In today’s marketplace launching a new brand is difficult. Last year, we launched several brands for clients: some were product brands and one was a new corporate brand. From these experiences, we identified three keys to launching a new brand in today’s complex marketplace successfully.
Key #1: Consistency
Once the brand is designed and guidelines written, it’s key to have executional consistency across all your marketing and communications activities. At first glance this seems obvious, but the devil is in the details. Keeping a brand consistent is not just making sure the logo is the same. But ensuring the tone in editorial, the call to actions, the visual elements (eg., icons, photos), the brand story is all in alignment with each other and executed flawlessly.
One trick to ensure consistency is not only to develop brand guidelines, but also a library of pre-written copy, photography, iconography, and logos in a central repository for consistent execution across the marketing team. In larger teams, I recommend brand management systems to support execution at scale.
Key #2: Storytelling
A brand is a story – a promise. And as such the editorial for that brand needs to tell a story. Not only how the brand was created – an origin story,, but you need to build a story explaining its promise. The brand story must have a story arch containing: the past (the origin); the current; and the future. This should be a deliverable as part of the branding effort.
Once we have that story we need to repeat it over and over. It’s the one line in the press release, the first line in copy that explains the product or brand. This brand vision must be communicated regularly and as often as possible.
Key #3: Lexicon
Beyond the logo a brand is also the words we choose. The brand’s lexicon. Our word choice should reflect two things. The audience to whom we are speaking and the brand vision. It is what makes choosing the brand’s vocabulary so important. You need to align the interests of the internal and the external.
One exercise to think about this through is to have a 2-circle Venn diagram of the words used to describe what the brand (or product) is about and what it is meant to convey. One circle represents the external vocabulary (use search, social, pr to identify those) and the other circle represents the internal (what are the words we use to describe our brand – or product). There will be several words that fit into the overlap. These should be your key-words that are the cornerstone of your brand’s vocabulary.