How to Launch a Brand
Show off your new image with style.
Developing a new brand is exciting. But communicating to your customers about why you made the change takes a steady hand. Here’s how to make sure the launch goes smoothly.
1. Plan, plan, plan
This process requires a project manager with a whip in one hand and a spreadsheet in the other. Lots of moving parts mean someone has to be paying close attention at all times. Start by getting that responsible, motivating, and detail-oriented person in place.
Time it out
Be sure you have the timing right. You don’t want to hand out new business cards until your website is launched. Customers need to have a consistent experience with your brand. Make a list of all the places they will interact with your new image and create a calendar to get them all aligned properly. Some things will have to happen gradually like truck graphics, packaging, and signage but the key touchpoints should be consistent at launch.
Get your ducks in a row
Once you have your plan in place, start collecting all the data—business card, website, and any business collateral content. Proof like crazy to make sure everything is consistent. Going back to reprint will cost you more money and time than getting it right the first time.
If you have changed your name or moved, update Google and any directories in your market so your image is consistent across the web.
2. Launch internally
You have to let your staff know what’s coming or they will be confused, which means your customers will be confused. Ideally you’ve kept them in the loop and asked for some of their input along the way about the upcoming changes and why the company is making a shift.
Go one step further by setting up a training session where you outline all the new tools they will have at their disposal. Share the rollout calendar so they can be prepared for the changes. And give them talking points so they can explain the change directly to customers. Your employees are your most important brand advocates. Be transparent so they can sing your praises.
3. Launch externally
Now you are ready to launch it to the world. Letting your customers know how and why your business is changing is essential to retaining their trust.
Make an announcement
There are lots of ways to reach out to your customers. Your tactics will depend on the size of your company and how your customers like to interact. Some examples include: a press release or media kit, a personal email or mailing to clients, an event to show off your new space, a video, or promotional items reflecting your new brand. Let your customers know what’s new, better, and relevant to them about your brand change.
Don’t focus on the logo
When communicating the change externally, it’s important to concentrate on the why, not the what. As we’ve said before, your brand is more than your logo. If you focus on the new logo rather than what changes you made in your business that required a new logo, you’re missing the story. Emphasize why it matters to your customers—new offerings, better service, a merger of two great companies—whatever it is that makes a difference in their lives.
4. Keep the momentum going
Launch day is just the beginning. Now you need to plan the rest of the rollout. Go back to the things that couldn’t make the launch date and get them on a schedule. Communicate internally and externally about when the changes will be done, particularly when it affects your customers. If you are a large retailer when will they get new credit cards? If you are a bank, when do they need to get new checks printed?
Listen to feedback
Don’t dismiss critical feedback about your new brand. You don’t need to be reactionary and make radical changes based on one or two comments, but if there are legitimate concerns think about ways to address them while staying true to your brand.
Six months or a year after you launch you might start getting itchy for a change. Don’t do it. Just when you are getting sick of your brand is when your customers are starting to notice it. Don’t lose momentum once you’ve launched. Stay consistent with your brand until something changes in your business or in the marketplace to warrant an update.
Follow these steps for a smooth launch of your brand now and into the future.