Post No. 59

How to Launch Your New Brand

If you’re like most small business owners, chances are when you think about investing in a new or refreshed brand, you aren’t thinking about the logistics of your actual brand rollout. Instead, you’re focused on your logo design, brand colors and new website. We don’t blame you—those things are exciting and vital to the long-term success of your brand. After all, if you don’t have a strong brand that you can finally be proud of, the logistics of your brand launch are irrelevant.

Over the past 10 years, our team at Daor Design has helped more than 500 small businesses just like yours build their brands. We’ve worked with new small business owners who are looking for a new brand. We’ve also worked with seasoned small business owners who are just looking for a brand refresh. Through years of experience, we’ve learned what it takes to build a strong brand, but our work doesn’t end there. Once your brand is built, we guide you through a seamless brand launch so your new brand can begin working for your business from day one.

It’s All About the Delivery

A successful brand launch is all about the delivery. You might have an amazing custom logo design or the best website design, but a poorly-planned brand launch can still be a big step backward for your business. This is especially true if you own an established small business. If you’re not careful, you can confuse or lose your existing clients in the shuffle. That is why you’ll want to tell the right people, in the right order, in the right way about your updated brand.

Take it from Sarah, our Co-Founder and Brand Strategist, who learned early in life just how important delivery is when it comes to leaving the impact you want.

As a kid, I once found myself at a mother-daughter event with my mom. The speaker invited the kids to share funny stories about their moms. My public speaking skills were relatively untested at the time, but in my mind, I had the perfect story to share. I pictured the whole room erupting in laughter with my mom and me once I delivered the punch line.

Finally, I mustered the courage to jump in when there was a lull between other girls whose stories “were not nearly as funny as mine.” In hindsight, I’m sure my mom was nervously waiting to hear which story about her I had chosen to tell. I stood up, told my story, and paused for the laughter to erupt. Much to my surprise, you could hear a pin drop. Nobody laughed. I was mortified.

Embarrassed, I sat back down and replayed the story in my head. As I did, I realized that in my nervousness, I left out several key details. Even though the actual story was golden, it fell completely flat because of my poor delivery. Thankfully, I’m pretty sure those mothers and daughters have long since forgotten my embarrassing moment. When it comes to rolling out your new brand, however, the market is less forgiving.

You have one opportunity to maximize the splash from your brand launch. A seamless, well-coordinated brand rollout can be the perfect catalyst to help take your small business to the next level. In this post, we’ll explore why your brand launch matters, where to launch your brand, and the ideal brand launch timeline.

A poorly-planned brand launch can be a big step backward for your business. On the flip side, a seamless, well-coordinated brand launch can be the perfect catalyst to help take your small business to the next level.

Why Your Brand Launch Matters

Unfortunately, it can take years to recover from a bad brand rollout. For your new brand to reach its full potential, it needs to come out of the gate strong. We know how excited you are about your new brand; there is a certain energy around launching a new brand that is attractive and contagious. For a successful brand rollout, you want to bottle up and release that energy strategically for the strongest possible impact.

First impressions aren’t reserved for first dates; they’re just as important for small businesses. You only get one opportunity to make a great first impression, so you need to make it count. Before you start thinking rebrands are easy, think back to 2020 when the Gap revealed their new logo. It was a disaster. The Gap brand rollout and reception was so bad that they switched back to the original logo after just one week.

Another, less recent, example is Airbnb’s 2014 rebrand. We first saw their new logo via a slew of social media critics who said the design looked like a butt (and other things that aren’t worth mentioning here). After a little digging, we found that there’s actually quite a bit of meaning behind the Airbnb logo. Years later, our view of the Airbnb brand, which is strong from a design standpoint, is still tainted by the overwhelmingly negative initial response from internet trolls. While no business can escape haters altogether, Airbnb might have avoided this situation if they had shared more about the meaning behind their logo design when they first launched their brand.

As a small business, you probably won’t attract as many internet trolls and haters as multi-billion dollar, publicly-traded, companies like the Gap and Airbnb. However, there are still key takeaways that small businesses like yours and ours can learn from these cautionary tales.

Lesson from the Gap and Airbnb Rebrand Disasters

  • A bumpy launch can tarnish even the best brand design
  • It can take years to recover from a bad brand launch
  • A communication void invites critics to create a negative narrative
  • Sharing the story behind your new brand can shape the response
  • You will always have some critics, and that is okay
  • Sometimes, you’re better off keeping your current logo when refreshing your overall brand (that was the case for the Gap)

With a little planning and the right team, you can sidestep these branding disasters. A good rebranding company will help you build and launch a successful brand that attracts quality clients for your small business.

Where to Launch Your Brand

We’ll get into the details of how to roll out your brand in a minute, but first let’s talk about where exactly you’ll need to update your brand. If you’re doing a brand refresh for an established small business, you might not be thinking about all the places where you’ll need to replace your old brand with the new one. It is also important to tell the right people in the right order so you don’t confuse your team, network or clients in the process. To keep things simple, we suggest a 3-phase approach for a smooth brand launch.

STEP 1: Internal Brand Launch

When launching your new or refreshed brand, you want to start by communicating with your internal team and updating internal business materials. Some things to think about include your business cards, team apparel, social media profiles, signage and anywhere else you have your logo. If your branding team conducted a formal brand audit at the beginning of your rebrand, this step should be pretty easy. A good brand audit will take an initial inventory of everywhere your brand exists, making it easy to know exactly what you need to update as you roll out your new brand.

If you have a team of employees, we can’t emphasize enough how important it is for you to keep them in the loop with your new brand. Your team shouldn’t find out the company has a new logo the same time as the rest of the world Facebook. Proactively communicating with your team upfront about your new brand will help get their buy-in. When your team embraces the new brand, it will be that much more successful.

These are some of the most common places where a small business will need to update their brand internally after a rebrand:

Internal Materials & Profiles to Update

  • Business Cards
  • Email Signatures
  • Letterhead
  • Envelopes
  • Note Cards
  • Internal Documents
  • Office Signage
  • Team Apparel
  • Software Profiles
  • Business Listing Profiles (Google My Business, Yelp, etc.)
  • Social Media Profiles (LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, etc.)
  • Company Swag

STEP 2: Network Brand Launch

After you’ve informed your team of the brand update, it’s time to notify key business associates, clients, and leads. In addition to the opportunity to share the story behind your updated brand, these personalized notifications create a great touch-point to reinforce your network relationships, check in with active clients, and follow-up with open leads in a non-salesy way.

Like your team, your professional network should also hear about your rebrand before the rest of the world. When you take the time to give key people a heads-up about the new brand, you show them how much you value your relationship with them. On the flip side, a long-time client who sees your new logo on an invoice with no explanation may feel confused or frustrated.

These are the main groups of people you’ll want to keep in mind when informing key people about your new brand:

Key People to Update

  • Networking Groups
  • Key Suppliers
  • Active Clients
  • Open Leads

STEP 3: Market Brand Launch

You’ve rolled out your brand to your internal team and professional network. Now it’s time to share your new brand with the rest of the world. Everything has been building up to this moment where you put your new brand to work for your business. This is where your new brand can begin attracting new, quality clients for your small business. Here you can also a great time to leverage your team buy-in. Encourage them to share the new brand on their personal LinkedIn profiles, etc., to expand your brand reach.

At this stage in your brand launch, there is no holding back. Your old brand should be completely replaced by your new brand on all market-facing materials and communication. Just in case you missed anything, you’ll want to be vigilant to quickly catch and correct any lingering instances of your old brand.

These are the primary places where you’ll want to start using your new brand on market-facing communication:

Marketing Materials to Update

  • Print Marketing Materials
  • Social Media Content
  • Marketing Emails (ex: MailChimp)
  • Branded Digital Downloads

The Ideal Brand Launch Timeline

A long, drawn-out brand launch tends to create confusion, and it runs the risk of stalling out. As a rule of thumb, the more you compress the timeline of your brand rollout, the better. For a small business, a 30-day rollout window is a good target. To keep things simple, budget about 10 days for your internal rollout, 10 days for your network rollout, and 10 days for your market rollout.

A 30-day timeframe should allow plenty of time to check all of the right boxes while ensuring you don’t confuse people by taking too long. You can always flex the timeline based on your specific business and target market.

  • Internal Rollout: 10 days
  • Network Rollout: 10 days
  • Market Rollout: 10 days

Are You Ready for a New Brand?

So, what about you? As you think about a new (or refreshed) brand for your small business, have you given much thought to your brand launch logistics? If you haven’t, don’t worry. Most people don’t. That’s why it’s important to work with an experienced branding company when it is time to invest in your brand.

To start the conversation about building and launching your brand the right way, reserve a time to talk with Sarah, our Co-Founder and Brand Strategist. As the owner of Daor Design, she’s helped guide over 500 small businesses through the branding process—all the way to a seamless brand launch.