Branding: Phase 4. Brand Launch

How you introduce your new brand can affect the overall success of your branding initiative — and that’s especially true in the professional services. Actually, you should think of it as two introductions: one for your internal team and another for the outside world. They are two very different audiences that require different treatments.

The Internal Brand Launch

If you don’t take the time to explain your new brand to your team, you’ll be lost from the start. When professionals are left out of the process and have not visibility into how or why decisions were made about the brand they get confused and can turn cynical. It is easy to criticize something you don’t understand.

We recommend that you introduce a program to educate your staff in advance of the external launch. Explain the rationale for the change, and support it with a few research highlights to demonstrate that the branding process was grounded in objective reasoning. Here are a few topics you might want to cover:

  • Why we needed a new brand and what opportunities it creates
  • How the process worked (to show how much thought went into it)
  • What the research revealed
  • How the new brand speaks to our target audience(s)
  • Why the new brand works (and why the process wasn’t an internal popularity contest)

There are many, many ways to roll out an internal brand. You can have a simple all-hands meeting or an elaborate celebration. It can be a single event, or a series of training sessions. It can be in one location or distributed over multiple offices. You will need to decide what makes sense for your organization and culture. But don’t skip it. Your team needs to understand what your new brand means, how it repositions your firm and where it opens up new possibilities. A successful internal brand launch also generates critical support for and excitement around your new brand.

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The External Brand Launch

It may surprise you, but the external rollout is less important than building internal consensus around your brand. The biggest value of the external launch is its potential to generate concentrated attention—even if it’s short lived.

A new brand’s introduction to the world is a chance to make a favorable first impression. It also provides a forum to explain what you stand for, how your firm has changed and why your firm matters to your audience.

You can approach an external launch in one of two ways: 1) announce your new brand with a big bang, with press releases, a big reveal and maybe even a brand launch video. Launch balloons, if you like. Or 2) you can roll out your brand slowly with little or no fanfare. In this scenario, pieces of your brand may be developed over a period of weeks or months, and over time your brand identity takes shape.

Which approach you choose is up to you. The former has more PR potential, but it requires building out much of your brand up front. The latter may feel anticlimactic, but it gives you the freedom to develop your brand in a lower-pressure, more organic way.

However you launch your brand, it gives your business development team a reason to talk with clients and referral sources about your firm — how you are changing and how your firm is addressing the needs of the marketplace.