How to Prepare for Your Brand Launch

By Bill Chiaravalle, Barbara Findlay Schenck

After you’ve decided on and approved your brand name, logo, and tagline, hold that information close to your vest while you put your brand through final tests and prepare it for unveiling.

You need to announce a complete brand story. If your new brand identity leaks out in bits and pieces, people within your organization are likely to think one of two things:

  • So what?

  • They spent all that time and money on that?

Know your story

Be sure you’re 100 percent ready for your internal launch by assembling short statements that summarize each of the following brand elements:

  • Your market position

  • Your brand promise

  • Your brand character

  • Your brand definition

Put your brand launch into context

Before you unveil your brand, all employees, shareholders, and customers need to understand what you’re doing and how the effort will contribute to the value of your organization.

To prepare for your brand launch, know your answers to these questions.

Why are you undertaking this branding effort?

Most branding programs aim to achieve one or more of the following outcomes:

  • Build awareness

  • Create an emotional connection

  • Differentiate your offering

  • Create or enhance credibility and trust

  • Motivate purchases

What do you expect your brand launch to achieve?

After you set your branding priorities, you need to set clear objectives for the quantifiable outcomes you want your brand launch to achieve.

  • If you’re launching a new business or brand, you’re starting from zero. Therefore, setting objectives is a matter of determining how quickly you intend to reach certain levels of success in each priority area.

  • If you’re rebranding or revitalizing an existing brand, begin by assessing the pre-launch strength of your brand to establish the benchmark against which you’ll measure the success of your brand launch or relaunch.

Do you need to launch your brand on or by a certain date?

If you plan to have your brand launch gain momentum with a tie-in to a major conference, trade show, or industry event, or if it will benefit from introduction at a certain date for some other reason, make that date clear when you launch the brand internally.

What’s your message?

Use the following guidance for creating a message for new brands or revitalized brands:

  • When launching an altogether new brand: Your message should convey your brand’s unique position, point of difference, promise, and value.

  • When launching a revitalized brand or a announcing a rebrand: Your message needs to convey your unique position, point of difference, promise, and value, just as in any other brand launch, but you also want to convey the reason behind the changes you’re unveiling.

Producing introductory brand prototypes

As you prepare to introduce your brand, be ready to show how your brand will appear in the marketplace over the coming weeks and months. Do this by creating prototypes, also called mock-ups, of everything from signs to ads to web pages to uniforms, apparel, specialty items, and product packages.

Don’t skimp on the production of your prototypes. If the samples you show aren’t impressive, the reaction to your brand won’t be impressive either.

Check your internal readiness

Before your brand launch, be sure the following points of contact are ready to reflect your brand and strengthen your brand promise:

  • Telephone: Are you prepared to answer phones promptly and with a message that reinforces your brand? Do voicemail recordings convey your brand name, tone, and message?

  • In-person arrival: If customers reach you at a physical location, will signage and entry reflect your new brand?

  • Online arrival: Is your website ready to present the new brand identity and message on pages that are quick to load and easy to view on all screens — especially on mobile devices? Have you reserved your brand name on social-media networks?

  • Within your business: Does the look, sound, and even the smell of your business convey your brand character? Do your employees reflect your brand identity?

  • Correspondence: Have you standardized mail and e-mail correspondence so that communications create an echo chamber for the quality and caliber of the brand you’re launching?

  • Service: Are you ready to project your new brand at each of the following eight service points?

    • Initial contact

    • Establishment of rapport

    • Product presentation

    • Sale negotiation and transaction

    • Payment

    • Delivery

    • Follow-up to confirm customer satisfaction

    • Ongoing customer service and communication

Preview your brand with priority audiences

Prior to the widespread public launch of your brand and again on at least an annual basis, tell your brand story to your most important outside audiences: your investors and your best customers.

Taking your brand story to key partners, investors, and analysts

The financial world watches the Interbrand and BusinessWeek annual surveys on power brands for a reason: Investors realize that a good way to monitor a firm’s earning potential is to monitor the strength of its branding program.

When presenting to those who invest in your business, convey information that assures them of positive answers to the following questions in most investor minds:

  • Does the brand convey the same identity, message, and promise when dealing with all stakeholder groups, from investors to consumers to employees?

  • Does the brand express itself through an integrated marketing program that projects a consistent look, tone, message, and promise online and offline, within and outside the business, in advertising, in fulfillment materials, to all audiences, and at all points of contact?

  • Does the brand retain its customers?

  • Does the brand have coordinated internal management?

Treating your best customers to an insiders’ preview

If you’re rebranding, revitalizing your brand, or introducing a subbrand or brand extension, don’t let your best and most loyal customers hear the news through the grapevine. Instead, treat them like the insiders they are by reaching out with invitations to in-person or online brand-preview events.