Buoying product launches, image libraries, and more

How do I develop a product launch strategy that works?

Product launches
How do I develop a product launch strategy that works?

Planning is key, says Meredith Bove of McCabe, Duval & Associates. The more the team knows up-front, the more it can contribute to strategy and the easier it is to integrate with the creative and product development efforts.

A compelling story is the core of any solid media relations program and thus a key component that can make or break a launch. Bove suggests connecting the story to one or more larger industry trends. "Talk about the implications for the market," she adds. "Don't be afraid to include competitors."

Lastly, don't underestimate the power of pre-pitching and pre-briefing. "Pre-pitching reporters and analysts on product news is vital," Bove notes. "It gives them time to digest the de- tails, connect the dots, line up sources, and plan for the story."

She adds that pre-briefing your top reporters and analysts can lead to solid editorial coverage, provided the parties involved agree to a pre-brief under embargo.

Image libraries
From packaging to presentations, our image library is a mess and looks unprofessional. How can we get our materials to look more consistent?

Shrinking budgets and timelines coupled with clip art and do-it-yourself software can wreak havoc on a corporation's image, says Funnel Incorporated's Lori Wilson. "A consistent, user-friendly visual library with usage guidelines and templates can banish that cobbled-together, amateurish look that is so prevalent," she explains.

A growing trend is the commission of a common visual language customized to the specific needs of the organization. Frequently used terms, services, products, or processes are illustrated to reflect the company's unique differences and make corporate communications more efficient.

"Icons and infographics are adept at breaking the rules of reality to tell a story or summarize a product's features in a more engaging manner," adds Wilson. "An added benefit is the universal understanding and appeal to various audiences."

When visual clichŽs, outdated design styles, and poorly drawn cartoons are eliminated, the message can be the hero, she notes. Having a common visual language results in a concise, uniform presentation that can more accurately reflect an organization's mission and personality.

Press releases
Should market research data be included in press releases?

For PR pros, including statistics in a press release can mean the difference between capturing the attention of a top-tier journalist or having a news announcement dismissed as conjecture, says Dan Beltramo of Vizu Corporation, an online provider of do-it-yourself market research.

Fresh new facts or figures in press releases boost pick-up and attract attention, he adds. New data turns otherwise self-serving press releases into the basis for an informative story.

"We recently tested the value of market research data in press releases by sending out two versions of the same [one]," Beltramo reports. "The first version included stats from a survey we conducted for a client. The second virtually identical version excluded specific numbers." The first version had a significant increase in readership. In fact, notes Beltramo, the number of readers for that version was 70% higher.

"Market research findings clearly lend credibility to press releases by grounding claims and backing up assertions with data," he adds. A subsequent review of the coverage spurred by the test press releases showed that virtually all coverage cited one or more numerical statistics provided in the releases.

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