Studio Ostendo operates in multiple creative fields including photography, design, and education.
Launching a brand is all at once thrilling, nerve-racking, exciting, and terrifying—that’s to say a brand launch is not without its challenges. A successful brand launch requires meticulous planning to navigate potential risks and ensure a seamless rollout. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore key strategies and insights for brand launch preparation, brand relaunching, and the essential assets needed for a successful launch.
A brand launch marks the introduction of a new brand identity into the market, encompassing a strategic process to unveil a company's purpose, values, mission, and vision to the public (we call this a Brand Core). It is a pivotal moment that requires meticulous planning, including the development of key messages, a communication plan, and internal and external engagement strategies. A successful brand launch establishes the foundation for brand recognition and loyalty, creating a memorable impression on the target audience.
Distinct from a brand relaunch, where an existing brand undergoes a significant transformation or update, a brand launch involves introducing an entirely new brand identity. While both share the common goal of enhancing a brand's presence, a relaunch may be triggered by factors such as mergers, acquisitions, outdated branding, or a shift in company focus. Nuances in a brand relaunch involve navigating existing brand perceptions, obtaining buy-in from internal stakeholders, and carefully managing the transition to ensure a seamless and impactful reintroduction to the market. Regardless of whether you’re launching a new brand or launching a rebrand, the next steps apply to both.
The initial phase in gearing up for your brand launch involves formulating a comprehensive communication plan tailored to different audience segments. Identify the primary recipients of your brand launch message, determining what information they need and the most effective channels for conveying it. Utilize this plan as a guiding framework to seamlessly communicate your upcoming brand launch to diverse audiences, ensuring a coherent and impactful message delivery.
Pro Tip: Oftentimes, current stakeholders or clients only need an email or an invitation to a virtual town hall meeting where you talk about the shift that’s about to take place. Generally, as long as their stake isn’t going to change, they trust solid leadership.
While external brand unveiling is important, internalizing the brand is equally crucial. Employees play a pivotal role in disseminating information about the company, and a lack of internal awareness can lead to conflicting messages and confusion. Rather than springing the brand launch suddenly, involve employees early on in the process. Initiate discussions about the company's direction, seek their input, and leverage their insights to shape key messages and establish an overarching narrative for the brand launch. Employees become your first line of fans and communication when you launch a brand.
In the process of a brand launch, the development of key messages tailored to your audience is paramount. Although each message may require a unique communication approach, maintaining a consistent overarching narrative is vital. Dive into aspects you want to emphasize to your audience, seizing the opportunity presented by a new brand to convey the overarching story driving your business.
Timing is a critical element in any successful brand launch strategy, recognizing that introducing a new brand is not a one-off event. Create a detailed timeline outlining when communications will reach audiences, stakeholders, and internal teams. The sequence of these communications is crucial, as a misstep in conveying your brand launch can disrupt the rollout process or even lead to a lackluster reception. It’s like my grandpa Dean always used to say, “Proper planning prevents piss-poor performance.”
With your brand's vision, personality, tone, messaging, and visual identity primed for launch, it's imperative to initiate brand awareness and lead generation by seamlessly integrating the brand identity into core assets. From websites to brochures, sell sheets, business cards, and internal signage, apply the new brand identity promptly. Neglecting timely updates to these assets can be confusing, underscoring the importance of swift implementation of the new brand identity.
To ensure that nothing gets missed, here’s a starting point of items you’ll need to update:
In addition to implementing these updates, it's essential to have your new brand guidelines readily available for your employees in an easily accessible format and location. Ensuring that your employees understand how to utilize these new assets is crucial, and you should provide them with clear guidance on who to contact for any questions that may arise.
Before unveiling your new brand to the public, provide a sneak peek to your most crucial external audiences. It's important to avoid having high-priority stakeholders, clients, and customers learning about the brand simultaneously with the general public. Treat them to an exclusive preview by organizing a virtual presentation, webinar, or another specialized event.
Following the preview for your key audiences, shift your focus entirely to orchestrating an external brand launch that spans the entire day. Kickstart the process by preparing engaging blog posts, newsletters, brand launch video content, and a comprehensive social media marketing plan. Additionally, craft compelling press announcements to generate excitement. As I wrote before, adequate preparation beforehand significantly enhances the likelihood of a triumphant and memorable brand launch.
From checklists and worksheets to free chapters and guides, diverse forms of written content are indispensable. This content, created before the launch process begins, serves as a prelude to the live launch. Distribute it through organic posts, paid ads, and email series to introduce yourself, showcase expertise, and build trust with your audience.
In the online realm of your launch, cohesive and branded images are a necessity, especially for social media activities and ads. Even in offline launches, ensure that printed materials maintain a consistent and branded appearance.
Pepsi did this wonderfully when it launched its rebrand, using the same images for nearly a year of presentations and promotions. Check out the Pepsi rebrand here.
Whether live, pre-recorded, or a blend of both, videos play a crucial role in fostering a connection. Featuring yourself in some videos offers prospective clients a chance to know and trust you. Additionally, use videos for demos, employee introductions, and testimonials from existing clients.
Red Deer Polytechnic launched a rebrand accompanied by a masterclass in launch videos.
Incorporate testimonials into branded images, printed materials, and ad copy. If launching something entirely new, consider beta testing to gather feedback and testimonials. Otherwise, leverage testimonials from clients with experiences similar to your upcoming launch.
Plan your online ads well in advance, detailing the ad plan and creating necessary assets. Allocate ad spend dollars to each phase, preventing overspending before the live launch. Utilize your social media pixel to target warm audiences and maximize the effectiveness of conversion-type ads.
While not essential for all launches, an email series is a valuable asset, particularly for nurturing current relationships. As launches vary, the significance of email marketing depends on the nature and price point of your offering. For higher-dollar sales, effective email nurture sequences become pivotal.
As you enter the pre-launch phase, the countdown begins. Be well-prepared by having all your launch assets created, aligned, and ready to deploy, ensuring a smooth and successful launch experience.
Embrace the inevitable evolution of your brand and view relaunching as a thrilling adventure. Beyond merely achieving new goals, it provides an opportunity to flex your creative muscles and rally teams around a shared objective. Although the prospect may seem daunting, triumphant relaunches are not only invigorating but also inspiring. Invest the time in thorough research, meticulous planning, and transparent communication to keep your adventure on a well-guided path. This strategic approach ensures that when your efforts are unveiled to the world, the reward is not only visible but immensely gratifying.
By following these steps and leveraging the insights from our guide, you can pave the way for a successful and memorable brand launch. Remember, thoughtful planning and consistency are the keys to unlocking the full potential of your brand in the eyes of your audience. Best of luck on your brand launch journey!