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An activation plan is part of the brand’s overall strategy and, if thoughtfully crafted, allows the brand to drive action and engagement across different levels of brand experiences.

Whether it’s at the corporate level, a line of business, a new product or service, whatever the case may be, the brand activation plan should not be left to the last minute.

In its development, you have to think of innumerable components and orchestrate them carefully. The number and complexity of the decisions and actions required could turn the launch into a missed opportunity and failure that no brand can afford. And when the process also incorporates a name change, the risks increase even more, so the strategy must be properly planned.

How to launch a brand?

  1. PLAN AHEAD

Launching a brand requires planning that can start from the early stages of the branding process. In addition to early planning, it’s worth identifying a clear goal in the brand launch. It is essential to decide what you want to achieve with the activation plan. To do this, it is important to always set SMART goals:

    • Specific: Identify who the participants are and what the focus of the activation is.
    • Measurable: Point out what measurable change is expected to be achieved.
    • Attainable: Predict whether we have enough resources to achieve the objectives.
    • Realistic: Set a goal that can be achieved.
    • In Time: Setting a time for the goal will help identify if what you are doing is optimal to reach the goal in the expected time.

Planning requires recognizing each of the stakeholders that will be affected by the brand launch, as well as their various touchpoints with it. In addition to customers, it is necessary to keep employees, investors, the media… It is essential to know the relative value of each of them in order to properly calibrate the set of actions to be undertaken. It will be necessary to determine which of them will require a more personalized approach and, more importantly, identify the order in which they will have to make contact with the new brand.

  1. DEVELOP A MIGRATION PLAN

In all those cases where the new brand replaces a previous one, it will be necessary to develop a migration plan.

Brand migration consists of the planned process of updating each of the brand assets in such a way as to minimize all kinds of risks, resulting from the disappearance of an existing brand in favor of a new one, reinforcing the value contribution of the emerging brand. The migration plan should include a program to remove all instances of the old brand, ensuring that there is no confusion in the marketplace. This is especially important in the case of brand renewals that include a name change.

To begin with, a prior audit is required, a map of each of the points where the brand is expressed, both internally and externally. In addition, an analysis of the risks and threats of change will be essential, which will allow a set of structured steps to be established over time. Each case is different, sometimes a radical change may be more convenient, and sometimes it is more convenient to make the change through a gradual, intentional and strategic process with a period of coexistence of both brands.

  1. PREPARE A COMMUNICATION PLAN

Communication is the final component to a successful brand launch. Once you have identified the target audiences and the appropriate channels to reach each of them, it is advisable to take a step back and think about how to tell the story of the new brand, or the rebranding, in an attractive way and under the particular vision of each target. It will be opportune to explain in a well-articulated narrative the reason for the change, but always from the perspective of adding value and not from merely functional or operational aspects. Creating a Big Idea, a key concept on which to articulate each of the messages, will facilitate communication efforts.

When audiences understand the logic behind the change, they’re much more likely to get excited about what they’ll gain from the new brand. It may be advisable to include reassuring messages, which make them feel important, as well as to develop a special website for them, which explains the transition and the reasons for the rebranding.

This is a process that always works in two directions:

    • Internally. The communication strategy must start with the internal public, they will be the first to internalize the advantages of the change or the new brand. The employees, but also the board of directors, are the most important ambassadors for the brand. The plan will include a well-planned timeline with carefully worded communication around each milestone.
    • Externally. Only after all brand assets and channels have been prepared, pre-launch communications have been issued, and internal stakeholders are intimately familiar with the new brand, will the new brand be introduced to the outside world. A set of campaigns can be planned in different phases, including an initial or teaser that serves to generate expectations about what is about to happen. Of course, digital channels are a great ally for the launch, but depending on each case it will be appropriate to think about other initiatives such as: events, PR, experiential marketing, promotions or samplings, in-store activation, gaming

In both cases, it will be very helpful to have a Brand Book, a copy that highlights what the brand represents, its values and its purpose in the market. It can also be developed in Brand Clip format, as a corporate video that enhances emotional connections. The main premise that we must always ensure is consistency in everything we say and do, so as not to distort the value of the brand.

Conclusion

There is no second chance for a good first impression, as Oscar Wilde postulated. A poorly executed brand launch can negate the investment made to build the brand. By planning ahead of time, paying attention to every detail, you will be able to get the most out of the moment of truth.

 

Carlos Puig Falcó
CEO of Branward