A brand’s first moment of encounter with its consumer is as important as the first impression in human relationships. And the heroes of this determinative moment are launch campaigns.
When one thinks about the number of brands and products that touch our lives today, it is true success across all categories to be able to create excitement for the new brands/products to be introduced to the market. On the other hand, launch campaigns greatly impact the future success of the brand/product. Launching without doing the necessary preparations is bound to result in stilbirth.
Research conducted by FutureBright for several brands also demonstrates that launch campaigns spark notable curiosity in the market and that they trigger consumers to reach the brand/product via various channels. Therefore, managing the launch period successfully matters as much as the brand/product itself.
How Can We Tell A Good Launch?
Introducing a new brand/product to the market by definition means getting to know new markets and consumer audiences. This process can impact companies in many areas from new technological platforms to new sales channels. Therefore, a good launch, besides the resources and experience at hand, requires new analyses, market research, and new teams before anything.
A successful launch asks for phased planning and a strategy that aims to increase the impact at each phase. Even if this is a completely separate strategy than the brand’s own, synergy also matters for the brand’s success. The most important goal must be to have brand and launch strategies support each other, and where these differ, to have the launch carry the main brand forward towards the newly determined positioning.
Launch in a way means to disseminate the big news, i.e. preparations that begin weeks in advance and executions that follow after the big day. PR activities are critical for managing public opinion before and after the launch, augmenting the energy when the big day nears, and keeping it burning afterwards. The curiosity needs to be constantly kept alive by the brand representatives who feed the press with product/brand clues, with photos and visuals that will evoke excitement, and with “coming soon” news.
It is very important that the product/brand exhibits an intense presence following the campaign. It is necessary to create awareness and visibility for the campaign and to distribute the offered news to the whole target audience. In order to achieve this, placing the launch product/brand in the spot light throughout the period; its accessibility via points of sale; and creation of resources for consumers via opinion leaders – matter at least as much as announcing the campaign.
Moreover, free demos, creating experience opportunities via videos and testers, creating social media dialogues and WOM about the product/brand, are among factors that support the launch.
A brand that has recently ran the launch period successfully from the beginning to the end and that has well managed follow-up, is Fiat...
In November 2015, Fiat launched its new sedan model with the “Groundbreaking Sedan” positioning. This campaign has a different tonality from that of Fiat’s usual and according to FutureBright’s November 2015 Ad Research Report, it scores well above the average of peer ads in terms of message communication, ad liking, ad recall rates, and ease of understanding.
While the launch gives signals that it will be contributing to the brand image, its clarity in describing the product and conveying new information has also scored sales success.
What To Consider For A Successful Launch:
1. Find Your Reason For Existence
Everyday, hundreds of brands touch our lives. So why does this new product/brand that is being launched, exist? What kind of a difference does it make within the category and which ideal does it defend? How does it support your main brand ideal? Which inner motivation and feeling does it address? Why should consumers try a product/brand that was not a part of their lives until this day? Find the answers to these questions for the brand/product to be launched and plan the launch so that your claims will be fulfilled.
2. Do Not Focus On the Product But The Value It Creates
No matter how revolutionary the functional qualities of the new product are, these can be explored by the consumer afterwards as well. Therefore, during the launch, rather than emphasizing the features that the consumer can explore on his own, focus on how the product impacts his life and or the value you create in his life with this product.
3. Know The Competition and Establish The Brand Identity For The Sub-Brand Launch
If a new product/brand is being launched under the main one, one of the most important preparations is getting to know your new field of competition and your consumer audience... Meanwhile, the only feature that will differentiate you from others may be different from that of the main brand’s. When preparing for the launch, think beyond the main brand’s identity; determine the differentiating brand character and sentiment for your new sub-brand.
4. Do Not Lose Your Existing Consumers
Your new brand/product positioning should not offend your existing consumers; but on the contrary, it should offer them something new to be proud of. During the launch period, make sure your old consumers are thrilled by your novelties and while carrying your brand to the desired positioning, convert them into volunteer brand ambassadors.