You spot an opportunity, a gap in the market, an extension to what you currently offer – a way to serve more people or provide greater service to those you already serve.
You want to create, launch and market a new product or service brand in addition to your current offerings but aren’t quite sure where or how to start?
This is our simple guide into how to best get going.
It’s a 3-step process we have used in the past to help our own clients and in true loft fashion – it is short, fast and to the point.
1. FIND THE VALUE-ADD
It is absolutely critical is to start with your customers first.
Your new service or product is likely to be related in someway to what you are currently doing or offering. It is essential to know from the outset – both the theoretical, but more importantly the practical advantages that your new product or service is likely to offer your customers.
A technology company that offers ‘more flexible working’ sounds good to a business owner – in theory.
The ability to download,edit,re-upload documents to a shared workspace, anywhere in the world from the phone of one of your staff-members paints a much more vivid picture of additional value to that business owner and potential customer.
Understanding the real human ‘value-adds’ and beginning to paint this picture in your materials is important and as you go forward, you will find even more practical benefits to your solutions. It is important to know and list what they are as you begin creating your new product/service brand.
2. PRIORITISE ACTIVITIES
Most will say that you need a brand first, then a website, then some marketing materials, etc… We advocate a slightly different approach – we believe that you should break these down. Consider all of the individual elements that form these channels rather than the channels themselves.
Break them down – the logo, the tagline, customer benefits, team bios, contact details, important features, ‘how-it-works,’ etc.
Maybe, you only really need to start with one or two of these elements rather than all of them.
Your agency should be tasked with considering the whole brand from the outset but the scope of the first project may (and this will depend on the size of your organisation) be the release of a simple flyer with some pictograms telling the story and a call-to-action to your first 5000 prospects.
You must consider the best ways to tell the stories that matter to customers. Build on the positive benefits discovered in the first part – the value-adds.
Many will want to go straight to logos, websites, e-newsletter systems, etc.
We think this is fine – and sensible most of the time – but we would say it is even more important to start with content. It will take you a little off the beaten path but one image which captivates customers could be worth so much more than a costly branding exercise.
If you are an established company – you may be able to piggy-back off the main company brand for a short period. Most established organisations will have guidelines which will give ideas for sub-brands. At this stage we want to engage customers and help you get your first real sales on the board and some cash in the bank. Pictograms, visual systems, eye-catching images, short videos will all help you paint a better picture of what your new offering can do for people.
All start-ups (and these new initiatives are start-ups in principle,) will have very limited marketing budgets and (at this point,) no revenue as of-yet. So we suggest that you really prioritise and maximise your budgets to give you the biggest bang for your buck. We really believe in building momentum and these initial stages are so critical that you can move fast, launch quickly and start obtaining some happy customers.
Write out 10-12 activities that you would like to do, prioritise those that are most likely to get you going and start. The chances are that items 4-12, will change in nature or content once you begin doing things anyway. You will establish quick wins that you will want to build on and this will likely change the rest of the list.
As stated in the previous list, and this wouldn’t be a loft list, if it didn’t contain the word ‘ACTION’ somewhere.
Get it out there in all its raw and imperfect glory.
Talk to customers, sell your first products or services and then build from there.
As stated, it is only by doing that you will be adequately informed where to go next, that you will have something to build on. At the beginning – there isn’t really a right or wrong way – a more optimal way will become apparent through action.
This will be as true for the operational efficiency of your product/service as it will for your marketing efforts.
Don’t forget to be bold, focus on the result over the method and have fun. By acting this way, it will unlock a whole new raft of unseen creative ideas which will set your brand apart and take it to another dimension.
Benedetto is the founder of the loft, a design and branding agency based in Glasgow.
The loft helps its clients build more effective brand communications and operates in a diverse range of sectors, specialising in technology, packaging design and professional services. The company is proud to include Petroleum Experts, The Wood Group, BenRiach Whisky, The University of West of Scotland and Glasgow City Marketing Bureau amongst its clients.
The loft offers people-centred brand solutions created using imaginative thought processes and delivered with a consistently high-quality and bespoke client service.
The loft is looking beyond traditional creative services and has begun to produce more integrated brand journeys for its clients – tying together disciplines such as digital, social media and customer experience – in addition to sales & marketing to help companies attract and retain customers & staff. Essentially, building a stronger bond between the person and the brand.
The loft was setup with assistance by PSYBT in 2012 and received Growth Funding the following year. Benedetto is the regional ambassador for the Princes Trust in Glasgow and also provides support to other charities including Young Enterprise Scotland, SMART STEMs and MCR Pathways.