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Launch! How to Execute a Breakthrough Brand Rollout

Significant effort and resources go into rebranding. Not only do companies spend countless hours debating and developing their new brand strategy and message platform, but also they spend significant resources on each and every brand element: new logo, tagline, marketing materials, sales presentations, website redesign, digital templates and more.

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Your Brand Toolbox

Building a strong brand is anything but easy. To assist you with the entire process – from conducting your brand audit through rebranding, we’ve developed this Brand Toolbox.

In fact, so much energy goes into brand development that many firms find themselves out of steam when it’s finally time to officially launch. And even those with enthusiasm to spare are often at a loss when it comes to designing a winning rollout strategy – after all, relaunching a brand is not a frequent undertaking, and it’s not an easy undertaking either.

Countless components and activities must be thought through and carefully orchestrated. Many audiences need to be introduced to the new brand, including internal audiences who are essential for the success of the launch, but are often forgotten. The quantity and complexity of decisions and actions that are required can turn a brand rollout into a bit of a nightmare!

Follow our tips and make sure your rebranding launch is effective and executed without a hitch.

Give Yourself Enough Time

Brand rollout campaigns have lots of moving pieces, and many of the activities involved, such as public relations, require significant lead time. Your rollout planning should begin at the very early stages of the rebranding process so you have enough time both to strategize and execute.

Prepare All Brand Touchpoints

Before you can pull the switch on the new brand and introduce it to the world, all of your company’s marketing communications, sales materials, print and digital templates, corporate environments, signage, vehicles, promotional and outreach materials and more – everything that you use to communicate internally and externally at every brand touchpoint – need to be updated. Work backward from the desired launch date to ensure you allow ample time for both design and production, including printing and manufacturing when needed.

Identify All Audiences and the “Need-to-Know” Sequence

This is the single most important step for making sure that nothing falls through the cracks.

  • Make sure you’ve identified all internal and external audiences, which may include your board, donors, partners, vendors, employees, current and past clients, industry, media, community and more.
  • Determine which stakeholders will require more a personalized approach, and more importantly, identify the order in which they will need to be introduced to the new brand. Internal audiences are always first; although the board, leadership and select employees will likely be part of the rebranding process, the rest of the organization will need to understand and embrace the new brand before it’s revealed to the outside world.
  • In determining order, consider the depth of your relationships. For example, your key customers, select partners or top sponsors and donors will need to know right after internal players and before the general public.
  • Think about the best way to reach each audience group. For example, plan a company “all-hands” meeting followed by a Q&A session for your internal brand launch. Consider making personal calls to key customers and partners – this is a great opportunity not only to mitigate risk but also to add a personal touch that will help deepen those relationships.

Develop Your Rebrand Story and Launch Idea

Once you’ve identified your brand launch audiences and the best way to reach each one, take a step back and think about how to tell your rebrand story in a way that will engage audiences and demonstrate value. While you may want to discuss why your company has taken this new path with its brand, keep in mind that your message needs to be for and about your target audiences – the value your rebrand has for them. Then develop a single idea that you can carry through all launch communications but customize for target audiences and platforms.

Design a Communication Plan for Each Audience

With your target audience and priorities clearly defined and your rebrand story and launch idea in hand, you are ready to plan out the launch campaigns for each audience. Each audience should have its own communications plan with release dates to ensure that you allow adequate time to create all communications.

The deliverables may include writing scripts for phone calls, preparing formal letters, designing email announcements for your general list, writing social media posts – everything you’ve outlined in your detailed communication plan for each audience.

Create a Final Detailed Launch Calendar

Based on the communication plan for each target audience, plot out all launch deliverables on a single launch timeline – including every step of the communication process for each audience and the exact communications being delivered.

Additional (Often Forgotten) Considerations for a Disaster-Free Rollout

  • Don’t jump the gun. Even though all materials must be prepared in advance, you don’t want to dilute the “big reveal” by going public with a new email signature or by changing your social media pages too early. Make sure to give yourself enough time to do the last check, and don’t risk leaking the new brand to the public before the official launch.
  • Overcommunicate with all audiences. One email will not do the trick; often it takes up to six months for a rebrand to be fully entrenched in a target audience’s minds.
  • Launch internally with a big splash type of event. This not only makes your employees feel in the know, but also, when done well, it truly vests them in the new brand and turns them into effective brand ambassadors going forward.
  • Don’t let geography issues deflate the impact of your internal launch. If you have multiple offices, consider hosting a series of lunch-and-learn events after the official launch. This not only will help employees in distant locations feel more connected to the rollout, but also it will deepen the entire team’s understanding of the rebrand so that the employees can communicate the story even better. Prepare FAQs related to the brand launch story specifically for the launch, and make sure all internal stakeholders know how to answer the questions customers and others will undoubtedly ask.
  • If you are going through a name change as part of your rebrand, you may need to develop a strategy for phasing out the old name – for example, referencing it as “formerly” for a short period of time following the brand launch. An overnight switch is often best and most memorable, but in certain circumstances, such as a change in ownership, it is better to make the change incrementally.
  • Consider creating an internal website complete with information about the new brand and related materials for existing and new employees. In the future, this internal resource can be used as part of your onboarding process.

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At Substance151, we develop strong brand foundations and breakthrough brand rollouts that ensure nothing falls through the cracks. Contact us at 410-732-8379 or brand@substance151.com to find out how we can help you create a memorable, effective launch and make a mark with your new brand.