Big bang or slow reveal with your B2B brand launch?

In summary

  • See it as an opportunity to differentiate yourself with something you own
  • Don’t be afraid to lean into the emotional side of B2B marketing to draw people in over time
  • Think of your internal audience – take people on a journey with you, exploring where you’ve gone and why
  • Blend a big bang and slow reveal to build your brand equity
  • Don’t be afraid to tweak and evolve your brand and be ahead of the curve when needed

Article by co-founder and director of Shaped By Nick Farrar.

Your B2B tech product might be a game changer making people starry eyed over how it’s going to make their life better, but it won’t get to if they don’t know about it. As a tech marketer you know how tough it is to stand out. It’s a crowded marketplace, where propositions and products can sound the same to the people who buy. Carving out something that is ownable and truly unique to you is hard, but not impossible.

However, your brand and how you apply it creatively is an ownable way to differentiate yourself.

Depending on where you are in the journey, launching a new brand or breathing life into one is something that can pull you out of the clutter. It’s an opportunity to differentiate through your design, your approach and your tone.

We know better than most that a brand launch can be an exciting time (say hello to Shaped By), but let’s face facts, it’s easy to blow your budget on it without blowing anyone away.

So how do you approach it?

As always in marketing, it depends! What’s your current situation and what’s your purpose for the project? Are you new, a start-up, scale-up or established brand? Is it a full rebrand, brand refresh or brand development?

Budget doesn’t dictate quality of output, but it does dictate scale and approach. If you’re looking to make a short-term impact, then one well considered piece of launch activity to your main audiences will be better than spreading yourself thin trying to stretch budget and internal resources that simply aren’t there.

Really consider the brand and the emotional side of it. Can you push it being a bit bolder by bringing your stakeholders on a journey with you?

There is an undeniable link that lies between the amount of creativity applied to a business problem and the success of its outcome. It’s a drum that’s been banged for a while now. A strong brand and effective creativity aren’t nice-to-have’s, they are an absolute must for business success.

The good, the bad and the ugly

You need to create some hype when launching with an orchestrated approach. Again, depending on your objectives there are many ways you can do this, whether it’s a keynote speech, PR, advertising, a social media campaign, email marketing etc.

Initially, your biggest audience is your internal one. First things first, throw the naff merch in the bin. We love useful things. A beautifully written and designed brand book that covers the vision and values of a brand is not only a stunning way to reveal a brand internally, but it also provides a way to easily refer to your values and vision whenever you might need to.

We’re not merch-haters, but we do believe in quality over quantity. Make it something that people want to keep, and make it relevant to your brand. When we launched the Shaped By rebrand, we created high quality notebooks embossed with our logo – elegant and useful.

People also then have something tangible they can start using, meaning they’ll immediately own the new brand. Which is vital, as they’ll need to get to grips with it as quickly as possible.

Brand pages on your website are also a great way to take people (both internal and external) on a journey exploring where you’ve gone and why. You can introduce the brand, the visual language, your vision, values and what it means to your teams and your customer.

It’s also great for attracting future talent. Couple this with more practical items like a digital asset library where people can access the tools they need and set brand guidelines that encourage creativity and the visual exploration of your brand rather than a set of prescriptive rules.

Big bang or slow reveal?

We’re in B2B tech marketing and that usually lends itself to a long buying cycle. Thinking about how you introduce your new brand to your various audiences the right way is so important. It’s more than just a big single day, a new brand launch is a complete lifecycle.

The big bang will give you instant traction and publicity. In the short term that’s great for your inner circle (your team, your existing clients and possibly potential leads who are already further down the funnel). It can also give your team a morale and culture a boost. But unless you have the budget and strategy to carry some of this momentum forward in the long term, it can come across as a bit of a vanity project and damage your culture.

Share the brand vision and talk the team through the brands visual journey. Taking people on this journey helps them understand how you want to present he company.

Externally, think about the importance your brand plays in your sales and marketing strategy and the role it plays in generating demand for what you do. The vast majority of your prospects are out of market at any one time (95%) so you need a long-term strategy for how you launch your brand so it reaches everyone. Building awareness and equity in your brand is a long-term investment.

So, when it comes to the question of big bang or slow reveal, much like when asked ‘starter or dessert?’ the best answer is of course, both. Look after those closest to you with some great launch activity but plan the slow reveal/ongoing activity to ensure you are true to your brand and you are building that awareness with all your audiences over the long term.

Watch out for pitfalls

There are plenty to watch out for, but here are the key ones you should bear in mind.

Look after those who are closest to you and your company. Your internal team (including any investors), your existing customer, your suppliers, your prospects, your potential customers, the media and then everyone else.

Companies are notoriously bad at engaging with their employees. Don’t take our word for it – according to Gallup 74% of employees think they are missing out on company news. And research from IBM Watson Media highlighted that 72% of employees don’t have a full understanding of the company’s strategy.

Don’t leave anyone in the dark with a brand launch or make them feel less important than people outside your business. Your brand is so intrinsically linked with your culture. Get your internal team on board and get them excited. Let them know how they can use your new brand and give them the tools they need to do it effectively.

Don’t forget that change can scare people… During your brand launch put your arm (metaphorically) around your customers. Tell them why you’ve changed and any positive impact it will have on your relationship. Tell them up front – don’t let them read a company update on LinkedIn – that will really upset them.

Not planning to successfully migrate your assets

When we’re working with a brand on a launch, we tend to migrate assets in tiers. Comb through your website and digital marketing hub and find everything you need to edit and re-upload to carry the new branding. Build a spreadsheet, tick them off in advance and make sure on the launch day you only need to update the links to the new files.

Resting on your laurels

Don’t forget the launch is only the beginning of your new brand. It sets the stage for new content, marketing campaigns, advertising initiatives, and more.

Alongside each of these new efforts should be vigilant brand maintenance and ongoing brand development.

You should never grow complacent or rest on your laurels when it comes to moving your brand forward. A brand is a living, dynamic entity that needs continual attention to thrive. Don’t be afraid to tweak and evolve and be ahead of the curve when needed.

What’s at stake is nothing less than the connection you cultivate with your customers, the loyalty they engender because of it, and the brand equity that results in higher valuation over time. So, whatever you do, don’t take your foot off the gas.

Ready for the big reveal?

As we said at the start, we underwent our own rebrand when we became Shaped By with a new proposition to bring supercharged creativity for changemaker brands… Read all about that right here.

This interview was originally with the Business Marketing Club podcast. You can listen to this interview here.

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