Whether you’re rebranding an existing organization or revealing a never-before-seen product line, the brand launch is one of the most exciting and stressful times in the life of a marketer. You only have one opportunity to make that initial splash and you want to make the most of it. Even if you’ve done it a million times before, it always feels like you might be forgetting something.
To help put these concerns to rest and ensure you avoid mistakes that are so easy to make in the midst of all the excitement, we’ve put together a few do’s and don’ts based on some of the things we’ve learned over the years. Starting with the biggest (and most often overlooked) don’t.
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Don’t Launch Internally and Externally at the Same Time
Your internal audience is a critical player in your brand launch. They need to be on board from the beginning, or it all falls apart. By launching internally first you build employee support and lay a foundation for consistency across all communications and customer experiences.
You only have one opportunity to make that initial splash and you want to make the most of it.
Seven to ten days before your external launch, introduce your brand to your internal players. This will give all your employees — from the CEO to customer support — the opportunity to start using the brand, understanding the guidelines, and getting comfortable with the brand story, so they can serve as enthusiastic brand advocates during the external rollout.
The Internal Brand Launch
Do: Launch at the Same Time Across Every Location
If your organization has offices, storefronts, warehouses, call centers, etc., at different locations, you need to make sure you’re coordinating your internal brand launch efforts at all locations simultaneously. This will minimize confusion both on behalf of your employees and, in the long run, your external audiences. Plus, by onboarding all locations at the same time, you’ll ensure everyone feels included in the launch.
Don’t: Expect Immediate Change
Even if you’re careful in making sure everyone is engaged in the new brand, you can’t expect employee culture to change overnight. Be understanding of adjustment pains. Patiently reinforce the brand consistently and the culture will get there.
Do: Prepare Them for Questions
One of the biggest benefits to the internal launch is that it readies your staff to help message out the change to your external audiences. In addition to arming key players with the brand guidelines and other elements, you should put together an FAQ document that prepares them to accurately and consistently answer any questions customers may have as you move into the external launch.
The External Brand Rollout
Do: Plan Plan Plan
You’ve put a lot of thought into your new brand. Conducted research. Executed iteration after iteration. Got buy-in from your key stakeholders. You should bring that same level of strategy to your brand launch. Put together a rollout calendar that takes you from the internal launch all the way to the big day. Make checklists of all the channels impacted by the new brand. Develop a narrative for the rebrand itself. Don’t make a move until you’ve documented each step of the launch.
Do: Know Your Audience
As you develop a plan and a brand launch story, consider how each of your audiences will be impacted by the rebrand. Some loyal customers may hold an emotional connection to the original branding. Some may be curious about what this means for their experience with your brand. Some may be over the moon and some may be indifferent. As you message out the new brand, you’ll want to make sure you’re accounting for all these different perspectives while being sensitive to their connection to your brand.
When your brand is ready to go it can be tempting to start rolling things out as soon as possible. Everyone’s champing at the bit, eager to start using the new elements. But nothing spoils an exciting new brand like a haphazard launch. Pick a hard start date that gives you enough time to update all your externally facing elements before the changeover. Every touchpoint should reflect the new look, feel and voice from the moment you pull back the curtain.
Do: Build Anticipation and Pomp
This is an exciting time for your organization. Make sure your external audiences are tapped into the the thrill of this big change. Tease out small elements of your new brand across your social channels, website, and email communications. Get them excited to see the final result of your months of hard work. Then, on launch day, have a plan to reveal the new brand with some revelry. Host a reveal ceremony, give out swag with the new branding on your social channels, put together a sizzle reel. Anything you can think of to lend a little pomp to the circumstance.
Do: Have Fun
Planning a brand launch is a lot of (important) work, and the lead up can be an intense time, but there’s also room to have a little fun with it. It’s not every day you have big, exciting developments to celebrate with both internal and external audiences. Take a moment to sit back and enjoy all your hard work. You’ve earned it.