I recently received a call from a good friend who has an amazing brand idea for a unique perspective in a male dominated field. She’s well connected, she’s smart, she’s beautiful, she’s forward thinking, she’s definitely one of my inspirations and she called me talk about launching a new brand…to say I felt honored is an understatement. As we discussed her idea, there were a few “nuggets” she took away from the conversation, and I thought, if she found those things useful, I’m sure our readers at Jali will too!
So, here are five important things to remember as you plan your brand launch.
1. REAL IS RELEVANT
We’ve said this before in a previous post, but it is so true—EVERYTHING IS RELEVANT. Don’t be afraid to infuse real yourself and your real experiences into your brand. You have a unique perspective on the industry, and as you develop your brand your story will inform the tone of your content. Using real-life examples not only helps to solidify your position as an expert in the field, it is the best way to develop interesting content and appeal to your target audience.
Research, analytics, infographics and news blurbs are all amazing resources for content, but your goal is not to simply regurgitate news and stats, your goal is to engage and interest your audience. When your brand is authentic, you increase the likelihood of connecting with your readers, viewers and/or listeners.
ACTION: Make a bulleted list of why you feel you’re qualified to bring your idea to market. Tell someone close to you the stories of different times when you actually handled those situations. These will be the building blocks from which you will develop your content.
2. TAP YOUR TARGET
Who do you want to read, watch or listen to the information you share? Dig deeper than how old you want them to be, what race or ethnicity, what socioeconomic status, or what profession you want them to have. Think about how you want them to THINK. How you want them to FEEL once they’ve taken in your information. What you want them to DO when it’s over.
ACTION: More than the demographics, you want to think about the PSYCHOgraphics of your target audience. What are their lives like? Where do they enjoy hanging out? Where do they enjoy getting their news? How do they like to receive information?
If you say “I want to appeal to men between the ages of 18-25,” you have to take that one step further and learn more about men 18-25. Ask the questions above, if they hang out on X social media platform, how can you make sure your brand maximizes its presence on that platform? You also have to ask yourself why do you want to appeal to them. Do you want to inspire them? Or do you want them to buy your product or service? (I’d even suggest you ask yourself if your demographic can actually afford your product or service.) As you answer these questions, this will also help you in developing the of your brand.
3. TALK YOUR TONE
Once you know the story you want to tell and to whom you want to tell it, you have to think about the best way to communicate that story to make sure it sticks. Is your brand fun? Creative? Flirty? Satirical? Serious? Straight-laced?
Is your industry serious, but you’re a funny guy/gal? Is your industry entertaining, but you want to show the serious side?
Again, asking yourself how you want your audience to feel and what you want them know while ingesting your content, and then what you want them to do once they’ve finished.
ACTION: Whether you are planning to develop your brand through video content, a podcast, a blog, or through other means, I suggest recording yourself as you deliver the information. It doesn’t have to be (and I would even say it shouldn’t be) a fancy studio recording, just jot down a few major points you want to get across and then record yourself talking about it.
Do you deliver the information in a humorous tone? Would you be funny to anyone besides yourself? Are you serious? Maybe too serious? Does your tone match the information? Does your tone feel authentic?
4. STYLE IN SYNC
Understanding the what, the who, the how of your brand idea is key before launching your brand. What’s also important, is the style of your brand, and being sure the style communicates the authentic tone you plan to establish. Ask yourself do the brand name, logo, and colors, match the tone you’re establishing?
If your brand’s content takes on a serious tone, does a bobble head, cartoon version of yourself as the logo make sense?
If your tone is fun or creative, does a black and white minimalistic logo make sense?
I’m not saying it does or doesn’t, I am suggesting that you ask yourself and those around to help you decide on your style.
ACTION: And I say this with CAUTION. Take time and care when selecting your design—but DO NOT TAKE MONTHS! Give yourself a 2-4 week window to decide on the design and colors. Shop it around to 5-7 friends, colleagues and associates whose opinions you trust, make some edits with your designer and then KEEP IT MOVING! I say this sincerely, if you’re not careful you will delay your launch over things like this, and it’s an easy thing to get caught up on. It’s a cushy crutch that could help you delay moving forward. Don’t let it!
5. LABOR BEFORE LAUNCH
Develop as much content as you can BEFORE you launch your brand. I’ve had conversations with many web developers who tell me countless stories about clients who have come to them needing a website, but fail to launch for months because they have no content.
Many people feel like you have to at least have website a dotcom placeholder in the world wide web. I would argue that if you don’t have at least a statement about yourself, your experience and the story behind your brand—you just forgo having a website altogether until you get those things.
I know I know, many may disagree with that. I’m not saying not to buy up that amazing domain name you’ve been thinking of, but what I am saying is to put yourself on a short leash. Having a website with your logo on the landing page, and nothing else is like owning a great house, planning a dinner party and the only piece of furniture you have is a mattress in an upstairs bedroom. It doesn’t make much sense to have people over. Promoting a website with no content doesn’t make a whole lot of sense either.
ACTION: Take some time to develop a brief statement about your services and your relevant experience. Have someone look it over, make your revisions and then throw that text on the site along with reliable contact info.
These are the things you need to keep in mind in the developmental stages of your brand—notice I say your brand, not your product or service, this is assuming you’ve already nailed down what you’re bringing to the marketplace.
Inevitably, something will change. You may find who you thought was your target audience is not (for example, you wanted to appeal to high powered executives who rack up frequent flyer miles on business trips, and you end up resonating with millennials who start travel blogs). And that’s OK. Change is good, change is a necessary part of growth. Ultimately, the goal of your brand will remain the same—even if you end up repackaging it a bit.