Because a media launch is a one-time deal, you have only one chance to get it right. In fact, a media launch can make or break a brand.
But no pressure, right?
Though it can be an incredibly nerve-wracking event, a media launch doesn’t have to feel like you’re a contestant on an episode of Shark Tank. With proper research and planning, you’ll be able to determine exactly how to position the brand when presenting it to the media for the first time, so that it can not only set itself apart from the tough competition, but do so with aplomb.
Here’s what we did for our client, Beam.
An e-scooter sharing service, Beam officially launched in May 2019, amidst the hustle and bustle of Mont Kiara’s sprawling condominiums and luxe commercial clusters. Beam introduced their fleet of e-scooters in this neighbourhood, specifically chosen because it caters to the brand’s target demographic, during an intimate media launch scheduled almost a year after they first announced their move into Kuala Lumpur.
In addition to the launch attended by a small group of select journalists, Beam reached out to all key media outlets, announcing the arrival of the e-scooter service in Malaysia’s capital. For local media, Beam adopted a personalised approach for its launch, detailing its role as a supplementary transportation service and ridesharing provider, as well as its plans to work with local town councils to improve accessibility to transit options and bring greater mobility to citizens.
Going by the success of Beam in Malaysia, the media launch did the trick! Here are some of the ways we worked to help Beam maximise results in each stage of a media launch.
Plan, prepare and predict
During the planning stages of the launch, ask what you want your brand to achieve, and determine which metrics of success matter to you the most.
Is the main aim to position the brand in the market, to increase sales, to improve awareness or to boost top-of-mind recall? Depending on the goal, create a briefing document that showcases the story of the brand and contains actionable statements providing guidance to the media on the kinds of stories to tell. For Beam, the goal was to exhibit how the e-scooter service positively affected the pedestrian community in KL’s city centre.
After identifying brand positioning and goals, it’s time to prepare a hand-selected list of key media consisting of journalists and publications who will do justice to the story, and have relevant expertise in that industry. If you don’t reach the right people, your outreach efforts may be futile.
Pitch, pitch and re-pitch
When preparing to contact media outlets, don’t take one press release or pitch note and send it wide. Instead, determine which brand stories are best suited for which publications, and then tailor pitches to suit the requirements of each editor or publication. When pitching a potential angle or story, always highlight the storyline,which should clearly communicate why readers will care, and have a call-to-action statement that makes highlights the next step for the brand. Offer journalists a conversation with the client company’s CEO or spokesperson for greater depth.
After the initial emails are sent out, be sure to follow-up with the journalists – possibly more than once. They’re busy people with full inboxes, and a gentle follow-up will be appreciated. If they respond with interest, but don’t think the angle for the story works, see how you can alter it – or provide them another angle altogether – so that the piece works for the publication.
Curate an experience
Gone are the days when media launches consisted of journalists and publications arriving at a designated venue to sit in a ballroom and listen to the CEO or company spokesperson talk about about a new product. Instead, journalists prefer to experience more laid-back launches – events that allow people to get to know the product in a relaxing manner.
It is imperative that the journalists become immersed in a new product and experience it for themselves in order to have a better idea about what the product is and how it operates. Only by understanding all facets of the product, will they be able to create a coherent, well-rounded narrative and do it justice.
Interactions between the brand/company and the media should be personalised, engaging and feel familiar. The overall vibe of the event should match the brand, giving media representatives a sense of not only the product, but the overall brand experience.
By interacting with the product in a hands-on manner and having easy access to brand representatives during the launch, the journalists will be able to tell a story readers can enjoy.
Capitalise on the existing buzz
While a large part of the triumph of your media launch hinges on the actual event itself, you have to lay the foundation for success well before the big day. Set yourself up for a great launch by engaging in persistent media outreach prior to the launch, as well as consistent follow-up measures after it.
Check-in with all journalists contacted for the launch – both those who did and did not attend – to find out if they need further information for their piece or if they would like the launch highlights so they can write about it even if they weren’t there. Offer additional interviews to journalists, publications and broadcast media, especially if they need clarifying information or if they have decided to take the story in a different direction. For instance, if a tech journalist attended the launch and realised that they could include a “community” angle to their narrative, their work could be developed into a feature with the right input.
As stories are published, it’s possible – perhaps even likely – more outlets will reach out to you, interested to run their own story about the brand. Do not turn down these opportunities, even if you feel like you’ve reached or exceeded the amount of coverage you hoped for – you want the word to be out about your brand, and the more people talking about it means more potential customers.
Beam’s launch was a runaway success in Kuala Lumpur’s city centre. In all honesty, journalists and potential users were initially critical of the brand’s offerings and capabilities over email. But this sentiment didn’t last for long, dissipating the moment the journalists and the Beam team hit the road and cruised around the roads of Mont Kiara. It just required the right experience – which is something you, too, can provide with a media launch that is properly planned and executed.
Looking to create an event that wows, but don’t feel confident in planning it yourself? Drop us a line at email@example.com