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Failure to Brand Launch

Five Ways Brand Launches Fail to Achieve Lift-Off

You’ve been tasked with leading an important branding project for your company. Visions of glory and kudos dance in your head. You look forward to the waves of adulation coming your way. Months later you’re exhausted and the kudos never came. Your brand launch became more of a brand meltdown.

What Went Wrong?

Allow us, dear reader, to offer up five of an almost infinite list of distinct possibilities.


1. You did it for the wrong reasons

If you are hoping to refresh a stagnant brand or launch a new one, you need to answer a few important questions. Start with this one – why are we doing this? Ultimately any brand project should help meet some sort of organizational objective or address a vexing business problem. If it doesn't improve something, achieve something or fix something, why would you do it? Just because your CEO has grown tired of some aspect of your brand (usually the name or logo) or, your board has made branding a priority doesn’t make it clear. Crave clarity! Know why you are heading down this road.

2. Your senior people were not invested

Any successful brand launch project we have been part of has always had the full support of the person at the top of the food chain. If your CEO, Board Chair or Chief Imperial Wizard is not fully invested and supportive of you and the branding project, you are going to have a hard time being successful. If your head honcho has your back then it will help you overcome the next frequent brand launch folly maker.

3. You didn't get buy-in

Getting buy-in starts at the beginning of any branding project. Be prepared to speak with your key people. Let them know why this branding project is happening and what you hope to achieve. Explain the process you are planning to follow. Invite their input at the beginning of the process. Let them know that their support and opinions are important. Make sure you are clear with them on the role you want them to play ( hint — micromanaging things isn’t one of them). Keep them informed along the way. Bring them in during key decision points. Make them feel part of the process. Infuse them with enthusiasm, they are your first brand champion recruits.

4. You started in the wrong place

This one is simple. After you are clear on why you are doing this, start with a brand strategy. Decide on your positioning. Determine your brand value. Craft a brand messaging platform. Fully understand all your key audiences and your true competition. Put down in writing the brand experience you want to deliver. Our brand strategy process has up to ten different steps. Don't even think of jumping into your brand identity (logo) before you have figured out a bunch of other things. We get it, logos are fun and creative. But they can also be incredibly contentious and tough to get consensus on. Unless you've done the groundwork ahead of time. That groundwork is a brand strategy.


5.  You got mangled by micro-managers

You're smart. You know what you're doing. Hopefully, you’ve recruited a team of equally smart and talented people for your brand project team. Beware the lurking micro-managers! These are the sort of folks who wordsmith everything endlessly. These are the ones that nitpick on every element of your plan. They are the ones that will decide they can design your new logo using PowerPoint. They can bring you and your team to its knees. They can delay your project and ensure that your brand launch fizzles. Recognize micromanagement early. Nip it in the bud quickly and diplomatically. If you need help curtailing this craziness, go to the person at the top. If the person at the top is the one doing the micromanaging, well that's another subject altogether!

Any of these brand launch scenarios sound familiar? We’d love to hear your comments.

In the early stages of a branding project? — We’d love to help. Why not get in touch?

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Unabashed words guy, branding evangelist and voracious reader of anything to do with marketing, branding, creativity and design.