Congratulations! Your months and years of hard work are about to pay off because stuff’s about to get real! You’re finally ready to release your brand to the world and watch it take flight.
But before you hit the green button too quickly, don’t forget to take a moment, or a few moments, to think about your brand’s reputation, social media, digital advertising, publicity and buzz. Executed right, these tactics can take your launch to a whole other level. Failure to give these tactics some thought could sink your brand quicker than quicksand.
Ready to explore your options? Here are seven tips for to get you started on the road to a successful launch:
Build social buzz –
Begin building your social channels months before you plan to launch your brand. Why? Because it creates anticipation for an audience that is already interested in your brand. On Q is in the midst of a product launch that includes everything from media relations to influencer relation and digital advertising. Building a follower base through social media for this particular client started approximately eight months ago. Now that our client is ready to launch, there’s a ready and captive audience which means the stage has been set for showtime. They are already listening to what you have to say, liking and commenting on your brand and are waiting with bated breath for your product to drop.
Strategize, but be flexible –
In the world of PR, a strategy is like a roadmap, guiding a team with a common goal towards a desired outcome. Creating a roadmap for your launch can mean the difference between staying on track or getting derailed by the many inevitable distractions that pop up when introducing a new product or service. On the flip side, what some companies fail to see is the danger of being too rigid with your strategy. It’s a fine balance. If you’re working with PR experts, it’s their job to help keep you on track. These trained professionals can also keep an eye out for the obvious opportunities that are likely to arise as you launch and assess which opportunities to pursue.
Test, test then test again –
Have you put your product through rigorous testing to ensure it is ready for market? For example, if the product is sold online, have the payment methods been checked to ensure there are no bugs or glitches? While it’s ideal to get the word out about your brand’s arrival to the market several weeks before the official launch, you also want to ensure positive feedback. Give yourself at least a six-week buffer between the time the product is fully available and the time you begin to spread the word about it. Social and traditional media can be pretty unforgiving if issues arise. Make sure you iron out all the kinks before you begin to spread the word.
Along the same lines, if your product is still waiting to officially receive the green light, or it’s still going through customs (in the case of imports), you’re better off waiting to get the all clear before putting an official launch date in the calendar. You don’t want your audience to get excited about a product they can’t get.
Get your story straight
What sets a product a part from a brand is the story line. Understanding the story you want to convey to the masses about your brand and then creating key messages that help to convey that story is one of the key pieces of earning positive PR. If yours is a rags to riches story, a tale of inspiration and perseverance or an overnight success, conveying your brands story is what will make it interesting to your audience. Once you figure out your story and create your key messages, it will be easier to create a more seamless brand.
Timing is everything –
So your product has gone through all the checks and balances. It’s ready to hit store shelves and social feeds. Before you hit the green button, consider timing. There are many brands vying for the same attention. Is there a product that’s in the process of launching? Is there a major event that will take away the media spotlight? (TIFF anyone?) What about the story ideas you’re pitching? Would your product do better in the winter time as opposed to spring? Just because you’re ready doesn’t mean the world is. A well-informed strategy will take all of these factors into consideration and suggest the best timing possible for the success of your launch.
Make it an event –
Some companies will opt out of making a big splash in the first year, which is not a bad idea. Budgets are tight, learning curves are steep and there are only 24 hours in a day. But once your brand has taken off, making it stand out, coveted event that offers a special experience to bloggers, influencers and media can elevate your profile substantially. Think about it, having access to all these influential people in one room, at one time. The payoff is well worth the investment.
Launching a brand is like going back to school –
Embrace the journey and be ready to learn – When I was a journalist reporting on the news of the day, I had to accept lessons as they came my way and without hesitation. Imagine being live on air and asking for a take two. There’s no such thing in live TV. I made many mistakes in my day but in most of those cases, I was the only one aware of that mistake. Likewise, when launching a brand, be sure to take the lessons presented to you and just run with it because the truth is, mistakes are just lessons waiting to be learned.
Good luck with your brand launch and remember, we’re always here if you need us!