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Brand Launch Campaign? Start Here.

“No one ever made a difference by being like everyone else.”
― P.T. Barnum

Ready? Set? The Brand Launch Campaign

The brand launch campaign has two jobs. The first, and most important, is to cut through competitive clutter to make a lasting (first) impression and lasting brand equity. So the target knows who you are and remembers. The second job of the brand launch campaign is to infuse surprise and delight into the new customer acquisition process. This second task should take a backseat to the first. But here is where brand launch campaigns often go wrong before they ever begin.

To adapt to cultural zeitgeist and ensure brands are relevant to the world around them, it’s true that brand launch campaigns needs nimbleness. Brand discovery should be exciting. Brand discovery should be memorable. All too often planning ensures excitement in a campaign’s creative messaging, but forgets paid media advertising. Or assumes it can be added-in later. Or assumes it’s simply to expensive to “do it properly.”

But you know what’s really expensive? The brand launch that fails to launch.


Why Brand Launches Need Paid Media

So why does a brand launch campaign need paid media? And what’s the right investment in brand reach to scale?

Here’s where we come in. While creative brilliance is essential, it’s paid media advertising that ensures your message reaches the right audiences, at the right time. The customers you win at launch can make or break your business, charting a quick path to lifetime value and viral word of mouth – or an unprofitable customer service nightmare. When a brand is new to market, the brand launch campaign is a test of whether you *have a market* at all. You only get one chance to make a first impression.

The brand launch campaign is where strategy meets the spotlight. To learn our award-winning secrets – and know whether Criterion Global might be a perfect partner for planning your brand launch – read on.

Two Paths, Diverging: Brand and Performance

In the past decade, advertising has witnessed a seismic shift. Performance media advertising – along with investment in Google, Meta, and Amazon – has surged, diverting brand budgets toward immediate returns. But in the rush to prove ROI, the art of brand differentiation often gets overlooked. Brand media investment and performance marketing have been pitted against one another, when in fact, they should work hand in hand.

However, branding and ROI are not mutually exclusive. Rather, we believe that they work hand in hand: branding builds trust, which makes direct-response sales easier to win.

In general, building brand equity takes time. But the rewards are great. An excellent brand launch campaign should use brand engagement metrics custom to the market, with an eye on impacting long-term equity and customer lifetime value. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither are great brands.


FAQs: What's the role of performance media in a brand launch?

1. What's the average ROI of a brand launch campaign?

The average ROI of a brand launch campaign is – and probably should be – negative for a time.* A brand launch campaign is about educating your market about why your brand deserves their attention and investment. If advertising is asking someone for a date, branding is the reason they say yes.

ROI should be evaluated for all new customers entering the pipeline as a result of the brand launch campaign and analyzed according to conversion path and time to conversion. How does a paid conversion compare to an unpaid conversion in value, purchase frequency behaviour across 2+ conversion cycles? The success of a brand launch should be evaluated by the scale and velocity of new customer acquisition, relative to its post-CAC value and (as applicable) profit – Not on a 1:1 ROI basis.

2. How do I *measure* my brand launch campaign performance?

Unlike performance marketing, which often aims for a direct 1:1 ROI, brand launch success is best measured by a set that includes qualitative and broader economic metrics. So often it’s easier to capture internal metrics – cost per click, engagement rates, CAC – than macro, or competitive metrics that are more meaningful. Is it market share, brand recognition, or capturing a specific audience segment? These are examples of external metrics that can indicate if you’re making a dent in your market, or just winning cheap clicks.

Our Measurement Map deliverable provides appropriate and measurable KPIs bespoke to every brand launch campaign we plan. Because it’s not rational to expect the same outcomes from every launch, particularly for new brands, particularly given that a brand launch should be all about differentiation.

3. How much do I need for a brand launch campaign?

If you’re the type whose blood pressure spikes from non-answers like “it depends,” we understand. We relate. So we’ll avoid the filler and simply invite you to read about our dedicated offering that helps CMOs from publicly-traded companies all the way to cross-border unicorn startups answer the vexing question of how to budget for advertising.

4. What are the 3 key parts of a brand launch campaign?

A brand launch campaign has 3 tasks:

  1. Educate the target audience
  2. Educate the market
  3. Make an impact on both

What do we mean by educate? If your campaign doesn’t explain the brand relative to its utility, emotional values, or competitive position, it can’t hold water as a brand launch campaign. Reconsider what your audience learns from your paid ads. Is this content appropriate to the context (media) where it’s consumed? If you need to tease the client to jump to your site, follow for more details, or watch any video :15s or longer, think again about how you’re educating your audience and the market at large.

So what, then, do we mean by make an impact? When considering scale and speed, is your brand launch campaign something capable to making your target audience take note, in a way that will educate the market that your offering has arrived? It’s a great win to say “in month 1, we won X% of our competitors customers”. This demonstrates impact on both your audience and your market, and puts your brand on the map.

The good news? Both educational content and “impact” are qualitatively measurable. We advise that brands invest in early testing (typically lower cost than imagined!) to gain feedback on both aspects of a brand launch campaign. For more on this, hit the button below to schedule a call on how you’re planning your launch.

To chat with an expert on how we can improve your media buying outcomes, schedule a free, zero-commitment 30-minute chat with one of our experts.

Manufacturing Magic + the Brand Launch Campaign

Think of any important relationships in your life. Odds are you can remember the way you first met that person. In a noisy market – for virtually every industry – the way a brand first “meets” a customer impacts how that customer perceives the brand. Paid media is the singular catalyst to measurably, reliably spark those first “meetings” – at scale, where you control the message, targeting, and context.

A brand launch should manufacture a bit of magic in this first encounter. As we shared above: if advertising is asking a customer on a date, branding is the reason they say yes. The brand launch campaign lays the foundation for future customer acquisition, so it’s imperative to get it right.

Your Team, On Your Timeline

Launching a brand is a journey. The right partners make all the difference. At Criterion Global, we’re not just an agency; we’re your trusted navigators in the world of paid media advertising

Why Criterion Global?

  1. Proven Expertise: With a history of launching brands globally, we know what it takes to stand apart in crowded markets.
  2. Data-Driven Strategies: We love data as much as you do. Our campaigns are fueled by insights, ensuring efficiency and impact.
  3. Flexible Infrastructure: We adapt to your needs, ensuring smooth lines of communication and a partnership that aligns with your goals.
  4. Measurable Impact: Impress your CFO with data-backed results. Our campaigns are designed to move the bottom line.

Cases + Proof

But don’t just take our word for it. Explore our success stories, where we’ve helped brands like ZEISS Optics, Belmond Hotels, Gorillas, Barbie, Guerlain, and many more capture attention, win hearts, and create lasting value.

Schedule a 30 min call with our strategists for more on how we might approach your forthcoming brand launch campaign.