As a small business, there can be a lot of pressure to ensure a product launch goes well.
Sometimes the fortunes of the organization are directly linked to the successful launch of a new product or service. This can put a lot of pressure on a communications team tasked with getting maximum reach and reward ahead of a launch.
In the automotive industry, there’s a long and dubious history behind the protracted teaser campaign. Leading publications have a rendering specialist on hand to stitch teased images together into the final product, usually with mixed results.
Behind the teaser is the need for the organization to maximize conversation and reach through social engagement.
A teaser campaign works for some—not all
The reality is, some industries are a better fit for teaser campaigns than others. Cars, motorcycles, video games, books and films are all obvious candidates.
How many people stay past the credits at the end of a Marvel film just to see the teaser for the next film? (The Deadpool teaser is a great example.)
What do all of these teaser campaigns have in common? They have dedicated fans that lap up the leaked tidbits. If your industry has fans who eagerly await every announcement, no matter how small, then chances are a teaser campaign will work well for your organization.
Here are seven ways to maximize the impact of your teasers:
1. Think in layers.
A teaser campaign can last weeks—or even years. A good one always builds momentum as it gets closer to launch day.
Knowing which content will be produced or available during the planning phase will help you get the most from each tiny morsel of goodness. The key to this is to think in layers.
Build a central focal point for information: a Facebook page, website, or list. Then, add communication channels, but make it so the foundation remains the main source for official news.
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2. Be ready to rebuff.
If your industry is blessed with savvy commentators, prepare to have every exploratory question thrown your way. People with a passion for your industry will be desperate to read between the lines.
Even a slight pause by the CEO in response to a question will cause the phone to start ringing.
Have a robust response prepared that won’t damage the relationship. The old standby, “I can neither confirm nor deny…” may help you out here.
3. Think about the future.
Though general ‘noise’ is fantastic, the purpose behind the noise should be well-known by the communications team. Setting up a landing page where people can see official information and sign up for more will prove to be a valuable resource for sales teams once the product is in the market.
4. Reward your partners.
Teasing releases is also a chance to reward publications and outlets that have been good to you in the past. Yes, you need to engage new channels to tap new audiences, but you should also use the release of new information to thank those who already support your brand or product.
5. Be strategic.
If you’re using industry publications to help tease the new product or service, each will want a leg-up on their competition.
If you give one publication a sneak peek, there will be another who’ll want a photo or the first viewing, and another will want to demo the product first. Work out beforehand which outlets can help you achieve your goals and which are best to help at each stage of the teaser.
6. Don’t forget your advocates.
Every company has a secret weapon: customers who already love and support them.
Giving those loyal customers exclusive previews, with a nondisclosure agreement, will help build hype.
Dozens of car forums are ripe with VIP customers who share tidbits such as, “I was at the private showing, and although I can’t give details, all I can say is…wow!” Potential customers trust these loyal and valued customers much more than a journalist when forming the decision to buy.
6. Teamwork makes the dream work.
It’s frustrating when a multinational teaser campaign fails at the first hurdle because the company can’t provide information in a timely manner. Clear communication, backup plans, and fall-back assets will help keep your brand’s teaser campaign on-track and consistent.
What advice would you add? Share your stories of teaser campaigns—good and bad—in the comments.
Thomas Emmerson was instrumental in creating international marketing campaigns for Honda Europe’s motorcycle division and worked in PR and communications for Aston Martin. A version of this article originally appeared on the Spin Sucks blog.