Launching a new brand not only takes vision, leadership, and commitment—it also takes a financial investment.
When the economy collapsed at the end of 2008, many companies went in to panic mode, cutting budgets which led to huge layoffs, bankruptcies and new methodologies. Some of the changes have proven highly effective. I don’t believe that social media would be the new revolution if companies hadn’t been forced to look at alternate tactics to reach customers. Social media has proven to be an effective and less costly way to advertise. But, it is still only a piece of the larger, holistic marketing plan. Everyone involved with the various aspects of launching a new brand must be focused on the singular goal, to support the product or company’s Unique Selling Proposition (USP). Sure, it’s often more fun to work in a luxury sect since there tend to be higher budgets involved but it’s often more challenging and rewarding to exercise your creative thinking beyond its max when a budget is tight.
Having recently worked with a new brand launch, I confirmed these 10 key rules that hold true regardless of economic factors:
- The “wow” factor is what differentiates your brand from the rest. How that “wow” is executed, then perceived equates directly to the brand’s value, loyalty and growth.
- It takes a strong and accountable leader to communicate and execute a brand vision.
- If you cut too many corners, you’ll end up with a circle. You get what you pay for. Understand the consequences of squeezing budgets by hiring the lowest bidder.
- Build loyalty within the team through consistent communication.
- Know your target audience and your other important stakeholders. It’s not about you. It’s about them.
- A positive attitude goes a long way. Respect goes a long way.
- Everyone must be profitable to stay in the game, otherwise there won’t be a next time.
- Allow for contingencies when planning your budget. Create realistic, yet quantifiable goals to measure and monitor your spends.
- There is a cycle to everything. Be sure you have a closed loop.
- Finally, a new logo does not make a brand, nor can it happen overnight. The cumulative brand touchpoints make up a brand – experiential, tough, color, essence, service, consistency, value — and a slew of others.
People, service, trust, and authenticity are probably the most important aspect of delivering the brand, and yet often neglected. Now more than ever, it’s a buyer’s market. Service can tip the scale in your favor. Brand messaging is a critical part of training, from the way the phone is answered, a customer is greeted, and email is responded to, the clothes you and your staff wear, and even the length of time they’re put on hold.
According to author Gregg Lederman, your company’s marketing won’t be successful unless employees can (and will) deliver upon the brand promises made.
Brand Integrity is the point where your company achieves its desired brand image; when employees, customers, partners, and the market understand, believe, and experience that you are who you say you are.
An “essence” by definition is intangible, so a brand essence in turn is the intangible word that defines your brand. For Disney, the word is “magical.” For Volvo, it’s “Safety”. All of the attributes that create and sustain a strong brand also incite an emotion. The experiential interaction with a brand defines its brand essence. Most often, powerful brand essences are rooted in a fundamental customer need where the brand can deliver in response to that need.
The outward expression of the brand, including its name and visual appearance. The brand’s identity is its fundamental means of consumer recognition and symbolizes the brand’s differentiation from competitors. Brands need to refresh their “mark” or identity over time to stay current. Sometimes, a brand’s identity is so ingrained that any change causes an outcry, such as GAP’s revised identity launch in 2010. Often, subtle changes go unnoticed such as Starbucks or Coca Cola because they maintained key identifying factors that define their mark — from shape, font, color and proportion.
Of course, summing up what makes a brand a brand isn’t as simple as this post, but hopefully, it provides a few insights. At Capstone, we’ve done hundreds of logos and brand identities over our 30 years in business, for a variety of industries, small and Fortune 100s — so if you have a question, we’re happy to help. Need a quote? We can assist in defining the most important aspects based on your goals.