Thinking of launching a new brand marketing campaign? it’s both an exciting and pressure-building experience, particularly if your company has a lot riding on the expected outcomes of the campaign. Present marketplace realities have made it difficult for many companies to stay profitable so bringing a new campaign to the market can be extremely important. Here are some cues you really shouldn’t ignore.

Don’t ever underestimate the power of a napkin. Some of the best ideas grow out of discussions with colleagues, and not necessarily those in marketing, per se. Ideas can occur from very unexpected places and people and none should be ignored. Mingle. Entertain. Socialize. Be available. All of these can lead to the big idea you’ve been searching for.

Don’t do your brand campaign in a vacuum. Nature abhors a vacuum and so do smart brand strategists. That’s because they know knowledge really is power so the more input you gather from as many sources as you can the more likely you are to be able to synthesize it down to the one selling proposition you need.

Make your company a bonus, not a service you want to sell. People purchase the expected outcomes they wish to achieve, not the process by which they achieve them. Many brand marketing campaigns fail because they are an announcement of a new widget or service that, which benefits the company selling it, but fails to present the benefits the purchaser will receive. This misses the mark completely. The best way to stay on track with the purchaser is to offer the bonus the purchaser has been looking for.

Make sure you really are an expert in whatever you are marketing. Over the years it has always amazed me how many companies attempted to sell things that they themselves were not expert in. Of course, eventually the market figures this out and that explains in great part why some companies succeed and others fail. Don’t try and be all things to all people. Rather, offer what you are expert in and leave the rest to someone else, or invest in that area and become the expert that is required.

Make testing a requirement, not an option. Be confident enough to put your campaign under the cold light of reality. But before you produce and launch, first determine what the true objectives of the campaign are. Leads? Image enhancement? Open new markets? Cross-marketing one of your product’s success with the new one? Decide what the core objective is before you develop the campaign and then test after the campaign is launched to judge the results. A long list of objectives that includes ‘everything and the kitchen sink’ is not going to lead you to success. Be specific. We want this new XYZ brand campaign to accomplish one thing.

Don’t ignore your competition. Why enter a market filled with 100 established companies who would immediately become your competitor? There are times when the smartest strategy is to not move into a market. So know your market, know your competitors and their market share, and then decide what the odds are of you’re winning there. Two factors to consider is how long have they been there and how successful are they? If they have been there a long time and have been profitable this means your new product/service better have some compelling reasons to choose them over what is already is regarded as a success.