The ability to communicate exactly what your brand offers, in as few words as possible, is an essential skill. If your own team is still struggling to work it out, how can you expect your customers to understand your offering any better? This is where brand messaging comes into play – how you communicate your value proposition and craft the messages that fall under the brand’s umbrella. A brand message is literally about how your brand speaks to the world.
Branding and messaging go hand in hand. It’s all about capturing the eye of a potential customer, showcasing your brand’s personality, and succinctly explaining what you have to offer, in every piece of content you produce. But why does that matter? Why can’t you just send every potential customer a novella explaining why they should choose you?
Enter Proof Content – here to answer all these questions and more. We’ll even provide you with some dos and don’ts to help you craft your own compelling brand message strategy – one that best resonates with your audience.
What is brand messaging?
Brand messaging is the beating heart of your company’s identity; a compass that guides both internal and external communication efforts; a voice that connects with both employees and target audiences. It is much more than a catchy phrase, or a pretty logo.
It demonstrates your unique selling propositions and tells potential customers why they should choose you. In addition, it’s the perfect way to change or amplify your brand essence, because it delves into what makes your brand unique.
If you’re looking for a brand messaging definition, at its core, it is about distilling your organisation’s complex ideas and offerings into clear, concise, and compelling key messages that speak directly to your audience. It must capture everything there is to know about your brand and communicate this in a way that’s easy to understand and most importantly, remember.
Brand messaging acts as a single source of truth for all your marketing and communication endeavours. It ensures consistency in how your brand is presented across various channels, including your website, social media, advertising campaigns, and customer interactions.
A well-crafted brand message is not only attention-grabbing but also establishes an emotional connection with your audience. It helps differentiate your brand from competitors and positions you as the solution to their needs and desires.
Where to start with your brand messaging
To start, you’ll need to identify your brand’s values, mission, and overall Positioning. Brand messaging should accurately reflect the unique qualities that make your brand so exceptional. It isn’t just about what you say, but also how you say it. The tone, language, and style of your messaging should always align with your brand’s personality and your target audience.
You should identify the “personality” you want your brand to exude. Are you a trusted expert? Authoritative? Fun? Friendly? Or, all of the above? It can be useful to zero in on one brand archetype, or choose attributes that synergise well together. Whichever you choose, your brand must speak to this personality throughout all of its messaging.
Additionally, you must understand your target audience inside and out.
- What are their pain points?
- What motivates them?
- What are their aspirations?
By empathising with your audience, you can develop messaging that speaks directly to them. Consistency is key. Ensure that your messaging remains uniform across all touchpoints and you’ll create a cohesive brand experience that potential customers won’t be able to ignore.
Why does a brand messaging strategy matter?
A brand messaging strategy (or brand communication strategy) isn’t a mere luxury – it’s a fundamental component of any successful marketing and branding effort. A well-crafted brand messaging strategy matters for several reasons.
- Clarity and consistency: A brand messaging strategy provides clarity and ensures consistency in how your brand is communicated across all channels. It helps your team, as well as your customers, clearly understand what your brand stands for, what it offers, and why that matters. Consistent messaging builds trust and strengthens brand recognition.
- Differentiation: Distinguish yourself from the competitors with a strategy that amplifies your unique value proposition. Effective differentiation creates a memorable impression and lets people know how your brand is unique.
- Emotional connection: A well-crafted brand message can connect with customers on an emotional level. It tunes into their needs, aspirations, and values, which in turn helps forge a deeper connection. By addressing their pain points and offering solutions, you can create a bond with potential customers, leading to more brand loyalty.
- Increased engagement: When your brand messaging strikes a chord with your target audience, it sparks interest and engagement. Compelling messages capture attention, inspire action, and drive meaningful interactions. A strategic brand messaging strategy helps you communicate in a way that compels your audience to take notice and join in.
- Brand reputation: Your brand messaging strategy directly impacts your brand’s reputation. Clear and consistent messaging builds trust and credibility. When customers understand and relate to your brand, they’re much more likely to trust your offerings and become advocates.
Brand messaging guidelines
Crafting exciting brand messages requires careful consideration and adherence to certain guidelines. These guidelines serve as a roadmap to help you create consistent, impactful, and effective brand messaging.
- Understand your audience: Start by thoroughly researching your target audience. You need to know their pain points, where they’re from, and what they like and dislike. Your messaging should target their needs and aspirations.
- Outline your unique value proposition: Uncover why your brand is different from the competition. Identify the unique benefits or solutions you offer and communicate them succinctly in your messaging.
- Keep it clear and concise: Avoid jargon and complicated language. Use simple, straightforward language to convey your message. Your audience should be able to understand your brand’s offerings without any confusion.
- Showcase your brand personality: Infuse your brand messaging with your company’s personality and tone of voice. Whether it’s playful, professional, or authoritative, ensure uniformity across all communication channels.
- Employ storytelling: Captivate your audience with storytelling elements. You’ll facilitate an emotional connection with your audience and help them relate more deeply to your brand.
- Highlight customer benefits: Focus on communicating the value and benefits your customers will receive from choosing your brand. Showcase how your offerings can solve their problems or improve their lives.
- Remain authentic: This is vital if you want to begin to build trust with your audience. Ensure that your brand messaging reflects the genuine nature of your brand, aligning with your values and mission.
- Test and iterate: Continuously test your brand messaging to gauge its effectiveness. Collect feedback from customers, monitor engagement metrics, and make adjustments to improve its impact.
- Aim for consistency: Maintain consistency across all communication channels, including your website, newsletters, social media, digital campaigns, and customer interactions. Consistency in messaging helps build a strong, recognizable brand identity.
- Stay updated: Regularly review and update your brand messaging to stay relevant and aligned with market trends, customer preferences, and any industry developments.
By following these brand messaging guidelines, you can create messaging that resonates with your audience, effectively communicates your brand’s value proposition, and sets the stage for building strong brand relationships.
Where to use brand messaging
Brand messaging informs every single one of your internal and external communications. From slogans and taglines to blogs and company newsletters, your brand message is behind all the copy that makes up this content. In the same way that Apple’s products convey their brand message of sophistication through their minimalist design, your brand message must speak through the content you produce.
Distilling the essence of your brand into a few short snappy sentences is incredibly challenging and what makes a good slogan is a tricky question to answer. But, when done right, having one can launch your brand into the public consciousness. Sports brands like Nike and Adidas used slogans like “Just do it” and “Impossible is nothing” to demonstrate their brand messages of overcoming challenges and pushing yourself to win.
Showcasing your brand with an advertising campaign requires an effective brand messaging strategy. For example, McDonald’s has positioned itself as a fast food company that not only provides affordable food but also “feel-good” moments. In its advertising, McDonald’s focuses far more on this aspect, with TV adverts featuring laughing families in their restaurants.
Another example would be UberEats for Business – its website speaks directly to employers and is driven by the belief that employers want their employees to be happy. UberEat’s target audience is the direct and only focus, creating a sense of authenticity that screams “We know what we’re doing”.
Social media has changed the way brands interact with their customers – Wendy’s and Taco Bell are two such examples that implemented a sarcastic, irreverent style of humour to appeal to the online generation. It goes to show that a brand messaging strategy must always stay relevant – it may be tweaked as and when the desires of the target audience shift.
Blogs, newsletters, and articles
One common form of interaction with target audiences is through blogs, newsletters, and articles. HubSpot is particularly good at creating effective and eye-catching blogs that directly address the issues they know their customers face, like their article “23 Blogging Mistakes to Avoid in 2023, According to HubSpot Bloggers”. If you are positioning yourself as an authoritative brand, then thought leadership articles or whitepapers can help cement this image in your audience’s minds.
Brand Messaging Examples
As we’ve discussed, brand messaging goes beyond crafting catchy slogans; it encompasses how brands communicate across all their internal and external interactions. Here we discuss how some well-known brands have successfully incorporated their brand messaging.
Apple has mastered its brand messaging strategy – they maintain an expert level of consistency wherever they are encountered. Everything they produce, from their phones to their adverts, oozes simplicity and class. Every interaction a customer has with the Apple brand entrenches the idea in their mind that their products are synonymous with luxury.
They make you believe that if you looked up the word “sophistication” in a dictionary, there would be a reference to an iPhone. Their logo is simple and aligns well with their design philosophy, creating a completely synergistic brand message that is understood immediately.
Slack’s brand messaging revolves around doing what they can to improve team collaboration and productivity, with a platform that offers seamless communication. They strive to make workflows simpler and more efficient for companies of any size, with an easy-to-use and intuitive interface.
Slack’s scalability can be seen in its logo, which was redesigned to exemplify its core beliefs. It’s a simple design that can be viewed effectively on any device – just as Slack itself can be used by anyone. This message permeates throughout their brand, including their tagline: “Whatever work you do, you can do it in Slack”.
Proof strives to produce content that speaks directly to your target audience. It’s not about how loudly you speak, but how clearly. That’s because clear, compelling messaging is worth far more than simply drowning your customers in irrelevant content. You’ll see this brand messaging throughout our website, such as within our main ethos: “Speak clearer. Not louder.”
The dos and don’ts
To help you navigate the path to success, here are some dos and don’ts when it comes to brand messaging.
Keep it concise: Capture your audience’s attention by delivering your brand message concisely and memorably. Use powerful and impactful language that cuts through the noise.
Highlight your uniqueness: Define what sets you apart from anyone else. Emphasise the unique benefits or solutions you offer to showcase your true value.
Make it customer-centric: Focus on your audience’s needs and desires. Craft your message to address their pain points and demonstrate how your brand provides solutions.
Evoke emotions: Create an emotional connection by incorporating storytelling and appealing to your audience’s emotions. This helps build a strong bond and makes your message more memorable.
Align with your brand’s tone and personality: Ensure your message reflects your brand’s unique personality, tone, and voice. Consistency in messaging helps build brand recognition and strengthens your brand identity.
Avoid vague language: Avoid using generic or flowery language that doesn’t communicate your brand’s value. Be precise when describing what you offer and how it benefits your customers. There’s no point calling yourself a “purveyor of worldwide experiences” when a “travel agent” will do!
Don’t overcomplicate it: Steer clear of technical jargon or intricate terminology that could potentially make your audience more confused.
Steer clear of empty claims: Back up your brand message with tangible evidence. Avoid making exaggerated claims without providing substance or proof of your brand’s capabilities.
Don’t get lost in the crowd: Highlight everything that makes your brand unique and avoid using generic statements that could also apply to your competitors. This is where a Key Messaging strategy is worth its weight in gold.
Don’t be inconsistent: Ensure your brand message remains consistent across all touchpoints. Inconsistency can create confusion and dilute the impact of your messaging.
Remember, these dos and don’ts are simply guidelines. Tailor them to fit your brand identity, audience, and industry to achieve the best results. Experiment, gather feedback, and refine your brand messaging strategy to improve its effectiveness continuously. Brand messaging is unique for every brand – what may be scoffed at by one, could be incredibly successful for another.
Take Wendy’s – there would have been many brands that believed treating your customers with a bit of sarcasm could backfire immensely, but somehow it worked in their favour on Twitter.
Examine your brand and update it regularly – nothing can remain stagnant in the world of branding.
What is a brand messaging framework and does my business need one?
A brand messaging and positioning framework (or guide) is a structured, step-by-step process that outlines your brand’s value proposition and unique selling points. It tells you which words and phrases should be used when discussing your brand.
Additionally, it helps your teams better communicate what your brand is all about to new hires or potential customers. It can operate as a form of brand messaging hierarchy that tells you which things must be addressed before you can create content.
This framework can be useful if you are launching your business, changing direction, or simply refreshing your brand so that it better appeals to a modern audience.
A brand messaging framework is incredibly useful to have – being able to succinctly explain exactly what you have to offer is something surprisingly few companies can do. Having one immediately puts you a step ahead of the competition, as your framework will help influence where you decide to position yourself in the wider market.
Every single team and department, from HR to content creators and sales, can use this framework to guide their every correspondence, from emails to client presentations.
Brand messaging framework examples feature a few key ideas that you must address, including:
- Audience – You must identify everything about who they are, including where they live, their age, how much money they earn, whether they shop in-store or online, and more. It’s important to know exactly who you are targeting.
- Value Proposition – This refers to what your organisation can offer that your competitors can’t, whether that’s an established brand or a unique product. It is your company message and is often your audience’s first impression of your brand, which means it must be persuasive.
- Positioning – Once you’ve identified who your target audience is and what you can offer that your competitors cannot, you need to understand where you are currently positioned in the market. Once you have this information, you can figure out where you want to be.
Your brand messaging framework helps you identify your brand personality, along with your brand story.
Brand Messaging Guide or Brand Story Guide: What’s the difference?
Your Brand Messaging Guide feeds into your Brand Story Guide – you cannot have one without the other, and the brand story is the outcome of your brand messaging strategy.
For example, at Proof we create a Brand Story Guide by identifying your Position (where your brand is now, and where it wants to be), and Reference (where you fit into the market and what people are saying about you). We then go about Interpreting how this all fits together.
Once we have this solid understanding of the ins and outs of your brand, we’re able to uncover the Story. This Brand Story Guide distils everything we’ve learnt and presents a set of rules, statements, and examples that anyone within your organisation can refer to, whenever a piece of Messaging or content is created.
In short, it is not a public-facing narrative, but a set of truths that form the backbone of all your future content. We call this process PRISM – a frame of reference for any communication. Why PRISM? Well, we like our acronyms.
With it, you can create your Key Messaging strategy, which includes how your slogans, website content, tone of voice, blog posts, and more are written. This strategy encompasses any word that defines your brand.
But, it’s a touch more complicated than the above. The way you talk isn’t the be-all and end-all. What you say is equally significant, and the quality of your content is arguably more important than the volume.
What’s next for your brand message strategy?
Now, we don’t want to reveal all of our secrets. Can you blame us? But we absolutely do want to help. And, we don’t mean to toot our own horns as the ultimate brand messaging experts, but you’re already here – so why not go one step further?
Get in touch with us today, and we’ll help you create messaging that will make the brand you love, sing.