The momentum of your brand is important, especially for large retailers. Brand awareness does not build overnight, not even with an aggressive marketing budget. Awareness takes time to build. And without it, your product is less likely to sell at shelf. In most cases, a brand less than 2 years old lacks enough brand awareness to support sales at shelf. Therefore, building brand awareness should begin before your product is available in market.
Get comfy. This is a long post. Really, it should be called Marketing 101.
Where to begin: Start marketing before you launch
Brand awareness building should begin as soon as you lock down your brand name and website domain name. Start building your email list. A free and quick way to set up a landing page to collect emails is http://kickofflabs.com. Building your social media following can also begin early - even without a product ready to sell. Instagram is a great way to showcase your brand personality and begin building brand awareness. These are great ways to start nurturing relationships with your target consumers without spending much money or exposing your IP. Over time these assets will build a following for you. From there, you will have a solid foundation for which to execute a formal marketing strategy.