launch a new brandThey say that creating a new brand and launching a new product is not for the faint of heart. I found that out over the last couple of months. You can’t help but have some personal skin in the game. My reputation on the line.


Months of strategy sessions, market research, logo, product design and sleepless nights should all, hopefully, result in a meaningful brand and a financially successful business. The months of comprehensive research didn’t happen. Just good old seat of your pants marketing- generally a recipe for failure. Yet, within 45 days, we had a strong brand and product. We’ve had nothing but positive feedback and some sales. I can’t remember a time that I had so much fun and worked so hard. Our little marketing team had a success on our hands.


Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing our story of creating a new brand and product offering. I’ll cover everything from brand development to post launch. I'll share all our successes, the trip-ups, dirty secrets, and fumbles during the launch.


I haven't worked for an agency nor have had any formal branding education. This isn’t a comprehensive list of steps for a successful brand. This is more of a story of a marketing generalist being asked to add “branding expert” to his long list of other competencies. It’s worth a read if you do any sort of branding or like to watch other people cry. It could be worth a laugh.


I am the Marketing Manager for two multi-location moving companies. My responsibilities include marketing strategy, lead development, sales support, SEO, PPC, website design and graphics. That was what was listed on the job description. As with all small to midsize companies, the actual list of responsibilities is just a bit longer. Oh, and brand development wasn’t on the list.


I certainly didn’t do this project alone. We have a small marketing team of very talented individuals, Rob Schmidt, the VP of Sales and Marketing and Ashley Towne, our Marketing Administrator. When Ashley joined our team a few months ago, she had no idea of the important role she would play. We were all in the boat together.


So, here is how it all happened.


“By the way, we are going to start a new business venture,” shared the owner.


I was on a very short vacation- my first since I had joined the company. I was told that an online meeting was being called by the owners at 2PM TODAY and that I was encouraged to mandatorily attend. I guess that made it a working vacation. So much for a little beach time.


During the call, it was announced that the owner had decided to purchase over 150 new containers for mobile storage use. Wow. Didn’t see that coming. It was discussed that over the next week we would be meeting in person to develop a strategy.


Originally, it was suggested that we would name the company after one of the other well-known companies under common ownership. As a Marketing Manager, I of course, was salivating at the opportunity to create a new “lasting and memorable brand.” Maybe I was doing a little kingdom building too. And clearly, I was jumping in over my head.


Most of the competitors in the market, including the market leading national brand, have fairly nondescript (nice way to say boring) names and visual components. Maybe we had an opportunity?


Unfortunately, the top competitor is so popular and successful that their name has become synonymous with the industry as a whole-- sort of like Kleenex in the facial tissue industry. Does anyone say, "hand me a facial tissue?" When a whole product industry gets referred to by a brand, you know you have some tough competition.


In the executive meeting, the venture was discussed. My boss, Rob, the VP of Sales and Marketing, brought up to ownership our proposed concept called “Jump Box”. There was a moment of silence. At that point, Rob gulped and thought about updating his resume. Then the owner said, “Hmm, we haven’t thought of going that direction.” Rob breathed again.


Our strategy was to create a stand-alone brand concept having no benefit of the initial well-established affiliated brand name being initially considered. We wanted to create a new brand that would resonate with our target demographic. We wanted a fresh brand, not stodgy, but catchy and memorable. The executive committee liked it. Jump Box. Catchy name. An initial concept of the brand logo was presented, and they even liked it more.


I’d like to say that months of research had gone into the development of the name. In fact, it was literally one of those “thinking in the shower” moments. No research, no focus groups, no agency think tank.


The first things I did after coming up with the name was to:

· Check to see if the domain was available

· Checked the USPTO (United State Patent and Trademark Office) to see if there was a trademark on the name