Messaging is a critical part of any brand. Among many other benefits, it helps set the tone for the brand and ensures that all stakeholders involved in communicating any messages about the brand are aligned. But, arguably, the biggest reason to ensure your brand messaging is thoughtful and purposeful is because it enables potential and existing consumers of your product or service to consistently hear what you’re offering, your values and brand pillars, and why these things are important to them. If this is done correctly and effectively, consumers will connect with your brand and see the value in your product or service.
Last week we talked about Audience Analysis. You MUST move through this process before you start creating your messaging. Creating messaging without an understanding of your target consumers’ needs, wants, values, demographics, etc. will undoubtedly result in missing the mark. And, if you miss the mark, target consumers won’t hear you. If by some crazy chance they do happen to hear you, they definitely won’t connect with you.
Once you’re confident you have a solid understanding of your audience, you can start developing and refining your messaging. There are many pieces to messaging and many ways to develop and house it. As a start, we recommend developing and sharing these points with your entire team:
Brand Promise: Think of a brand promise as a tagline. It should be customer-centric, communicate what you actually do, and what you’re promising.
Positioning Statement: The goal of this statement is to summarize how you fit in your market. Are you positioning yourself as the lowest cost, fastest, best quality, etc.? Is it for every consumer or a highly targeted, specific audience? Answers to these questions and others will help develop your more detailed messaging.
Target Audience: Define and learn as much as you can about your target audience and write it down for everyone on your team to see. These details can help in all levels of your business including product development, business development, marketing and retaining customers.
Mission: What is your vision for your company and what are you hoping to accomplish? Articulate the answers to these questions through your Mission.
Tone of Voice: How do you want to talk to your potential and existing customers? What do you want them to think of when your brand comes to mind? Identifying and committing to a Tone of Voice is important in all of your communications. When you’re identifying your Tone of Voice be sure to consider your audience and what will make the most sense to them as well as your company values and culture. You want your Tone of Voice to feel organic and considering these things will help ensure it does.
Brand Pillars: Brand pillars are the most important selling features of your business. Consider your target customer and what would make them purchase from you over a competitor. What important value points do you offer?
Brand Features: Brand features are points that support each brand pillar. For example, if you identify convenience as a brand pillar, one of your brand features may be explaining what makes your offering the easiest and simplest to use. (We aren’t big on repeating the exact same message over and over. We prefer to look at each point more as a theme. This allows each individual communicator to tailor the message to their own personality but keep the idea and overall point intact.)
Elevator Pitch: How would you describe your business to someone in just 30-60 seconds? What is important to share and what can you leave out? Be sure your most important brand pillars are included in your elevator pitch and, at the very least, make the person you’re talking to interested and engaged enough to ask more.
At the end of this process, you’ll have a solid tool that you can reference and utilize anytime you’re developing communications or materials to market your company and products or services. We also recommend you share this document with your entire team. It creates buy-in and consistency when every employee at every level understands what you’re about and what you’re working towards.
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