Unbelievably, stage fear may even affect brands. Sometimes they are aware of what they want to say, but they find it difficult to put it into words while their consumer is focused on them. A lot more work goes into brand marketing than “just do it.” But it’s essential to your achievement.
There’s more to your brand messaging than just your offers and services. In fact, it’s among the best strategies for expanding your clientele:
- About 64% of consumers say the primary reason they connect with a brand is shared values.
- Brand consistency leads to an average increase in revenue of 23%.
- When evaluating brands, people rely more on emotions and experiences, rather than logic and facts.
Brand messaging encapsulates the core elements of your brand to appeal to your customers’ hearts over their minds—and that can be a challenge. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about brand messaging to earn not just a sale, but a loyal, lifelong customer.
What is Brand Messaging?
Brand messaging is the art of using the right words to communicate the essence of your brand to potential customers. In a perfect world, you could sit with all potential customers over coffee and explain why they should do business with you. But in reality your customers only have a split-second with your ad or website to make a gut decision about whether you’re worth their money. Your products and services might speak for themselves, but clear, strong messaging is a surefire way to get them into the hands (and minds) of your customers.
Your brand strategy will determine exactly what you want to communicate—whether it’s your low prices or your fashionable brand identity—but here are two essential places to start.
The core of brand message is how you want other people to see you, including your team and customers. Internal branding is the first step. Company mission statements, values, and culture lay the groundwork for how prospective clients will perceive your brand and position in the industry.
- Internal brand messaging
Brand messaging starts with how you and your team define your brand. Your mission, vision and values affect your employees as much as the general public. Company culture develops directly from circulation of internal brand messages (like Google’s “fun” work environment for example), so it’s vital to define these early in your company’s development.
When you begin developing your brand messaging, spend time identifying your core mission, vision and values. These will be vital to the rest of your messaging and to your business itself.
- External brand messaging
Messaging for the general public, aimed at drumming up business, is what most people think about when they think of brand messaging. These outward-facing messages tend to be more informational and actionable than inward-facing ones, which typically revolve around ideas.
External messaging includes your positioning statement, differentiators, value propositions, and slogan. Successful marketing always develops out of these core statements to keep your messaging consistent.
How to Get Started With Brand Message
After mastering brand messaging and developing a brand identity, you may be asking yourself, “What next? How can I begin?”
It’s a valid question, too. For this reason, we have developed a framework for brand messages that you may use to start developing a brand identity or message.
1. Figure out who you are.
To get started, your brand message needs to answer these questions:
- How do you differentiate from your competitors?
- What is your unique value proposition?
- What kind of messaging will resonate with your target audience?
- Who is your target audience? What do they care about?
- Does your brand message tell a story?
- What are your company’s goals? (No one is perfect and your target audience can’t relate to a seemingly perfect brand).
- What are your company’s values?
While you’re answering these questions and beginning to map out who your brand identity is and what your brand messaging will look like, remember that your brand message answers the question, why? Why does your audience care?
2. Know your audience.
Now that you have a better idea of what you offer and who you are, you need to understand who your audience is. If you haven’t already, create buyer personas that represent who your customers are and their goals. This will help you find alignment between your brand and your consumers.
3. Start a document that explains your brand message.
After you’ve answered the questions above and written out your personas, begin compiling this information in a document that explains what your brand message is, your unique value proposition, and key themes that are core to your brand identity.
Read Also: Taglines of Top 100 Brands
Then, start to figure out how your brand identity relates to your buyer persona. What are the patterns and what do they have in common? This is how you’ll make decisions on brand messaging. You’ll see what your audience cares about that align with your values and can derive messaging opportunities.
4. Brainstorm messaging opportunities.
With a clear document that represents who you are and who your audience is, you can then begin to look for messaging opportunities. How can you relate your current campaigns to your brand message? How can you use content to convey your values?
Once you have an idea, you can create a tagline that communicates who you are and your unique value proposition.
At this point, you should have created a brand message and identity that’ll inform your messaging. Now, we wanted to review a few tips for creating messaging that stays true to your brand:
- Stay focused on the brand positioning: With all the content you write, ask yourself, “Is this true to our values?”
- Relate to your audience: When you create content, use your buyer personas and brand messaging document to ensure that you’re talking about something that’s relevant to your audience.
- Don’t be perfect: Similarly to the point above, people aren’t perfect and brands shouldn’t be either. Don’t over promise and communicate that you’re perfect, because you aren’t and it’ll come off disingenuous.
- Communicate your message everywhere: In everything you write and all your marketing decisions, think about your brand message. Whether you’re writing copy for your website, creating slogans for packaging, or marketing an event, your copy needs to communicate your brand message.
- Be simple: Keep it simple. If your brand’s personality or overall values are confusing or hard to discern, people won’t relate to you. The last thing you want to do is create a brand message that your audience is confused by.
What Are The Components of Brand Messaging?
Your mission statement is a short sentence or two that answers the “why” of your business. In other words, why do you do what you do?
Craft your mission statement by filling in this blank: We exist to ______. Brainstorm several iterations of this statement so you can find one that perfectly captures the heart of your business and why you believe in the work you do. Make sure to stick with the why. We’ll get the who, what and how later.
To give you a concrete example, take a look at our official mission statement: We champion creativity to bring opportunities to people around the world.
We carefully selected every word to evoke specific elements of our brand. For example, “creativity” points to our priorities of art, design and imagination. “Opportunities” directly reflects our goal of connecting freelance designers and clients. “Around the world” highlights our international community and our love of diversity.
Kickstarter’s mission statement is to “help bring creative projects to life.” This is why their business exists. With their mission statement, they express that they come to work everyday with a helpful attitude that’s focused on creativity and success. The how (their crowdfunding model) comes later.
One more thing about mission statements: unlike other pieces of your messaging, your mission statement is often both internal and external. You’ll use it to “rally the troops” of your company, but also to let the world know why you’re here. Keep that in mind and use clear, simple words when you start crafting your statement.
2. Vision statement
Your vision statement is a forward-looking, imaginative statement that sets a future goal of what you want to see happen in the world because of the work your company does. In other words, where is your company going?
Create your vision statement by filling in this blank: Our company will be _______. Again, brainstorm lots of ideas before you choose one that has all of the right pieces.
Let’s take a look at our official vision statement: To be the most trusted global creative platform for professional designers to find and do work online.
Our vision directs where our company is headed and helps us focus all of our brand messaging on a clear goal for the future.
Your values are the guideposts that determine how you you do business. If your vision is the ultimate destination, then your values are the map that guide your company’s journey into the future.
Identify your values by filling in this blank: We believe ______. Write as many down as you can and then edit this down to a shorter list that only relates your core business and mission.
Here are the values at 99designs:
- We believe in putting people first.
- We believe design has no borders.
- We believe in people helping people create their own success.
- We believe the journey should be fun.
Simplified further, our values of people, diversity, helping, and fun guide the work we do everyday and form the basis of our messaging.
4. Positioning statement
If your mission hits the why, your positioning statement hits the what, who and how of your business. This statement is incredibly vital to the health and success of your brand, primarily because a large number of people will see it.
Positioning statements name your audience, your industry, your promise, and your evidence. Here’s a quick template to get you started:
For [your audience], [your brand] is the [your market] that best delivers on [your brand promise].
Take a look at the 99designs positioning statement: We’re the global creative platform that makes it easy for designers and clients to work together to create designs they love.
- Industry: We’re a global creative platform.
- Audience: We’re for designers and clients.
- Promise: We make it easy to work together to create designs you love.
Great external marketing should always circle back to your positioning statement.
Your differentiators are the things that set your brand apart from your competitors. Your brand strategy and business model will help determine these, but your brand messaging needs to convey them to your customers.
Start defining your differentiators by listing what makes you different and better in your industry. Think about things like your audience, your price point, your quality, your ingredients, your materials, your values, your service. Anything you do differently can be a differentiator.
Elevate 3 or 4 of them that are most meaningful to your audience as your main differentiators that you’ll communicate throughout your marketing materials.
Whatever time your potential customers give your brand—a glance at your logo, skimming your website, scrolling through your social media posts—you need to make the most of it. You differentiators help express your uniqueness, fast.
6. Value propositions
Value propositions are short statements that define what you can do for your customers—or what the value of your business or product is. You’ll likely have more than one, and if you have several customer segments, you can have different value propositions for each.
Their homepage clearly tells potential customers what they’ll get from using their product and service. These are their three primary value propositions:
- Evernote lets you take notes everywhere.
- Evernote helps you find information faster.
- Evernote makes it easy to share ideas with anyone.
These statements can show up in various forms in all sorts of marketing materials, but your home page is a great place to share them all. This primary destination introduces all visitors to the basic overview of who you are and what people can expect from you.
Effective brand messaging is more than just what you say, but how you say it. Your brand voice brings the personality of your business to life.
Decide whether you’re passionate, casual, funny, professional, or whatever fits your brand. Craft a voice with that in mind and consistently use it in your marketing materials so your customers will begin to emotionally connect with your brand.
Shakespeare’s lesson on brand marketing Compared to most real people, Hamlet is a sophisticated character with greater emotional nuance and interior monologue. But his most famous statement, “to be or not to be,” sums up who he is in an easy way. This is a result of Hamlet’s spot-on marketing messaging.
Your brand’s messaging is the spoken representation of its essence. Shakespeare may not be attainable, but we can provide you with the next best thing: guidance on brand messaging and the critical role it plays in your company’s success. Make careful not to undervalue its influence.