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Perspectives on Branding and Identity from Franke+Fiorella
Whether you’re repositioning an existing brand or developing an identity for a new brand, product or service, your success depends not only on a distinctive brand strategy and visual identity system, but on a well-executed launch. If you’re repositioning your brand, you’re making a change and everyone who has a relationship with your brand needs to know about it. If you’re launching a new brand, you need to create that relationship from the ground up. Either way, your audiences need to hear about it repeatedly so they remember what your brand stands for and why it’s relevant to them. In the end, it’s all about creating loyalty so they choose your brand over the competition.
Below are 10 factors that we’ve found are critical to a successful brand launch:
1. Develop a launch communications plan. Plan your communications by audience. Determine who needs to hear what by when, and then use this as your roadmap for implementation.
2. Define your key messages and tailor them to each audience. Simply going through the exercise of developing key messages doesn’t do anyone any good if you don’t communicate effectively with each individual audience. You need to say the same thing to every audience, but you can’t necessarily say it the same way.
3. Train internal audiences FIRST. If your team doesn’t know how to speak about the brand and answer questions from customers consistently, you’ll be sending conflicting messages from the start. Everyone, from the brand and marketing managers and sales reps, to your customer service and tech service people, need to thoroughly understand what the brand stands for. Train your employees well!
4. Be everywhere your audiences are. Be sure to execute your launch plan across multiple communication touchpoints—don’t limit it to advertising and PR. Your launch needs to encompass your website, sales collateral, training materials, technical information, electronic presentations, loyalty programs, incentive programs and trade shows.
5. Be sure your creative delivers the message. This is your debut. Make sure that all launch communications support your brand strategy, visual identity system and key messages. Consistency is critical in building your brand presence.
6. Leverage key industry events. If there is a key industry event occurring around the time of your brand launch, use it in your favor. Involve the media, speak at seminars, use non–traditional promotional opportunities to command attention.
7. Sustain your communication efforts over time. Blitzing your audiences in multiple channels for three months and then falling into oblivion will not create lasting success, and it will give your competitors the opportunity to upstage you. After launching, be sure to sustain your communication efforts over the long term.
8. Invest in identity standards. To ensure consistent execution over time and guard against reinterpretation of your visual identity system, it’s advisable to develop a set of comprehensive identity standards. How detailed should they be? This depends on your organization. How much turnover do you have? How many people are responsible for producing communications? Is your organization multi-national? The more variables you have, the more detailed they should be.
9. Measure your success. If repositioning an existing brand, test key brand attributes and perceptions pre-launch and then again after you’ve been communicating over time to see if you’re achieving the desired results. For a new brand or product you’ll see results via your sales numbers, but remember to test brand perceptions to determine if you’re delivering on your promise.
10. Secure adequate budget. It may seem obvious, but be sure you have ample budget to gain the exposure and presence you need. Clearly, consumer brands have different requirements than B2B brands, but be sure to budget accurately so you can create the visibility you need to have in your industry. There is nothing worse than launching a brand and then failing to support it.
So, keep in mind when it’s time to launch your brand: plan well, execute on strategy and be consistent over time.