The time has come. You’ve spent months thinking strategically about your new brand and you’re finally ready to launch it. Of course, having a launch plan that covers all media will be crucial to your success. And having a detailed plan specifically for your digital launch will help you communicate more effectively with your current supporters and reach new audiences sooner.
Whether you’re refreshing your current brand, announcing the merger between two organizations, or introducing a new organization altogether, digital is essential to the success of your launch. In a time when resources are scarce and communicating impact is more important than ever, digital and social media are some of the most efficient, effective tools for spreading your message.
Aligning the platforms of your digital ecosystem to help cohesively tell your brand’s story is a must. Once your brand is ready to launch, it’s not enough to flip the switch on your digital channels or create new ones overnight. Instead, think deeply about when and how audiences will receive the story of your new brand and how that will impact public understanding.
1. Keep Your Audiences in Mind
You’ve put in the work to understand not only your audiences’ demographics, but their psychographics too. Knowing what motivates your stakeholders to take action is especially important online. When considering where to launch your brand, more is not always better. Think about which channels your audiences are using and how.
Do your donors prefer Facebook and email while your volunteers engage more on Instagram and YouTube? Create a direct connection between the channels you choose to run and the audiences that engage with them. If, for example, none of your audiences use Twitter, don’t feel pressured to be active on it “just because.” Likewise, if you haven’t been active on LinkedIn in the past but see it as an opportunity to share your thought leadership with civic influencers, don’t be afraid to sign up and try a new channel.
2. Consider Your Channels
Once you know where to reach your audiences online, it’s important to have a plan for how you get those channels up and running. If you are merging two organizations into one new brand, refreshing your current brand, or launching a new brand altogether, you must decide if you will transition an existing channel or create new accounts altogether.
Starting fresh with new accounts takes less leg work than transforming existing channels, but there may be a strong follower base and valuable brand equity in your existing accounts. Talk with your team about the most fruitful way forward and then look into the steps it takes to transition your accounts. Some channels require approval while others allow instant changes. Leave time to research the intricacies of each so you are not jumping through hoops when it comes time to launch.
3. Have a Timebound Plan
If just the thought of jumping through hoops made your heart skip a beat, we would recommend creating a detailed launch plan so nothing falls through the cracks, and you avoid last-minute challenges. If your organization(s) have a date in mind to launch the new brand online, begin to work backward from there to decide everything that needs to be done.
If you know you need two solid weeks to understand and implement the channel transitions mentioned above, log those onto your calendar now. Are you planning to deploy a paid campaign at the time of launch? Be sure to factor in the time it will take to create assets, write post copy, and how long you want to run the campaign. At a minimum, start putting plans into action at least two months before you launch your brand online Even if you just start with research and planning, knowing where you’re going and what to expect will pay off come launch time.
4. Communicate Early, Communicate Often
Now that you have a plan for launching your new brand online, it’s important to consider what you’ll say. Imagine standing up to make a speech and drawing attention to yourself without having anything planned or even forgetting to introduce yourself. Unveiling a new brand online without any introduction would lead to the same embarrassing results.
If you are merging two organizations or refreshing your current brand, start to communicate the nature of this change, including the name of your new organization, on your current channels. Let your followers know what’s about to happen and what you’d like them to do to stay engaged. Think about a defined, cohesive call to action for your audiences and where you’ll send them as a next step. Is there a key landing page on your website that can further introduce audiences to your new brand? Think of web links as a continuation of a conversation about who you are and what makes you unique.
5. Remember the Message Basics
Once you are up and running on your digital platforms and your audiences are engaged as followers of your new brand, it’s time to put your messaging skills to work. Whether you are communicating the refreshed message of a historically loved brand or the fresh, exciting mission of a new one, it’s important to be consistent, cohesive, and clear.
As you begin to integrate your key messages online, don’t forget these message basics.
- Use your (full) name. Especially if it’s a new one that audiences are still getting used to.
- Avoid jargon. When you must use it, unpack it for your audiences through the lens of its benefits, not its features.
- Never assume. Even current donors and board members need to be reminded of your work from time to time. Use your launch as a chance to share your full message.
- Make it personal. Enforcing your new brand personality is essential to a successful launch. Use “you” when addressing audiences to invite them in.
- Repeat, repeat, repeat. Just when you think people are getting sick of hearing your message is just when it’s starting to sink in. Don’t be afraid to repeat it!
Feeling comfortable on your new channels and ready to take the next step? Read on to learn how to create a digital strategy that sticks.