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.

Our Work

Matt Price
Senior Director, Creative

Matt Price is a creative leader with a career that has traversed award-winning agencies, high-performance brands, and innovative start-ups.

Fueled by a deep passion for cultivating dynamic creative teams and crafting distinctive brand experiences, Matt has earned a reputation for shaping and evolving brands across diverse industries. He currently leads creativity at TravelPerk.

Melissa Rosenthal
Chief Creative Officer

Melissa is an award-winning marketing executive and the Chief Creative Officer at ClickUp, focused on making the world more productive through best-in-class SaaS marketing.

Previously Melissa was the CRO/Executive Vice President at Cheddar, a live video media company at the intersection of business news and culture. For her brand work, she was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Business Insider’s 30 Most Creative People Under 30 and as one of Digiday’s “Changemakers.”

Prior to Cheddar, she led BuzzFeed’s Global Creative Team. Joining the staff in 2010, Rosenthal was a key contributor to the creation and early success of BuzzFeed’s branded content native advertising model.

Melissa Rosenthal
Chief Creative Officer

Melissa is an award-winning marketing executive and the Chief Creative Officer at ClickUp, focused on making the world more productive through best-in-class SaaS marketing.

Previously Melissa was the CRO/Executive Vice President at Cheddar, a live video media company at the intersection of business news and culture. For her brand work, she was named to Forbes’ 30 Under 30, Business Insider’s 30 Most Creative People Under 30 and as one of Digiday’s “Changemakers.”

Prior to Cheddar, she led BuzzFeed’s Global Creative Team. Joining the staff in 2010, Rosenthal was a key contributor to the creation and early success of BuzzFeed’s branded content native advertising model.

Ari Yablok
Head of Brand 

Ari Yablok is the Head of Brand at Island, the Enterprise Browser. Before joining Island as its first marketing hire, Ari was the Head of Brand Messaging at Atreo, a B2B tech branding and marketing agency, where he crafted the strategic narratives, end-to-end messaging, corporate and investor decks, and brand identities for 50+ leading tech companies including Taboola, Similarweb, Gloat, JFrog, and Panaya. Originally from New Jersey, Ari lives in a suburb of Tel Aviv, Israel with his wife and six children.

Ling Koay
Chief Brand Officer

Ling is a fearless B2B marketer and a purposeful leader with almost two decades of experience driven by growing businesses through creativity, art, and science. Recently, she was named “CMO to Watch in 2022” by CMO Alliance. She has also led the Oneflow brand to be one of the “B2B Brands to Watch in 2022” alongside brands like Slack, Gong, and Tiktok Business.

Ling’s mission is to inspire humans to find and embrace their superpowers so that we can transform mediocrity into magic in our lives. Marketing to her is using ideas to change minds. Move the needle. Make sales easier. Being a mom of two kids under 6, marketing is essential to win day-to-day negotiations. Recently she gave up her CMO title to focus on the brand. Call her crazy, but marketing is the puzzle she needs to solve every day to make her life complete.

Buck Choate
VP Brand

Buck Choate is a distinguished brand and marketing leader that thrives at the intersection of strategy, stories, and ideas. As VP of Brand at Lacework, he spearheads brand management, activations, social and editorial content, and brand design. Buck has spent his 15+ year career working with iconic global brands like Microsoft, Intel, Fender, Walmart, Ubisoft, PepsiCo, and 7-Eleven.

Damien Correll
Creative Director

Based in NYC, Damien Correll is the Creative Director at Figma where he leads their Brand Studio. Over the past 20 years, he’s worked on both the brand and product sides (and some of the places in-between), Whether it’s running his own practice or working in-house at one of the largest companies in the world, he’s in the pursuit of great design by making the expected surprising, the strange familiar, and the accessible abundant.

Ben Long
Creative Director

Make fun stuff for people to enjoy. That’s why we all got into this in the first place. And if you can do that while delivering strategic and purposeful creative that meets brand goals? Now you’re on to something.

That’s what Ben Long has been aiming at for the last six years at Rubrik, leading the global brand team as Creative Director. Ben loves nothing more than when a team comes together to pull off something that’s a little risky and a lot unexpected.

Ben lives in the Bay Area with his wife, two kids, and a giant dog that’s way too big for his house

Steve Stone
Head of Zero Labs

Steve has over fifteen year’s experience in threat intelligence and event response with positions in the US military, intelligence community, and private sector. Steve held a number of roles to include threat intelligence, service delivery, and various leadership positions at Mandiant, FireEye, and IBM in the private sector. He is a frequent contributor and presenter in a variety of industry forums/conferences.

Wei Kee
Client Services Director
Shaped By

As Client Services Director at Shaped By, Wei Kee leads the team to deliver on the promises they make, working closely with clients to kick personal, team, and business goals.

A true advocate of good design and innovative creative solutions, she works hard to ensure a strong, unified dynamic between internal/external creative, and wider teams.

Wei subscribes to an empathetic and human-centric approach to developing deep relationships with clients near and far, always ensuring that the process to achieving business success is collaborative and enjoyable.

Outside of work, she loves to cook, eat and feed.

Tom Ovens
Creative Director
Shaped By

An ambassador of embracing the art of simplicity, Tom enjoys ripping things apart to delve deeper and explore meaningful ways to create authentic and impactful visual communications.

He loves leading the talented Shaped By design team to push boundaries, build recognition and make a difference for our clients. He is passionate about collaborating with his team, partners and clients to land on creative solutions that help fulfil personal, team and business objectives.

You’ll often hear Tom swooning over a new typeface he’s discovered, or discussing ‘Tittles’ (Google with care). In his free time he loves to disappear on his bike.

Jessica Bognar
Creative Director – Brand

Jessica is an award-winning creative leader at Salesforce with a track record of transforming teams and brands through strategic storytelling, humanity, and humor. For the past eight years she’s been an integral part of building the Salesforce brand. Her current role is leading Brand & Partnerships creative.

Aaron Poe
Head of Creative

Aaron Poe is a strategic Creative Director with over 17 years of experience branding and launching natively digital companies. His passion is building brands that are simple and timeless, striking the right balance of emotional connection and functional design. Currently, in his role as Creative Director at Zapier, he leads a multidisciplinary team of brand and digital designers within the global brand studio.

Jessica Rosenberg
Director of Brand Design

Jessica has 17+ years of experience helping brands tell their stories in differentiated and breakthrough ways.

Jess’s skills as a designer, creative, and leader have been shaped by working across notable companies in advertising and tech: Crispin Porter & Bogusky, Twitter, Cloudflare, Mural, and Webflow. She’s just as passionate about coming up with the big idea as she is executing it. Jess recently joined the Design org at ONE finance leading the brand design function.

Jess lives in Austin, TX with her husband and four kids.

Rachel Gogel
Independent Design Executive

Rachel is a Parisian creative director, graphic designer, educator, and speaker based in San Francisco. She runs her own consultancy where her approach is informed by experiences both in-house and agency side. As a fractional design executive and queer leader, Rachel believes in fostering inclusive spaces that unlock human potential. She is committed to designing teams that build brands — with a focus on culture and technology. Over the last fifteen years, Rachel has led major initiatives at GQ, The New York Times, Meta, Godfrey Dadich, Departures, Airbnb, and Dropbox.

Currently, you can find her shaping employee experiences, coaching design leaders, building TV show pitch decks for public figures and media executives, and developing brand identity systems for academic institutions and startups.

Kaite Rosa
Senior Director of Brand 

Kaite Rosa is Senior Director of Brand at Axonius, where she leads the award-winning team responsible for creating a $2.6 billion brand in less than five years. Cited as one of the fastest-growing cybersecurity brands in history, Axonius has been named one of the most valuable private cloud companies in the world by the Forbes Cloud 100, along with numerous industry accolades.

A life-long writer, Kaite is passionate about using storytelling and creative concepts to define and build exceptional brand experiences. Her work on the campaign “Controlling Complexity”, starring the most decorated gymnast of all time, Simone Biles, has earned her two Telly awards.

Nick Farrar
Shaped By

Nick is the founder of Shaped By and has spent the last 20+ years in working with B2B brands. He has an in-depth understanding of what makes brands work, live and breathe and knows exactly how to maximise ROI for clients.

He is a passionate advocate for the use of creativity in strategic business thinking, and is well-versed in helping others tell their own story through design in a way that engages their audience.

Nando Costa

Nando Costa is a Brazilian-American artist-turned-designer with a wealth of experience spanning branding, motion graphics, and user experience design. As a design leader at Microsoft, he explores the confluence of traditional 2D UX, immersive three-dimensional environments, and the realm of generative AI technology.

Prelini Udayan-Chiechi
SVP Global Marketing

Prelini leads demand, growth, performance, operations, partner and regional marketing at Zendesk. Her responsibilities include driving all demand and growth for the company’s business in more than 160 countries globally across the entire demand funnel.

As well as being an accomplished public speaker, she is also a passionate advocate for diversity, equity and inclusion. Her role as executive sponsor of Zendesk’s Mosaic employee community helps people of colour and allies at the company to embrace and celebrate their differences.