Having just run the gauntlet of a successful brand relaunch, we find ourselves with lots of insight to share. We never thought the process would be an easy one, but in hindsight, a number of strong lessons stand out. If ever you choose to launch a brand - or make some changes to the one you have - here are a few things to keep in mind.
TRUST YOUR INTUITION
You know your product better than anyone. You know your customer. You also know who you like to work with both in your professional and personal life. Branding companies and graphic designers work hard to sell you on their vision, and they do have valuable insight and experience, but trust your gut. If what they present doesn’t immediately ring true to who you are and how your company runs, don’t try too hard to make their vision fit your own. It’s their job to help you do yours better, but it’s your job to hold fast to your true north.
SWEAT THE DETAILS
A great creative direction is a good starting point, but the real work begins in implementation. How do you translate a packaging concept into the real paper goods that make it into your customers’ hands? Where do you get things made? The US? Abroad? How does the trade war with China affect your supply chain? And how do you actually turn a photographic vision into a successful photo shoot? Be prepared to answer these and a MILLION other questions before you are ready to launch. Make sure the people you work with - either within your company or without - are ready to work through everything with you.
SHOOT FOR THE MOON, BUT SETTLE FOR LIFTOFF
At the outset of our process, our vision included every bell and whistle we could dream up. The website would be dynamically interactive, the company would have a complete operations manual, all the pieces would integrate perfectly...or maybe not quite. It is right to want it all, but remember that everything is a process and there’s no such thing as a finished product. Do as much as you can, but when the time comes to launch you have to fly that plane while building it. Enhancements will come along the way. That’s why software has a 2.0!
KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE HORIZON AND YOUR FEET ON THE GROUND
Goal setting is key, without it we get stuck in place. Most successful companies plan years ahead and assess everything in terms of the five year plan. Think big and plan for the best case scenario, but be sure to check your footing. In order to make your dreams come true, you have to make it all work one day at a time. Make investments, hire talented people, stretch yourself as far as is possible, but make sure to balance your checkbook.
This process won’t be easy. Even if everything goes perfectly well, you’ll be exhausted by the effort. And trust me, nothing ever goes exactly to plan. There will be a day like last Thursday, when a blizzard strikes on the day you load into the World Trade Center and security won’t let you through. There will be a day when the supplies you ordered don’t make it through customs, or the website you designed suddenly crashes hours before launch. There will be arguments and frustration, indecision and panic. Through it all, if you remember only one thing, remember this. Don’t forget to breathe. After all - it’s only jewelry.