Launching a brand is exciting, but it can also be overwhelming. There are so many things to think about, from your logo to your ad copy to your social media strategy. Sometimes clients tell us they spend a lot of time worrying about what they haven’t even thought of yet! Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ensure you’ll come up with creative, attention-getting ways to promote your new brand. Here are 15 tips you can steal for a successful brand launch:
1. Take a Deep Dive Into Your Target Audience
Considering the target market for your brand is always an essential part of any digital branding strategy. Start with the research you’ve done and ask yourself if you’re definitely going after the right market segment. At Digital Delane, sometimes we notice that a client’s target market is too wide or too narrow, and they might benefit from moving in one of those directions. In a crowded market, you might be better off targeting a specific niche that would prefer your product over the many others available. In a less-crowded market, a broader approach might work better.
2. Make Sure You Haven’t Missed Anything
You should also consider if you may have overlooked any important segments you could be targeting. Once you’ve thoroughly defined your target market and segments, you can use that information to learn where they are, what they care about, and the best ways to reach them. Then consider how this information relates to your core competencies as a brand.
3. Determine the Brand Story You Want to Tell
When Airbnb relaunched in 2014, they didn’t just come up with a new logo (although they did that). They created a new logo, then tied it into a story about belonging—about how the creators didn’t just rent out an apartment for the first time, they made sure their guests felt as though they belonged in the neighborhood. They focused on a message of community, of individuals working together to help each other when traveling, no matter where in the world they are.
What kind of brand story do you want to tell? If you’re searching for inspiration, it may help you to think about your inspiration for the brand, and what you hope to accomplish in the world. Are you trying to provide customers with a solution to a problem? Do you want them to feel a certain way when they think about your brand? Are you hoping to promote certain values, like Airbnb wanted to promote a feeling of belonging and community? The answers to these questions can help you narrow your focus and develop a unique brand story that speaks to your audience.
4. Decide How to Position Your Brand Relative to Competitors
Your brand story should help you with positioning or communicating your brand’s unique features. In other words, what makes your brand different from all the competitors in the same space?
For example, when WePay launched its alternative payment service, they knew its biggest competitor was PayPal. They also knew that while the website was a giant in the payment processing industry, it had weak points. Many PayPal customers were upset that their accounts had been frozen for various reasons.
WePay took advantage of this situation by positioning itself as the payment processing company that wouldn’t freeze accounts. They brought a huge block of ice containing frozen money and the message, “PayPal freezes your accounts” to PayPal’s own developer conference. Needless to say, this stunt, in combination with a ready-to-go landing page and social strategy, helped them get featured on TechCrunch and other popular tech news sites. This resulted in three times more conversions on the stunt landing page, a 225% increase in traffic, and a 300% increase in sign-ups.
You don’t have to go after competitors in such a bold way, but give serious thought to how you can draw attention to your unique brand features so your target market will recognize their relative value.
5. Plan a Content Strategy to Communicate Your Brand’s Positioning
Once you know how you want to position your brand, start thinking about a content strategy. This differs from a short-term publicity stunt like the huge block of ice—it was effective, but you can only drop so many blocks of ice before people get bored with the gag. You need to follow up with a long-term strategy so your launch day publicity doesn’t fizzle out.
A content strategy should include things that either inform or entertain your audience (or both, if you can manage it). Content can mean many things—a series of blog posts on a topic of interest to your audience, a podcast dedicated to asking guests a particular question, TikTok videos featuring your product or a specific campaign you’ve created that involves the product, a Twitter hashtag to encourage user-generated content, etc.
6. Remember to Start the Brand Launch Internally
Whether you’re rebranding or launching an entirely new product, it’s important to help your team understand the brand, its personality, and its story right from the start. These are the people who will sell your product, even if they don’t work in sales. They will answer questions, help customers or vendors, and arrange the events of your brand launch. Take the time to explain your brand’s attributes to your team and why potential customers should care about your brand.
7. Prepare Documents to Keep Everyone on the Same Page
A brand guidelines document is an immense help here. It should list all the essential points both employees and outside partners need to know—positioning, product features, important dates, selling points, info on how to order (if applicable), etc.
8. Carefully Plan Your Brand Launch Schedule
Because there are so many things to do for a brand launch, it’s easy to forget some of them, especially when you’re working so hard on so many other things. Make sure that market research comes first, and everything else flows from understanding the target market. You’ll want to put extra thought into social media and other publicity efforts, including sending out press releases and scheduling interviews. Don’t forget the date to have your landing page up and running—and time to thoroughly test it to ensure you get all the bugs out.
Once you’ve got a tentative schedule, give some thought to how realistic it is. Will you be able to get all these things done, to the best of your team’s abilities, in the time you have? In some cases, it may be better to push back a launch date than to launch before you’re ready. This may not always be possible, but if it is, it’s usually better to delay by a few weeks than to do a brand launch unprepared.
9. Consider Building Excitement by Making the Brand Seem Exclusive
Prior to launching, $0 commission stock trading service Robinhood invited targeted consumers to their private beta with invitation-only access. They offered one option—opt-in. When people chose this, they received a “Thank you” message noting their place on a large waiting list. Additionally, they were offered priority access if they invited friends and family, turning them into instant brand ambassadors. This exclusivity went away once the brand officially launched, but by then it had done its job—lots of people who weren’t on the early access list still knew of the brand, and were excited to finally gain access themselves. Early users still enjoyed the $0 commission trades, so they had no reason to leave.
Another option is to consider pre-orders, depending on the nature of your product. You could offer a discount on early orders, using the same strategy where customers get either a discount or a free additional product for referring friends and family.
10. Get an Influencer to Beg for Your Product
This works especially well if you’re planning to relaunch a discontinued brand, but can be adapted for new brand releases as well. If you can find an influencer to plead for the specific product you have, this can help kick off a campaign of user-generated content.
For example, Justin Bieber asked Popsicle for the return of “double stick” Popsicles, and they promised to relaunch these if they got 100,000 retweets. Meanwhile, Chance the Rapper expressed a desire to have more of Wendy’s discontinued spicy chicken nuggets, and the restaurant said they’d bring the nuggets back for 2 million likes. Both brands exceeded their goals and produced the products as promised, to great fanfare.
Your brand may not be quite ready for Justin Bieber or Chance the Rapper, but your brand can persuade social media influencers on all levels to help with a brand launch campaign. If your product is brand new, they could describe the problem it solves.
Disney+ made its launch special with a series of over 600 tweets, each representing a show available on the new streaming network. While individual tweets interested many viewers, the sheer volume also showcased just how much content the network offered. Plus, the variety of shows allowed them to reach many different target markets.
Your brand may not have hundreds of different products or product attributes, but you can find multiple ways of showcasing what you have to offer. You could show your brand solving problems or making people happy in a variety of situations, or you could do a series on different uses for the brand.
12. Create a Cohesive Brand Image
Once you have your logo, brand colors, and tagline picked out, ensure they are in all the places you need them—not just on the product, but on images or graphics for social media, email signatures for your team, business cards, and internal or external signage. If you’re rebranding, it’s important to ensure all old images are discarded, including those around the office. In 2017, Aeropostale closed all its 500+ stores so they could swap out branding and signage, then reopened with coupon offers on social media and much fanfare among shoppers.
Set a date for everyone to change their email signature, as well as updating profile pictures on social media, etc. Again, this is why it’s important to have introduced the new brand internally first, so your team members will be on board and understand the changes.
When you publicly launch the new image, remember to tie it to your brand story in a meaningful way. A blog or social media post telling the story and why the new image means so much to the brand can get customers to accept it.
13. Use Your Email Marketing List
Emails shouldn’t be too salesy, but they should communicate brand benefits and get people interested enough to open the next email. Graphics that quickly communicate your message in a fun, unique, or interesting way may be helpful. Build out a nurture sequence of 3-4 emails pre-launch—repetitive exposure helps customers remember your brand both before and after.
With email marketing, it’s essential to get right to the point. Austin Eastciders used a simple, visually friendly email to introduce their new Sangria Cider—the subject line was, “Our newest flavor of cider is here,” and the inside graphics quickly communicated a lighthearted party mood while introducing the new flavor.
14. Start Building a Fan Base ASAP
When two college students started KPOP Foods, a brand designed to make Korean food popular in the US, they started handing out small, pig-shaped bottles of their Korean chili sauce on their college campus. This helped them grow a Kickstarter to fund the final product, plus the sauce was already in demand months before they launched.
Start thinking about how you can adapt this strategy to your own brand. Handing out samples doesn’t have to be the only way to gain fans. You might do a demonstration, or make a fun TikTok video about a problem that your brand solves. If you don’t have a physical product, think about how consumers might try out your service, enjoy it, and spread the news through word of mouth.
15. Consider the Merits of Experiential Marketing
When Nike launched the Epic React Flyknit shoe, they created a campaign called “House of Go” which featured a pop-up store in Chicago named the House of Go. In this store was a high-tech treadmill surrounded by floor-to-ceiling LCD screens, with an early VR-type experience. The screens featured animated avatars that reacted to the treadmill user’s movements. Anyone on the street could come inside, lace up a pair of Flyknits, and run on the treadmill (after signing up for the Nike+ app).
The experience was so unique that it attracted many people who weren’t runners and would never think twice about buying a high-priced running shoe. Those people, in turn, talked about the experience, and those conversations reached people in their circle who did buy running shoes. Meanwhile, everyone who tried the shoes remained on the app where they could be reached with future marketing efforts.
Could your brand tie itself into a unique experience that people will want to share with others? If so, and it’s feasible to put this idea into motion, this may be a good option.
Launching a brand requires preparation and creative thinking months in advance. Hopefully, some of the above examples will spark inspiration for your own brand launch. Need some help? Digital Delane is always happy to assist with brand launches and all other aspects of digital marketing.