Table of Contents

The Minimum Viable Brand Framework

This blog assumes you already have a product or service and want to start an online business.
There are three pillars that are essential for creating a successful Minimum Viable Brand (MVB). It’s worth spending a significant amount of time building a long-term strategy around the whole framework. This ensures your business is functional, profitable, and scalable.Without over complicating it, The MVB philosophy encourages starting small and smart, focusing on core functionalities. It’s about testing the waters with a lean approach before diving deep into more extensive investments. This framework ensures you don’t slip into a rabbit hole of endless information and instead spend time more productively and efficiently. It should influence every decision you make until you’re profitable and able to reinvest into a more complex strategy.

The Three Pillars For A Minimum Viable Brand

A minimum viable brand is about distilling your business down to its most essential elements. This philosophy encourages starting small and smart, focusing on core functionalities. It’s often about testing the waters with a lean approach before diving deep into more extensive investments and developments. This framework ensures you don’t slip into a rabbit hole of endless information, and instead spend time more productively. It should influence every decision you make until you’re profitable and able to reinvest into a more complex strategy. The three pillars are sales & marketing, operations & fulfilment, and finance & marketing. We will dive into these pillars soon, but first…

Spending time over money (the 20 hour rule)

The MVB framework encourages you to invest time rather than money initially. It is often better to outsource tasks that are far outside your skill set, determined by the 20 hour rule.

The 20 hour rule is simple. Can you develop the skillset enough so in 20 hours, to get the job done without sacrificing major quality?
For example, maybe you have strong Accounting or HR experience, this is what you’re selling as a service.
Maybe you also have a knack for social media, so you skill-stack a bit of social media marketing. Because you have a knack for social media, you pick it up quickly (within 20 hours) and now you can run the social media account yourself. Maybe, you’re hopeless at web development and simply put, cannot learn basic site development skills within 20 hours. So why torture yourself? Offload this task. This rule of leaning into your strengths and outsourcing your weaknesses, should be applied across the 3 pillars of the MVB framework.

Personal antidote: As a creative, my brain is smooth when it comes to accounting. Therefore I have outsourced anything tax related (Don’t worry ATO employee reading this).

Sales & Marketing

Sales and marketing are the lifeblood of your business. Without attracting new leads and converting them into customers, your business cannot sustain itself. Think of your business like a building. It could be a beautiful piece of architecture, but if people don’t know it exists…No one will see it, no matter how beautiful it is. So where should you get started with marketing? Well, figuring out your target audience and then building your brand avatar (your brands personality) around the personality of said audience, is a great place to start.

Minimal Branding

Instead of paying a marketer to craft a complex brand identity, your brand guideline could be 3-4 pages. Outlining colour schemes, fonts, brand values, brand voice, target demographic, and any other ideas that could increase your brand identity. This allows you to experiment before committing to a design, and helps all team members understand your vision. You won’t have to describe your brand every time you hire a freelancer, contractor or employee. Simply send through your brand guidelines and boom, they’re up to date!

 Simplified Logo and Design
Instead of investing in elaborate logos and design schemes, opt for a simple, memorable logo that reflects your brand’s essence. This approach is cost-effective and ensures that your brand is easily recognisable.

Concise Brand Messaging
Develop a clear and concise brand message. This message should encapsulate what your brand stands for and what it offers, in simple language that resonates with your target audience.

Targeted Brand Positioning
Focus on a niche market or audience segment. By honing in on a specific group, your branding efforts can be more directed and effective, creating a stronger connection with a smaller, more engaged audience.

Essential Brand Elements
Determine the most essential elements that represent your brand – such as colour schemes, typography, and a basic style guide. These should be consistent across all platforms but don’t need to be exhaustive.

Digital Presence
In today’s digital age, a basic but well-optimised website and a presence on relevant social media platforms can be sufficient for establishing your online brand identity. These digital touchpoints should be cohesive and reflect your brand’s message and values.

Flexibility for Growth
Build your brand in a way that allows for flexibility and scalability. As your business grows and evolves, your branding can adapt without requiring a complete overhaul. For example, calling your sandwich store “Dave’s Sandwiches” may limit your product range in the future, as people will associate your store with sandwiches (even when you win the best pie award!)


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Minimum Marketing Strategies

In terms of marketing, the minimum viable brand philosophy advocates for targeted, high-impact strategies over broad, unfocused efforts. This could involve using social media platforms where your audience is most active, or employing direct marketing techniques like email campaigns.

The goal is to achieve maximum engagement and response with minimal expenditure, ensuring that every marketing dollar spent is deliberate and effectively.

In the MVB framework, marketing is streamlined and highly targeted, focusing on the most effective methods to reach and engage with the desired audience efficiently. Here’s how marketing is approached within the MVB framework:

 Targeted Audience Segmentation
Focus on a specific segment of your target market. Understanding your audience’s needs, preferences, and behaviour allows for more personalised and effective marketing efforts.

Know Your Audience
Understand the demographics, needs, and pain points of your target market.

Value Proposition
Clearly communicate the unique value your product or service offers in ways that your audience relate to.

Avoid jargon and complex language. Keep your message straight forward and easy to understand. From the words of Mark Twain, “I apologise for such a long letter – I didn’t have time to write a short one.”

Cost-Effective Digital Strategies
Choose channels where your target audience is most active and where you can communicate directly with them.

Content Marketing
Utilise content marketing but in a more focused manner. Create high-quality, valuable content that addresses your audience’s needs and interests. This could be blog posts, how-to guides, funny or informational images, even videos. The focus shouldn’t always be to make money, the focus should be to provide value, in some form. Give to get, GIVE VALUE TO BE VALUED. For example, maybe your focusing on a younger demographic. Try relatable memes or interesting insights. If you have an older audience, try experiment with long-form content. Be a genuine friend to your audience, not a slick salesman.

Lean Advertising
If using paid advertising, start with a small daily ad budget focused on testing different messages and strategies to see what your audience engages with the most. Once you’ve got some quality ad creatives that are giving results, cut the losers and scale the winners!

Measurable & Agile Approach
Implement marketing tactics that allow for easy tracking and analysis of results. Use these insights to quickly adapt and tweak your strategies for better performance. This can be a 20 hour micro-skill, study with free online resources to learn the basics of Google Analytics , Meta, Linkedin, and TikTok ad managers. This skill will also allow you to stay alert when working with ad agencies, as you will know if they’re being lazy, fabricating reports, using lazy creatives, or taking advantage of you in some form. It is well worth the time investment!

Minimum Operations

SfSaturn isn’t seasoned in operational procedures, so we won’t preach what we aren’t great at. That said, from personal experience. It’s very easy to feel you need to over develop your product or service. Be wary of this rabbit hole. the MVB approach suggests starting with the bare minimum required to function efficiently. For an SAAS business, for example. This might mean launching with a simple, user-friendly version of your software that addresses the most critical needs of your audience. Avoid overcomplicating the product with too many features; instead, focus on delivering a seamless core experience that solves a specific problem for your users. It is often better to do a simple thing well, not a complex thing poorly.



Adopting a Minimum Viable Brand approach allows you to launch and test your business concept with minimal risk and investment. By focusing on what’s truly essential in branding, operations, and marketing, you create a strong foundation for your business, one that is agile and responsive to market feedback and ready to scale when the time is right. This lean strategy is not about cutting corners; it’s about smart, strategic, flexible growth that aligns with your business goals and customer needs.

New to online business?

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