You have an idea, a vision of what you want to produce and the brand you want to create. You’ve spotted a gap in the market and you understand your customers' needs. Now is the time to launch the brand and one of the key aspects of the launch but also the long term is to stay true to your original vision.
It might be worth creating a brand book before you launch, highlighting who your target customer is. Why you are launching this product, where the brand sits in the marketplace, how you will communicate with your customers and the tone of voice used. These brand books not only share the common brand guidelines to anyone that joins your brand or supplies it but are great to look back on every six months or so to make sure you are still on plan.
There is no “I” in team and trust us, you will need a team. You might start alone but before long you will need help. You may not employ staff, but you may need to outsource branding, design, sampling, sourcing, production and marketing.
Make sure the team is strong and experienced. You can’t afford to make mistakes by hiring someone without experience. The stronger the team, the more effective the business.
Time is limited and you need to evaluate how you spend yours. As CEO, you will need to focus on growth and exposure as the more you excel in these areas, the bigger your brand will be and the faster you can grow.
Picking the right team is vital and while we understand costs need to be kept low at the start, it’s critical you hire the right team and save on costly mistakes. Experience comes at a cost that can usually save you in the long run.
You have one chance to launch. One chance to make an impression that counts. An impression that persuades customers to share your brand with their friends and family. An impression is so strong that you attract customers for life.
Get this right, and your customers will do your marketing. Get it wrong and your brand is finished.
It’s important to over-deliver. This can be across many facets of the business, be it service, quality, product, after-sales or all of these. The more you over-deliver, the more love you will get back from your customers.
Remember, the main reason they became customers was the product. They purchased your brand's product and therefore it's vital this over-delivers more than anything else. The product must be on point. The quality needs to be exceptional alongside the fit and finish. They need to be amazed so they come back and hopefully order more and then tell their friends.
Pulling a website and product together is only part of creating a brand. This is the shop aspect but doesn’t get confused that this is what creates a brand. The brand is much more than just a product and a website. The brand is a story you need to tell. A story about your beliefs, ethics, partners, the why and the how.
You need to keep customers entertained and in love with your brand. You need to be a storyteller and share your tales regularly via social platforms, influencers, your team, events, press, collaborators and newsletters. Stories are the reason consumers continue to love and support brands and feel they belong.
Continual pushy sales are not stories, these are just sales and you need to limit these as much as possible. Instead, evoke interest in your brand and its ethics and beliefs that consumers resonate with. This will hopefully lead to sales without the need for pushy “buy now” newsletters.
5. KEEP IT REAL
Overnight successes are rare but highly publicised, so it’s easy to think you can take on Nike next week. The reality is, it’s going to take time and effort.
Building a brand is hard work but can be great fun. Remember, be patient and stay true to point 1 – 4, and success should be around the corner.
Over the last 23 years, we have worked with over 160 sportswear brands but for the last 10 years, we have focussed on helping starts-ups launch their brands.
We work with over 20 start-ups at any one point and help them through the different stages from branding, product design, samples, production, photoshoots and marketing.
If you are thinking of launching your own activewear brand, get in touch now to see how we can help form part of your team.