The last several months, I’ve been consumed with building marcom strategies around brand launches. Whether client partners are in the food, wine or ingredient spaces, and even targeting diverse consumer or B2B audiences, there are common foundational elements that transcend.

  1. Invest in a integrated launch plan

You need to know where you are going and what you are going to do along the way. Brand launches can’t be supported solely by PR or advertising.  It’s critical to develop an approach that addresses all touchpoints along the consumer journey – whether that consumer is an employee, partner or customer. Touchpoints vary but generally include website, sales collateral, presentations and training materials and events.

At a high level, you want to develop a brand experience for your audiences that introduces them to the new brand and then lays a foundation for a long and sustained relationship.

At a tactical level, you need to take into account all that needs to happen and when in order to keep everyone moving in the same direction. The format can vary. I like a channel plan that also segments communications by audience (internal and external). It all depends on what you and your team need.  Overlay this onto a calendar or timeline, and then use the plan as your implementation guide.

Brand launches can’t be supported solely by PR or advertising.Click To Tweet

2. Identify and train internal brand ambassadors

Alignment internally is key before launching externally. When employees are introduced to a new brand identity, they are often inspired and motivated. But then what? How does that translate into the day-to-day tasks and responsibilities? How can employees live this brand? Internal brand ambassadors or brand advocates can help rally internal groups around vision and implementation.

3. Creative is everything

The big creative idea needs to bring to life the brand platform, visual identity system and brand personality. Your creative campaign needs to capitvate, connect and catalyize your audiences. It defines your brand’s presence in the marketplace and is a critical means of connecting with your targets. Without it, you’re just going through the motions.

4. Maintain momentum

You can’t just launch a brand and then go dark, thinking your work is done. To ensure success with both internal and external audiences, you need to treat the brand launch as a moment in time and plan to sustain efforts in the mid- and long term. That requires proper budgeting for support beyond the launch window into the days, weeks and months beyond.

5. Measure

Whether a large budget or small, some form of measurement is vital to gauge success and fuel necessary evolution of the brand and communications strategy. If you can, run a pre- and post-launch study. If you don’t have a large budget, gather anecdotal feedback from employees, customers, journalists and others after a certain period of time. Track sales data. Define unique URLs to determine which calls to action had stronger ROIs. Tie measurement to your own internal metrics for tracking business goals and you’ll have a stronger sense of the success of your campaign.

Bonus Tip: Be nimble.

Even the best-laid plans will hit bumps in the road and require adjustment. Maybe you need to test a tagline further. Or the launch date shifts. If you have a strong handle on your target audiences and keep their needs at the forefront, that compass will drive sound decision making.

Now let’s go launch a brand!

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