Ready for brand liftoff? To ensure that you’ve covered all your bases to launch your brand and maintain its visibility, here are some key “musts” to help guide you through.
Define Mission / Inspiration - What’s the goal of your brand? What do you want people to know about you? Define what inspires your brand and how you want your brand to be perceived to your consumer.
Determine Target Audience - It’s very important to know what your target consumer looks like so you can tailor your marketing efforts to your core audience. If helpful, spend time making up fictional characters that fit your profile and post them on your office wall. This makes your consumer “real” and often helps keep focus on your target.
Know Your Brand "No No's" - Have some clear rules on what you won’t allow for your brand - whether its visuals or verbiage. It’s important that your brand stays consistent and true to your essence.
Create a Domain Name - Your domain name will be the building block for your website and most of your social and digital marketing so its best to determine that up front.
Develop a Unique Logo - A unique logo is a great way to stand out in the marketplace and amongst your competitors. Be sure to create something that you feel is truly representative of your product.
Create Letterhead / Business Cards - You’ll want to send out correspondence on company letterhead, and be able to hand out your business card to potential clients with all your info in one place.
Find a Creative Working Spot - Pick a spot that works for you, but also where you know you will be the most productive. And change it up when you need to. New environments breed more creativity.
Pick Fonts / Colors / Templates - When establishing your brand guidelines (which are rules for your brand that manage perception and ensure consistency), you will need to determine the look, feel, color and type style that you want to commit to using moving forward. This is to help people recognize you among your competitors.
Build A Database - Establishing an email funnel will help build your database. This is a process that will take some time, however sending notes and messages about your brand to your consumer via email will help keep you fresh in their minds, and knowledgeable of what you are providing.
Research the Competition - It’s important to understand what your competitor is doing, and how you can stand apart. Competition is healthy and understanding it can be a great way to position your brand as innovative.
Develop a Content Strategy - A content strategy can range from video content, social content, digital, email - really anything that is putting a message out there.
Develop a strategy that makes sense for your brand and that you are capable of at the moment - meaning if you don’t have the abilities to film a video, find a way to post something catchy on social media that fits your style. Build up to a larger content strategy as you go.
Define a Writing Style and Voice - This is important to keep consistent so people can recognize your brand in a sea of brands. Make sure that your writing feels similar every time you put out a message (meaning if your brand has more of a casual vibe, make sure your voice sounds conversational and not as formal).
Build a Brand Word Bank - A brand word bank helps you stay true to your brand to ensure that your messaging is abiding by these words. It’s also helpful to have a word bank put together so when you are speaking to consumers, you have some key terms that you can stick with.
Establish Your Core Values - By establishing core values, you let your consumer know what you stand for, what you believe in, and what you strive to be. This helps align you with consumers who have similar values, and want to be involved with brands that instill those same values. This is a great way to establish a fan base.
Develop a Website - If you aren’t tech savvy, don’t panic. Platforms like Wix are great for people who haven’t developed a website before, as they offer a step by step process, as well as thorough tech support, to help guide you along the way. Don’t be afraid to dive in and try it.
Build Out Social Channels - In this new age of technology and media, social platforms are a great way to get your message out in the most cost efficient way, and to be able to track how many people are seeing what you are putting out. This way you are able to change up your strategy if you aren’t seeing the response you want, or add onto something that is building momentum. Make sure to have a presence on as many platforms as possible to ensure a wide range of people see it, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest to name a few.
Fresh Photography - If you aren’t in the position to hire a professional photographer right away, a good cell phone will do the trick. Take some photos that represent your brand or the messaging you want to put out there initially. As you build your brand, you can plan for a professional shoot down the way.
Write Blogs / Studies / Articles - People want to hear your voice. Be sure to write articles, posts, blogs, and report trends on what makes sense to your brand. This is a great opportunity to voice your opinion and perspective on newsworthy items, and to also educate your consumer on your brand offerings in a conversational way.
Build A Community / Followers - Similar to building a email database, also try and build a group of loyal followers who you can cater some of your messaging to. These could be potential clients or just people who look to your voice for guidance who could eventually become clients. The more people are talking about you and your messaging, the more it can positively impact your brand.
Establish Brand Packaging - When you are sending out materials or correspondence on your brand, it's important to establish what that brand looks like so people can recognize it, and know what to expect.
Track Your Budget - Sites like QuickBooks are excellent ways to track your budget when you are first starting out. Their tools and tutorials offer guidance to ensure that you are tracking your expenses. If your business is growing quickly, it may be best to find an accountant to help with your bookkeeping needs.
Develop A Digital Strategy -SEO, Paid Search, Responsive Display and Google Ads all play a part of your digital strategy. The best way to become knowledgeable about a digital strategy is to research each of the methods so you have the best understanding of where you think you should spend some ad dollars for your brand. In the beginning stages, boosting posts on Facebook or Instagram are a great way to start your digital messaging.
Build out a Publicity Plan - When your brand has a strong message that you want to put out into the marketplace, it’s a good idea to develop a strategy when dealing with the media. You want to ensure that your message is distributed in the most effective way. It’s helpful to have a PR company to help aid you with the important messages, but if that’s not in the cards yet, plan your messaging in a way to make statements via your social channels in the hopes that it catches on with the community.
Prep A Successful Launch - When you decide it's time to “go to market”, meaning you are ready to announce to the world that “you are live and ready to thrive”, go through all the steps to make sure you are prepared for what’s to come. With your launch, make sure that your message is clear and concise, and leaves little room for interpretation. Be ready for what the universe could send back your way. You may get more attention than you thought! Whatever the outcome, just ensure that you’ve put all the proper steps in motion to set yourself and your brand, up for a successful journey ahead.