4 Key Steps To Launching a Brand The Right Way
Fabian Geyrhalter, principal of brand launch consultancy FINIEN, spoke to a Innovate Pasadena Friday morning coffee group about how to successfully launch a brand.
Launching a brand isn’t an overnight process; however, if you follow this step-by-step brand launch implementation strategy, you can get your new brand from ideation to market within just a few months. Also, you won’t have to re-brand once you find traction, which is a costly, backwards exercise that only confuses your early brand adopters (a.k.a. the only customers you have at this early point in your venture). Here are the four key steps to launching your new venture as a brand:
1: Discover the Soul of Your Brand
The Brand Platform is equally as important as your business plan. You need to establish who you are and why a consumer should care. Create the core values of your brand and define what personality your brand should have. It is in this phase when you can zero in on your target audience and really begin to formulate a brand concept that will appeal to them. Always remember that it’s about them, not you. Everything about your new brand–from the name you will choose, the brand identity design, tag line, the colors associated with your brand, the language you speak (your brand voice), etc.–it all must appeal to your target audience and speak a unison language. The key to defining the soul of your new brand, and a great DIY exercise, is crafting the perfect Positioning Statement. There are many ways to write one, but here is the one that I believe works best as it focuses on the “why.” Your Brand Platform should be developed into a short written document, or manifesto, that you refer to religiously throughout the brand launch process.
2: Derive a Meaningful Brand Name
Choosing a name could be one of the most challenging aspects of your brand launch strategy. A good name should be easy to pronounce, connect with your audience, tell a story (or be able to create a new story–an example is my consultancy’s name ‘FINIEN’), and you should own the intellectual property rights to the name. Yes, that includes the “.com” in most cases, settling for less is not a great start to a great brand. Don’t be afraid to go through hundreds of names before settling on the perfect one. Remember: you can change marketing campaigns, adjust the look of your brand, and even re-design the brand identity after a few years if necessary, but the name should be with you forever; it is not an exercise that should be rushed.
3: Design a Memorable Brand Identity
Simplicity in design and depth in message are key to a successful brand identity design, or simply ‘logo’ design. Ensure that you create something timeless: now is not the time to be hip. Save that for your one-off marketing campaigns. Your identity design should be built to last. You (will) have many ideas for how your new brand’s logo should look and what it should convey. I am here to tell you, sorry, you can’t fit them all into an identity design. Your logo will look more like a painting of sorts and it will confuse rather than educate. Great identities convey one or two messages and they work because they do just that–they have a focus. Your identity should further surprise the segment you are about to disrupt. Show your competitors and consumers alike that there is a new player in the field. That alone is often the key ingredient for the initial purchase–out of intrigue.
Final tip for steps two and three: the core values your new brand represents should be showcased in the name and identity. If you have not successfully done that yet, use the tag line to accomplish it.
4: Develop a Distinct Brand Atmosphere
Once you have established a solid platform, name, and identity design, you are ready to breathe life into your brand by expanding it through tangible materials and experiences. I call these your Brand Atmosphere® Touch Points. Each company has unique needs in terms of developing branded elements for print, display, digital, and environment. Regardless of which ones your strategy calls for, remember that all brands should focus on how their Brand Platform is integrated into each touch point through consistency in visual cues and messaging. Seemingly small details in layout and design can have a huge impact on your brand’s cohesiveness and success. As you are not a Coca-Cola or Apple (yet!), consistency and repetition in design are key to making an impact. Focus on a few well-designed marketing pieces to get your brand started. Never rush through creating Brand Atmosphere Touch Points. Now is the time to sweat the small stuff and impress your target through amazing design. After all, this is what it boils down to; everything you have come to achieve to this point, including above steps, is being represented and showcased to the audience through your outreach, and that’s when your Brand Atmosphere will make an impact.
Photo Credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/view_photog.php?photogid=1764