Whether we’re talking about a startup or rebranding after a century in business, the question always arises — when should you schedule the official launch of the new brand? Well, common sense comes into play and you immediately know that certain times of the year should be removed from the list — most notably close to holidays or popular vacation times when there’s a good chance your customer’s minds will be focused on any number of topics, none of which are your business. There is a consensus throughout the branding industry that targeting a launch in early January is generally good practice — with a new year signifying new beginnings and new possibilities. Quite frankly, the topic could be debated at length and perhaps that’s a topic for another day.
Today, I’d like to talk about more than just a date on the calendar. This is about knowing when the time is right for your company where both internal and external factors come into play. When should you launch a new brand? The best answer is: when you’re truly ready.
A brand launch should make an impact on your employees, your industry, your business. A brand launch should be coordinated so that it is met with excitement and respect from internal audiences as well as generate external marketplace recognition in order to leverage the most opportunities for growth. Here are some things to keep in mind as you consider whether or not you’re truly ready for what lies ahead:
1. Guarantee alignment. Your employees (at all levels) should be kept informed throughout the rebranding process in order to ensure they feel as though they are part of the future organization. Their internalization of the brand promise will make them believers who will live as ambassadors for the brand. If you feel there is confusion or dissatisfaction leading up to the brand launch, be certain to address it head on.
2. Assign responsibilities. Every member of your team is a part of the new brand and must therefore play a role in it. Be sure that everyone is prepared to represent and communicate the brand consistently through collaborative training and appropriate dissemination of branded tools. This could include anything from providing PowerPoint templates to conducting employee training on how they can utilize social media to strengthen the brand online.
3. Make it an event. On the day of the launch, make an effort to celebrate the birth of the new brand and build excitement within the ranks. A brand launch event brings this new reality to life and solidifies the notion that change is taking place. Events help employees feel like they are part of something bigger, something worth celebrating and investing in. Pass out mementos and hang new posters throughout the office. Have a photographer on hand to document the occasion. From this point forward, everyone is walking the new walk.
1. Ensure consistency. Your brand no doubt carries with it a number of touch points for your various audiences (online and off). Consistency across as many of these channels as possible will signify the legitimacy of the new brand. More often than not, it’s tough for organizations to simply “flip the switch” on launch day and have everything reflecting the new brand. But ensuring that the most critical elements are covered (and that you have an attrition plan in place for others) is essential. If your business cards reflect the new brand and your website reflects the old, questions begin to arise.
2. Have a solid marketing and communication plan in place defining the roles of public and media relations, social media strategy, print and digital advertising, email marketing. All of these avenues need to be singing the same tune on launch day. Be sure you have your story straight, outreach timing in mind and roles delegated. If you don’t define your brand and communicate effectively what you’re trying to accomplish/signify, others will come up with their own conclusions and define things for you.
3. Develop a response structure. Questions are inevitable and you need to be able to respond swiftly and appropriately. Whether via phone or by tweet, you need to have a response team and structure in place to address any of these questions or concerns. Customers will be wondering how the new brand will affect them. The media will be wondering how the new brand will signify change in the industry. The list goes on.
These are just a few of the considerations that go into planning a brand launch — something we live every day at BrandingBusiness. If you’re interested in talking more about what you can do to be truly prepared when it comes to your brand and its introduction, give us a call at 949.586.1200. And be sure to leave your comments below.