Communication is an often overlooked part of any launch event or corporate change. Once the product is built, it still needs to be promoted and sold to generate interest, incentivize trial, drive user adoption and gain traction. In addition to focusing on bringing your product live or completing your transaction – make sure that your message gets out. Get key stakeholders involved in every stage of your new initiative and launch event so they understand their role and its impact. Here are some considerations for maximizing your impact.
COMMUNICATION PRIORITIES BY LAUNCH PHASE
Communications will serve a slightly different purpose during each phase of launching. Throughout the process it is important to tell all of our stakeholders what you are doing and why. Here is a breakdown of different elements to focus on depending on where you are at in your launch process.
PRE-LAUNCH: This phase focuses primarily on all aspects of planning and preparation, so the emphasis here should be around readiness. For some insight on preparing your launch plan, read this article.
- Share your vision and prepare your audience for the launch. Let them know what you are planning and why it matters to them. People like to understand how they are contributing to a greater whole so they feel motivated and inspired – give them something to care about and feel connected to.
- Internal communications should help your team understand the “why”. Explain why this new product, business, market or organizational change is so critical to your company’s future growth. Why are you focusing on this investment now and what do you expect of them? This will help them give your initiative the right level of attention and resources.
- Be strategic about external communications. What do other key audiences need to know? In your early planning stages, it may not be appropriate to communicate to clients or the market about your new initiative, depending on your sector and how confidential this project is. For major product enhancements, it may make sense to get a jump on the competition by announcing first. In other situations, stealth and silence may be more useful. In all cases, make sure to prepare your executive team and company on what can be communicated, how and when. Identify key spokespeople and train them in how best to field inquiries from journalists, analysts or clients so they will respond appropriately with a consistent message.
LAUNCH: These are all the activities around the “go live” plan, so make your focus on impact and significance.
If people don’t know what your business is doing, then you haven’t launched!
- Announce your big event – now is the time to get the word out. Several important tools can be leveraged here to quickly disseminate your message, including press releases, media interviews and all forms of client communications (for example emails, webinars, client events, trade shows, website updates and advertising).
- Reach all your key stakeholders. Make sure to contact not only clients and prospects in your outreach, but strategic partners, investors and industry influencers – any important and relevant audiences who need to know what you are doing. Have a plan in place for how you will engage each audience and the sequencing.
- Prepare your messages. Make sure you are clear on what you want to communicate and what information is not ready for prime time. Your executive team and any client-facing staff need to know the story and their part. Stealth launches in particular may demand more of a low profile, but require a strategy around how to respond to inquiries.
POST-LAUNCH: These comprise activities after your “go live” that help build momentum and help your launch to finish strong, so think in terms of growth.
- Reinforce your message. Congratulations, you are up and running! Your work isn’t finished yet. Have you put a plan in place to continue getting the word out? Having a steady drumbeat and consistent ongoing messages to reinforce your value proposition will help to maintain the initial excitement that your launch event created and help keep your visibility up.
- Evaluate your impact. Did you reach everyone that you needed to contact and how did they respond? Did you get the type of media coverage and lead generation that you were looking for? If not, you can still recover and do more to promote your message.
Communication – the right messages, at the right time to the right audiences – is important to carry throughout a launch. Here are some additional resources that may be helpful around different launch types, guidelines for aligning your marketing strategy and how to communicate more effectively and what needs to be in your message. For more information on how we can support your launch plans, contact us to arrange a complimentary launch strategy session.