Previously, Nadine, our Chief of Strategy, shared a series of branding articles to get you started on building and maintaining a consistent identity. Now that you have your branding basics sorted out, what’s the next step?
Be it introducing a new brand, rebranding your business or announcing a merger, you want to be able to bring your business to the market. To achieve that, you can consider whether to roll out a soft launch or an official launch to market your brand.
Soft launch vs hard (or official) launch
First things first, let’s establish the difference between a soft launch and an official one.
When it comes to soft launch, it’s usually because you want to:
- Launch a new company, product or service
- Target a small, but niche audience
- Roll out your brand quietly, either by invite only or allowing people to discover it on their own
Typically, brands opt for a soft launch in order to learn more about their target market before aiming for a hard launch. Through the insights gathered, adjustments can be made and marketing efforts can be refined e.g. brand positioning, target audience development and messaging (these go a long way!) in preparation for an official launch.
But as with other matters, a soft launch comes with its pros and cons too.
Through a soft launch, a brand is able to create value by learning more about their product users or consumers. Moreover, brands are also able to organise a hard launch at a later date, tapping on feedback and insights gathered to make the official launch stronger.
This may be more applicable for businesses planning a rebrand or merger, but if your brand already has an existing customer or follower base, creating hype about a new brand through official launches may cause confusion. And you might even see your followers dropping off on social media platforms in particular. So for brands like this, a soft launch might just be the way to go.
But, on the downside, you may take a longer time to roll out your brand and, thus, lose out on competitive advantage as competitor brands generate more “noise” by launching theirs with a bang.
HARD (OR OFFICIAL) LAUNCH
As for a hard launch, it’s usually for brands which look at:
- A public, or even grand, reveal of a new company, product or service
- Generating awareness and sales quickly
- Working towards a pre-scheduled date of launch for all marketing and sales collateral and external communications to go “live”
Conversely, the good thing about going with a hard launch is the amount of buzz a brand can generate in (re-)introducing itself to the market. Riding on this awareness, brands are then able to gain competitive advantage and drive sales.
However, this often involves a rigorous marketing plan, with more intense planning over a shorter period of time. Brands might even have to look into engaging a public relations agency to garner pre-launch interest, which may be costly depending on the publicity efforts involved. Moreover, working on a tight schedule also doesn’t leave brands with much control or flexibility in the case of a delay.
With pros and cons to both types of launches, the decision then boils down to your objectives in a brand launch, as well as any key considerations that you may have. Nailing this down would then allow a better allocation of resources, in terms of budget and manpower.
Another way is also to look at the existing clients in your customer base and consider the type of relationship your brand has with them. Communicating a “new brand” to these current clients is not an easy feat and requires a strategic brand communications plan to “get them to “buy in” to the new brand”.
Tip: Who would know your clients better than you do? Perhaps it would help to think about what’s the best way to communicate this change to them. It could be in the form of a simple EDM, or even a fancy invite to the launch event – the list simply goes on!
Wait! It's not the end, yet
Unfortunately, it doesn’t just end at your launch. In fact, the launch of your brand marks the start of another journey!
So, what happens after the launch? Well, this makes the best time to think about how you can capitalise your launch efforts and convert them into sales. To facilitate lead generation, your post-launch activities will require a follow-up marketing strategy that complements your launch messaging to keep things rolling – while staying true to your brand, of course!
And that’s it! If you liked this article, follow our socials here and look out for the next article in this “How to launch” series, where we continue to share more about introducing your new brand. We’ll also be featuring some of these clients we worked with on their rebranding, so you won’t want to miss that out – see you in our next one!