on growth hacker. He’s done everything from affiliate marketing and pay-per-click to SEO and Adwords. I asked him for a few secret tricks to help promote my new book Tickle: Digital marketing for tech companies.
Growth hacking is the art of taking a practical, technical and analytical ‘hacker’ mindset towards marketing. I was expecting black-hat tricks and dodgy secrets, but his advice was surprisingly common sense. I’ve decided to share his advice here on the blog because so much of it is applicable to general business profile raising. According to this growth hacker, the best way to sell books is to build a professional reputation using good honest thought leadership and contributing value to the community.
According to Wolff Olins, a brand exists in the overlap between commerce, culture and technology. The purpose of a minimum viable brand is to engage people without overcomplicating things. This morning we had a chance to hear from Ije Nwokorie and Melissa Andrada of Wolff Olins at the Google Startup Campus, in a talk organised by General Assembly. Ije and Melissa work with some of the biggest brands in the world so it was a little weird to hear them adopting the tools and mindset of a small startup. But the fit was perfect and the lessons were really practical.
To me, lean branding is an ongoing process that dovetails well with the Growth Hacking trend in Silicon Valley (identified by Patrick Vlaskovits and friends). The ‘Lean Startup’ movement has already influenced how small companies do their marketing, but it’s now starting to influence how bigger companies think about branding. The manifesto of lean is speed, agility, experimentation and iterative improvements. All of which are useful when rethinking any company’s brand (big or small).
Patrick Vlaskovits, arguably the sharpest modern thinker on Lean, visited us at the Innovation Warehouse last week. Patrick has recently published his new book, The Lean Entrepreneur. He spoke to us about growth hacking, which is a new way of thinking about marketing (within a startup or innovative company environment). Growth hacking is the application of the mindset of a hacker to the challenge of growing the demand for a product.
Patrick has reverse engineered what causes rapid growth in some disruptive products but not others. He’s pulled together thinking from advertising, marketing, lean and even black-hat affiliate marketing. The key (to Patrick) is that the Medium is the Message (a quote from Marshall McLuhan). Disruptive ideas need disruptive marketing channels. To get an innovative idea to spread quickly, it needs an innovative communications medium.