Launching your brand is arguably the most important part of building your company. The process of introducing yourself to your target market is an activity that can make all the difference in your company’s future. An unsuccessful launch can be difficult, if not impossible, to overcome. It is imperative that you devise a launch strategy that will maximize your company’s chances of success.
Ask ten different entrepreneurs about launching your business successfully and you will likely get ten different answers. There are several universal truths, however, that can get you started on the right foot. Learn from those that have gone before you. Study companies that have success rates comparable to what you want to accomplish. Following in the footsteps of the experts is always a fruitful activity. Successful brand launches can provide us with those footsteps.
If you are preparing to launch your brand, the following tips can help ensure that you get it right the first time. After all, you might not get another chance.\
Immerse yourself in the target market
“The golden rule for every business man is this: 'Put yourself in your customer's place’.” ~ Orison Swett Marden
Defining and then understanding your target market is paramount. All the marketing in the world is useless if you are not directing it at the correct people. Don’t waste your time or your efforts. Understand as much as you can about your potential customers. Who are they? What do they value? What are the key attributes of their lifestyle? There are stories of entrepreneurs that tried to live like their target market. Some even took part-time jobs within the industry just to understand it through the eyes of the customer. The more you know, the better off you will be.
If you are vague as you define your target market, you will likely find your efforts wasted. Be specific. For example, if you are a women’s clothing store, don’t define your target market as middle-aged women. Instead, a strong definition might be professional, middle-class women between the ages of 30-60 who are looking for clothing comfortable clothing that is sophisticated yet practical.
Conduct brand research
“Research is about engaging in a conversation with a brand.” ~ Matthew Rhodes
Nobody goes into a brand launch without first doing their due diligence – at least nobody that is successful. The internet has given us a plethora of information at our fingertips. There is no excuse for not understanding your industry. Study books, journals, articles, blogs, or anything that helps you expand your knowledge base. Find your competitors and study them. Determine what you are up against. Don’t go into your launch blind or you will more than likely remain in the dark.
Network, network, network
“Effective networking isn't a result of luck - it requires hard work and persistence.” ~ Lewis Howes
Successful business is all about relationships – with your target market as explained above and with other businesses in your industry. Very few companies have been successful when led by a lone-wolf. Instead, leaders that utilize relationships tend to understand both the market and the industry on a deeper level. Don’t forget to utilize social media as well. In today’s business environment, technology plays an important part in networking.
It is also useful to find yourself a mentor, somebody that you can lean on for advice, guidance, and encouragement. Find a business that you respect and establish that type of relationship. Having someone to turn to can be a valuable resource as you attempt to launch your brand.
Develop a list of goals
“The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started in breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into smaller manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.” ~ Mark Twain
Define the stages of your launch plan and set appropriate goals. Start small and reward yourself and your employees for meeting each goal. Make sure your goals are progressive, reasonable, and measurable and celebrate your accomplishments. If you are relying heavily on social media, for example, a small goal could be to get 1000 “likes.” As you build your brand, goals could include number of repeat customers, sales, profits, etc.
“If you dare nothing, then when the day is over, nothing is all you will have gained.” ~Neil Gaiman
The most successful companies got where they are by taking risks. Playing it safe rarely leads to groundbreaking results. That doesn’t mean that you need to throw out all caution and jump blindly into the unknown. It does mean, however, that you will need to make decisions that are frightening and hold no guarantees. Do your homework and then take a chance.
“Your premium brand had better be delivering something special, or it’s not going to get the business.” ~ Warren Buffett
Possibly one of the most important steps in the brand launch process is establishing differentiation. If you present a company that your customers have seen over and over, there will be no reason for them to give you their business. Instead, highlight what makes your company different from the crowd. What intangible qualities do you have the others don’t? Why should your target market choose you? If you don’t establish differentiation, you can easily be lost in the crowd.
Hire a good team
“The secret to successful hiring is this. Look for the people who want to change the world.” Marc Benioff, Salesforce CEO
You may be the leader of your business, but you will succeed or fail based on the team that stands behind you. Hire people that understand your vision. Surround yourself with professionals that are willing to stand by your products/services and help you launch your brand successfully. You may be the driver of your business, but your team are the ones that make it run. Set high expectations and then give them the tools to achieve them.
Avoid launch delays
“Usage is like oxygen. That means every moment you’re working on something without it being public, it’s actually dying, deprived of the oxygen of the real world.” Matt Mullenweg, Founding Developer of WordPress
Achieving a successful launch requires planning. The last thing you want to do is attempt to launch your brand prematurely. The credibility of your brand depends on your ability to avoid launch delays. It doesn’t matter how excited your target market is to try your product/service if they aren’t able to because of poor planning on your end.
You can do it
“I’m convinced that about half of what separates the successful entrepreneur from the non-successful ones is pure perseverance.” ~ Steve Jobs
Launching your brand successfully takes hard work, planning, and a never-say-die attitude. The process can make or break your business, so do your homework and understand what you are getting into. Most of all, don’t give up. Imagine where we’d be today had Jobs given up. Thankfully, he didn’t.