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Samantha Noble

(Re-) Launching a Brand Online Effectively (#brightonseo)

13th Apr 2012 News, Events | 2 Comments


BrightonSEO takes place today and not only am I in attendance, but I’m also speaking too. The event has only been running for a few years, but it’s quickly become one of the most popular SEO conferences in the UK .

Due to its huge success, and Kelvin Newman’s dedication, over 1,000 tickets were sold out just 12 minutes after they were released this year!

My talk at the conference was entitled (Re-) Launching a Brand Online Effectively and in case you missed it or wanted to recap on some of the areas covered, I wanted to summarise the presentation in a blog post for you here on the Koozai site.

Although the presentation is titled (Re-) Launching a Brand Online Effectively, a lot of the elements of the presentation can and should be used for existing brands.

The Slides

What is a Brand?

This is a question that all businesses should ask themselves; and it should start to transform the way they think. A quote from ‘The Brand Gap’ by Marty Neumeier says:

“A brand is not what YOU say it is”

“A brand is what THEY say it is”

These quotes give me greater belief that brands are associated with people’s feelings. People will perceive brands in different ways, depending on various factors including personal as well as other people’s experiences.

Let’s take IKEA, a very well known brand all over the UK, as an example.

When guys look at IKEA, it may  remind them of being in the car park trying to fit a wardrobe into their car, knowing full well that they have to put it together when they get home!

When ladies look at IKEA, they may think of it as a great place to go out for a whole day, browsing each aisle in turn, before heading off to the café for some Swedish meatballs!

Brands tie back into people’s feelings and this is what we all need to remember.

Brand Architecture

I spent some time looking at different brands to see how they have structured products and services that fall beneath them. There were three main structures that I want to share:

One Name Fits All

Virgin have chosen the One Name Fits All approach for all their brands and properties. This ensures they are future proof and that their brand is well protected.

The Family of Brands

Nestle works well with the Family of Brands approach. Their brand name is featured prominently on the majority of their products. This gives the product that added trust, as we are all familiar with the Nestle brand. If they launch a new product and put their brand logo on the packaging, it gives it instant credibility.

The Unrelated Brands

Coca Cola have a lot of products within their brand umbrella, but most individuals would not be aware that the products are actually owned by Coca Cola. For example, Glaceau Vitamin Water is a Coca Cola brand. It is aimed at a healthy product market which doesn’t necessarily fit with the Coca Cola brand. As Coca Cola is predominately seen as a high sugar product, they would not necessarily want to draw correlation between the two products and hence the unrelated brand approach.

Research Stage

There are a number of things to consider during the research stage if you are planning on launching or re-launching a product or service online.

Competitor Research

When we were re-branding to Koozai back in May 2011, we spent a lot of time researching our competitors to draw up a list of what we liked and disliked.

A lot of companies in the digital industry have the industry type within their brand name. However, when we came across Guava we really liked what they had done with their name as it stood out from the crowd. What we didn’t like was that Guava is the name of a fruit, so brand confusion could set in.

To take it one step further, we wanted something unique so there could be no confusion. That meant whenever our new brand name was mentioned, we wanted to know it was about us and not another company.

Branding Agency

Once we had worked out our likes and dislikes, we engaged with a branding agency to work with us on the project.  This gave us an extra resource to pull on, and they brought a wealth of expertise to the re-branding exercise. Before selecting an agency to work with, make sure that you have seen examples of their previous work and that you are confident they can achieve your goal. My biggest tip if you decide to use a branding agency is to give them a clear brief so that everyone involved on the project is working to the same goal and objectives.

Your Brand Name

Even if you are not changing your brand name, there are a number of things that you should review to ensure that potential customers find you easily, but most importantly, that your brand name is protected.

If you don’t own all the TLDs and social properties for your brand name, you are leaving yourself at risk of someone else registering them. Using a service like Knowem, you can pay a few hundred pounds and secure up to 300 social properties (if they are available) and this saves you a huge amount of time rather than doing them all yourself.

Trademark

The most important part of a company or brand is your name, and if possible, you should always ensure that you protect it. My main tip for this section is to use a trademark specialist to assist you with the process. For a small fee, you can be comfortable in the knowledge that someone who is familiar with trademarking is working with you to ensure that you are being trademarked in the right classes and locations. It can take up to three months to get a trademark approved, so you need to be patient and factor this time within your planning.

Planning Stage

The following steps should be taken when you are in the planning stage and are getting ready for launch:

  • Secure the trademark
  • Decide on a date to go live
  • Register and redirect domains
  • Claim all social profiles
  • Update all company documentation
  • Review your brand consistency
  • Keep it on a ‘Need to know basis’
  • Inform rest of the team (close to launch date)
Once you have claimed all the social profiles, you need to commence your Page 1 Domination plan. Ensure that all the social properties are updated with unique and relevant information and then select around 15 of the core profiles that you would like to see on Page 1 and 2 of the SERPs. Now you commence a link building project to each of your chosen profiles to give the pages a boost and get them ranked for your brand name.

Once you dominate Page 1 for your brand name, when anyone searches for you, you’ll be safe in knowledge that you control everything they see on the first page of the search results.

Go Live

Once you have decided on a date to go live with your launch or re-launch, try and stick to it. It is always good to have a deadline in place for everyone to work towards. On the launch day, here are a few tips and actions to follow:

  • Fridays
    • Avoid launching on a Friday! Almost every time a big change happens within a company, something will need to be changed. Make sure you work through on a Friday, because no one wants to be working into Friday evening, or worse, over a weekend.
  • Team
    • Get all your team involved in the launch. The more hands you have available on the day to ensure everything goes smoothly, the better.
  • Check
    • Triple check that everything has been updated after the launch to ensure you are confident that everything has been done correctly.
  • Clients
    • Inform all active and prospective clients/customers as a priority as early as possible on your launch day. The worst thing that can happen is that a client is looking for you but can’t find you, so they need to be told ASAP.
  • Press Release
    • Get a press release written and distributed on the launch day to tell the world!
  • Blog Post  
    • Publish a blog post on your site. This is so that any visitors who may be confused have an explanation of the change.
  • Shout
    • Drip feed mentions of your launch or re-launch throughout the day, so that the traction is kept up rather than having everyone all shout at once.
  • Feedback
    • When you make any change to your business you will inevitably get some positive as well as some negative feedback. However, the trick is not to take anything to heart and respond to any mentions you get.

If you are changing your brand name, the following pointers should also be followed.

  • Google Alerts
    • Setup Google Alerts for your old brand name so that you can update anything you may have missed along the way, as well as anything new that props up with your old name.
  • Google Images
    • Use Google Images to search for your old logo and update when required.
    • You can upload your logo to Google Images and it will crawl the Internet to find any instances of it.
  • Twitter
    • If you are switching over to a new Twitter Account, monitor the old account for @ messages and respond so people know you have changed.

Helpful Tips 

  • Only check domain availability once
    • If you check a domain too many times, we have seen them register automatically so this is something to be aware of.
  • Register all the domain names you like (even if you don’t decide to use them)
    • When you are looking at changing your name, if there are any that you like, register them even if you don’t actually choose them. Worst case scenario, someone will register the name you finally decide on when you go to register it.
    • Certain countries will not allow you to register a TLD unless you are operating from that country (e.g. Australia).
  • Use the IPO website to get an understanding of which trademark classes you want to be listed in
    • You should be 100% clear on what classes your trademark should be registered in. You know your brand and business better than anyone, so don’t just rely on the trademark specialist for this.
  • Give a clear brief to anyone working on the project
    • Everyone working on the project needs to be working towards the same objectives and end goal. A clearly defined brief should be given to everyone at the start of the project.
  • Keep the project on a ‘need to know basis’
    • This is probably one of the most difficult tasks when you are launching or re-launching a brand but it is so important. You need to keep the number of people involved in the project to a minimum for a number of reasons:
      • More risk of potential leaks
      • More people involved in decision making means it will take you longer
  • Use a service like Knowem to register social profiles
    • Registering all the social profiles will be very time consuming. Using a tool like Knowem takes the time investment away from you.
  • Put your Page 1 Domination into action NOW
    • Before you launch, you want all of your social properties registered so you can kick start your page one domination project. The earlier you start, the more chance you have of dominating the search results for your brand.
    • If you have chosen to re-brand or brand your company with an entirely unique name, page one domination will be a much easier task.
  • Monitor mentions of your brand name to keep up with positive and negative press
    • Paid tools
      • BrandsEye
      • Brandwatch
      • Trackur
      • Sproutsocial
      • Brand Listen
    • Free tools
      • TweetDeck
      • Google Alerts
      • HootSuite
      • Social Mention
      • TOPSY
  • Think about your expansion and how you want to grow
    • Don’t just look at a few months ahead, you need to be looking a few years into the future. If there are any other services or products you are thinking of launching, these need to be considered when you create or re-launch your brand.

I hope you found the presentation, slides and blog post useful and if you have any questions please get in touch!

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About the author

Samantha Noble

Samantha Noble is the Marketing Director at Koozai; having worked within the marketing industry for over nine years, Sam has a plethora of marketing knowledge. With a strong understanding of digital marketing techniques, Sam will be covering all aspects of search and the industry in general.

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