The importance of brand messaging is lost on most people in business.
That’s not an assumption, that’s based on my experience having worked with countless entrepreneurs over the years.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard the question “How much for a logo?”, yet never in my career have I heard the question “how much for brand messaging?”.
Yet brand messaging plays a much more pivotal role in the end game of “branding”.
Branding aims to influence perceptions about a brand in order to persuade the audience to choose that brand over its competitors.
While the logo and visuals might steal a glance, it’s the brand message penetrates the mind and shapes perceptions.
Importance Of Brand Messaging Strategy
[The Video Breakdown]
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What Is Brand Messaging?
Brand messaging is any and all communication your brand delivers to your audience across all touch points.
Now on the face of it, that might seem like a very broad way to describe your brand message, and it is.
But your brand touches your audience at many different touch points and each one of these touch points is an opportunity to influence their perceptions of your brand.
These touch points can include:
Point of sale
Customer Service Reps
Social media posts
If your brand message is not strategically developed to shape all of these touch points, then your brand will be misaligned and inconsistent both of which lead to confusion, then distrust.
Ultimately, your brand message is everything you want your audience to understand about your brand.
Your brand lives in the mind of your audience.
If you don’t take the time to develop your brand message at every touch point based on what you want your audience to understand about your brand, then each message is a missed opportunity to shape the mind of your audience.
The Core Brand Message
The term “Core Message” is a popular one in the branding arena.
Most articles you read will provide you with some kind of formula to create a paragraph of text that is essentially your core message.
Although it’s important to have a message that communicates the most important thing you want your audience to know about your brand, this is not enough to shape their perceptions.
To give your brand the best possible chance of living in the mind of your audience with the perception you are aiming for, you need to feed that perception with everything you want them to understand about your brand.
And in spite of the fact that most “core message” articles promote this body of copy as the Holy Grail in messaging, it’s only one slice of the whole pie.
Your brand needs more than a body of copy to shape the mind of your audience. It needs a brand messaging framework.
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What Is A Brand Messaging Framework?
Your brand messaging framework consists of multiple bodies of copy with each representing a key message you want your audience to understand about your brand.
These key messages include:
Provided your brand has been strategically developed to align with who your audience is, the more they understand about your brand, the more accurately you shape their idea of your brand.
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Use Brand Messaging Hierarchy
Not all key messages are created equal.
Your audience has a very short attention span and their reptilian brain works overtime to automatically dismiss 95% of marketing messages.
There are many things you want your audience to understand about your brand though these messages have a natural hierarchy.
Messages need to be prioritized in terms of importance based on what the audience deems important to them.
Develop A Primary Core Message
You most important key messages make up your primary core message and this very quickly need to answer the audience’s question “What’s In It For Me”.
So the lead message needs to scratch that itch.
Why should your audience stop and take notice of your brand?
What do you do differently?
What’s the value of that difference?
How will it impact their lives?
What pain-point will it resolve?
Craft A Secondary Core Message
The secondary core message allows the brand to display its human side to deliver messages that appeal just beyond the immediate value they bring to the table.
This is an opportunity for the brand to display aligned characteristics and give the audience a reason to do business aside from the offer they have in the market.
The secondary core message may show the audience
What we believe in
Where we’d like to go
What we hold dear
What’s important to us
Why we value you
The primary core message is delivered as a priority to prove the brand can help them resolve a problem while the secondary core message proves there is more to the brand than just a transaction.
Use Brand Messaging & Tone Of Voice
What you say to your audience will influence what your audience knows and understands about your brand, but the way you say it will shape how they feel about the brand.
Brands that connect with their audience through human characteristics and a defined personality are far more likely to resonate with them on a human level.
Your brand language and tone of voice play a vital role in in delivering your message.
Who your audience is, what they want, the emotions they’re going through are all important factors when developing your brand messaging strategy.
So before you sit down and start bashing out your messages, consider the “person” you want your brand to be and the best way for that persona to engage with your audience.
Develop A Brand Messaging Guide
Branding is about consistency and nowhere is that more applicable than with your brand messaging.
A “core message paragraph” will provide you with a very distilled message that will help your audience to understand what you do.
But if you have any intentions on shaping the mind of that audience (which you should) then you’ll need more than a paragraph of text.
A brand messaging guide defines the critical elements of the brand you want your audience to understand in order to shape the idea of your brand in their mind.
Having a brand messaging guide to consistently deliver these messages over time provides your brand with a mind shaping tool.
Sell Your Outcome Through Your Brand Message
It’s important not to get caught up in specifics and details when it comes to your messaging.
Features and benefits might be what sets your products or services apart from the rest, but drilling that message home time and again, doesn’t have the impact you might think.
Speaking of drills…
When you go to the hardware store to buy a drill, you’re not buying the drill your buying the hole in the wall.
Likewise, your brand is not selling the thing, it’s selling the outcome that the thing provides.
If your brand sells soft drinks, it’s selling refreshment.
If your brand sells accounting services, it’s selling peace of mind.
When you understand in great detail the outcome you audience desires and the emotional connection they have to both achieving and not achieving that outcome, you can develop a brand message that resonates.
“Your brand is not what you say it is, it’s what they say it is”
“Your brand is what others say about you when you’re not in the room”
“Your brand is a “gut-feeling” your audience has”
There are many ways to describe a brand, but one thing is clear. Your brand lives in the mind of your audience and it’s that mind your brand messaging must shape.
Only by defining what you want you audience to understand about your brand and delivering that consistently over time, do you have any chance of shaping that mind in the light you intent.
Don’t just send out a core message. Develop a messaging framework and use it as a tool for your brand.
I’d love to know in the comments below if this has given you a new perspective on brand messaging.
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