Selecting your brand introduction tactics

In order to achieve cost-effective visibility and credibility, most brand launches rely heavily on publicity and public relations rather than on advertising, which often is used as a follow-up to news and personally delivered announcements of the new brand.

As you plan the tactics you'll use to deliver your brand introduction message in your target market, keep the following points in mind:

1 Public relations activities are the backbone of most brand introductions.

The field of public relations includes employee or member relations, community relations, industry relations, government relations, and media relations that result in news coverage of your brand introduction message. Events, meetings, newsletters, exhibitions, and publicity all fall under the category of public relations. All spread news and generate understanding without involving paid advertising. Turn to Chapter 10 as you plan your public relations game plan.

il Promotions are marketing activities that aim to trigger a desired consumer action over a short period of time. Marketers launching consumer brands use promotions to win support from distributors and retailers and to prompt customers to a first-time trial of the new product. See Chapter 11 for guidelines on promotions.

i Advertising creates awareness in audiences reached by newspapers, magazines, radio, and television. Most consumer brands, as well as most brands being introduced over large market areas, use advertising to convey their brand messages to broadly dispersed markets. Chapter 11 offers advice for scheduling, creating, and placing your ads.

When using advertising as a brand launch tactic, time your ad schedules so that ads break after your brand is released via news stories. After your message runs in ad form, editorial contacts may not view it as news, and you forego the chance to gain the credible third-party voice of a reporter or newscaster.

i Direct mail is advertising that's delivered on a one-to-one basis to mail boxes or e-mail in-boxes rather than through mass media. It's a great way to provide invitations, detailed information, or publicity reinforcement to individuals who are targeted because they precisely match your customer profile. Follow the advice in Chapter 11 on how to create great ads as you create your direct mailers. If you're delivering your mailers via e-mail, turn to Chapter 12 for information on how to create e-mail that gets opened and read.

i Personal presentations and sales efforts are especially important to brand launches that depend on personal relationships, referrals, or support from established contacts and customers. Most business and service brands include launch events and personal presentations as essential introduction tactics. Chapter 13 covers how to prepare your sales force and how to take your brand story on the road to key audiences.

i Sales materials, packaging, and point-of-sale displays are essential for consumer brands and for brands that involve complex features, high prices, or considerable deliberation prior to the purchase decision.

For all but the smallest local market brands, sales and packaging materials require the design talents of established professionals. Begin by answering the communication planning questions in Chapter 11 and then hire a designer, ad agency, branding, or packaging specialist to create your materials. Chapter 11 can help you through the selection and hiring process.

i Online communications play an increasingly important role in brand introduction tactical plans, as described in Chapter 12.

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