The Importance of Brand Messaging
A room without books may be like a body without a soul, but a business without a brand is dead on arrival. Brand messaging distinguishes your company from the competition, tells your story, focuses your culture, and establishes trust with your audience. Without the components of brand messaging—brand messaging guidelines, brand key message examples, or insights from a brand messaging agency—companies often struggle to express why they matter, which renders them invisible to many potential customers.
Given the importance of brand messaging, we’re dedicating a three-part blog series to our ruminations on how to craft an overarching brand strategy—including brand messaging, visual identities, and brand collateral. So without further ado, here’s our first installment in this series: Our approach to executing brand messaging.
How to Craft Brand Messaging Guidelines
At first glance, brand messaging guidelines may seem like a superfluous exercise. Don’t the people who’ve created a brand know what their brand is? Therein lies a paradox that many an agency has encountered: Companies might know everything about themselves—their revenue stream, their market cap, their competitive landscape—but they often don’t know how to talk about themselves. Brand messaging guidelines help define a company’s personality in a single document that marketers, salespeople, newbie hires, and soul-searching executive types who feel like their brand needs a refresh can all refer to for their sundry purposes. Consider digging into some of these topics as you build out your brand messaging guidelines:
- Who are you?
You may think this an obvious query, but as you answer it, you may also discover that it’s one of the most complex snafus your company will ever untangle. After all, how do you sum up the skill sets, personalities, outlooks, aspirations, and talents that populate your workplace? With difficulty. Concentrate on this question. Sit with it. Let it marinate. Because only after you explore the motivations and values of your team can you delve into the nuances of how your business differs from everyone else’s.
- What do you do?
We tend to find that the insights that this question unearths are more pragmatic than a summation of a team’s identity—touching on everything from market sectors to how the flange fittings you make are superior to your rival’s flange fittings. Venture down from the cloudy realm of your entrepreneurial vision and specify what it is you do day in and day out.
- Why do you do it?
Once you float down from the ether in the “What do you do?” phase, take the elevator back up to the ol’ buttermilk sky again, because you’re about to wax big and poetic as you define your company’s raison d’etre. Well, let’s slip in one caveat: You have to mean what you say. If you tell people that you got into fracking to save the polar bears—your customers and employees alike are gonna see through that. But if you’re doing it to make service dogs more available to people or advance oncology research, say that. Find your why, and craft that why into a statement that your company can rally behind.
A Few Key Brand Message Examples
Each brand messaging agency develops brand key messages in its own way. At Jacob Tyler, we tend to segment out the top-level brand language with a positioning statement, a section on voice and tone, and a brand personality—which specifies which characteristics your brand would have if, indeed, you could consolidate your brand into a single human being. (Is your brand the goofy Burger King or a sophisticate like Rolex?)
Another element of brand messaging that seems intuitive yet hard to pinpoint are USPs—or “unique selling propositions.” USPs often look like letdowns. They can be as pithy as a single word, but they need to encompass who you are, what you do, and why you do it. Our advice? Sell the benefits, not the features.
Do you know whether your Mac has an 8- or 32-core GPU? Neither does anybody else. Later on in the sales process, customers need to parse through the pros and cons of the features. But as you’re establishing your brand, your marketing verbiage should tell people that their metaphorical Mac will turbocharge their business or organize their digital life—not how many terabytes your product has or how many inches the liquid retina XDR display is. Those details are important, sure. Save them for your customers who are further down your funnel.
The Value of Working With a Brand Messaging Agency
These days, people don’t engage with your brand through a salesperson who courts them on the golf course. Catchy creative and bold-billboard approaches aren’t enough to wow them into buying from brands anymore. People chiefly encounter brands online now. They cancel brands, brand ambassadors, celebrity and influencer brands. Sometimes those cancellations are merited; sometimes business leaders are brilliant operators who, like many of us, don’t know how to engage the public or express what drives them. So while you’re developing your brand, consider partnering with a brand messaging agency that can deepen your relationships with your audience and help you find more customers. All it takes is a pitch-perfect message.
You’ve reached the end of the first installment of our three-part blog series on brand strategy. Keep an eye out for Part II next week, where we delve into the world of brand design.