Brand message helps to influence how your customers perceive your brand. It’s the north star that will guide all your brand communication.
For a brand to reach its full potential, it needs a clear and concise message that resonates with its target audience. This can be achieved by creating a brand messaging framework that explains everything the brand does in a way that’s easily understood by customers. It’s the north star that will guide all your brand communication.
What is a brand message?
Brand message is how your brand communicates the reason it exists, the values it upholds, the problem it strives to solve, and the people it serves. Your brand message should be embedded in every single piece of communication or marketing material created by the company — both internal and external.
Why is brand messaging important?
- Brand messaging helps to clarify and lead with purpose. Working on your messaging will push you to define the reason for your brand’s existence.
- It brings your brand alive and differentiates you from the competition.
- Another advantage of brand messaging is consistent language across all channels and employees.
- You’ll be able to tell a compelling brand story.
- Brand messaging exercises will help with the style guide creation, making it easier to communicate with external vendors.
- The brand message is at the core of every successful long-term marketing strategy.
That brings us to the critical question.
How to create a brand message?
Getting the messaging right requires a lot of customer and market research. You have to make sure that your brand stands out from your competition, but you also need it to be relatable and resonate with the people you are trying to reach. Luckily, there are certain pillars of branding that will help you build your brand. To create your brand message, you need to define your brand messaging pillars. This blog post will cover those pillars and show how they can help grow your business!
What are brand messaging pillars?
Brand messaging pillars represent the nucleus of your brand’s message. The messaging pillars are a set of key messages that represent your brand. These pillars are the core of your overall brand messaging strategy. They make sure that your brand message clearly reflects your core values, value propositions, and points of differentiation. These pillars will help your brand resonate with your target audience and help them identify with your brand. Your content should be able to stand on its own and fit into your overall brand strategy.
The foundation: define your target audience
Your first step in developing your brand message is to define your target audience. This means thinking about what your audience needs and wants, as well as their desires for the future. Create your ideal customer persona by identifying their demographic and psychographic commonalities. Feel free to give your fictional customer a fun name to personify it. Make sure to do your homework to clearly understand the expectations, fears, and aspirations of your ideal customer.
Pillar One: Define your purpose
Your purpose is the bigger picture and an articulation of why your brand exists. What is the selfless goal your brand set out to achieve? You can read more about brand purpose here.
For example, my purpose is to empower purpose-driven small businesses to become successful brands by aligning their brand messaging and content marketing.
Pillar Two: Define your mission
Your mission is your crusade. It clarifies what you do in order to fulfill your purpose. Your mission will have both quantifiable and qualitative elements.
The purpose is the aspirational reason your brand exists.
Pillar three: Define your vision
Vision is the outcome of doing carrying out your mission. Vision is where you’re striving to reach with your mission.
For example, my vision is to create a culture where their purpose inspires people and organizations. To create a life where people can express themselves without judgment and find a sense of fulfillment from their work.
Pillar four: Define your brand values
These are the traits you value the most. Your values are your core beliefs that guide your actions and decisions.
Defined values are useful when recruiting your employees; look for people who can uphold these values.
- Always be purpose-driven
- Focus on long-term value
- Always embrace change by learning, innovating, and being agile
Pillar five: Value proposition (unique value proposition)
A value proposition is a persuasive statement that identifies your brand’s unique benefits and strengths. It can take the form of a slogan, tagline, or mission statement. This key message should be used in all communications, marketing materials and websites to support your brand image. Defining your value proposition can play a key role in defining your brand positioning.
It’s important to define your unique selling proposition or value proposition because it’s a clear statement that describes what makes your brand different from the competition. For example, Uber is a taxi company that employs technology to provide a better service and lower prices. Google is a search engine that offers fast and free access to information.
Pillar six: Define your positioning statement
Your brand positioning statement should articulate how you’re different from your competitors in your customer’s minds. If it weren’t for positioning, all companies would ramble about the same product features. Positioning is what identifies Volvo as the safest car and BMW as the ultimate driving machine.
This step includes thorough market and competitor analysis. Your brand’s market position is how someone outside of your company views the company. It’s what you want to be seen as inside your customer’s mind. You have to study your competitors and customer expectations to come up with an effective marketing angle.
For example, one company might be positioned as a luxury brand while another is seen more like an everyday staple. Your positioning should align with your target customer’s expectations and needs to make them feel satisfied in their purchase decision after the sale has been made – that way they will continue buying from you again!
Pillar seven: Create a tagline
An effective tagline clearly communicates your company’s identity, values, and purpose in a short, creative and memorable phrase. Taglines are usually used in advertising and promotion of products, policies, or ideas. Some examples of great taglines include “Just do it” from Nike or “Think different” from Apple.
Pillar eight: Develop an elevator pitch
An elevator pitch is a quick and catchy summary of your brand. Here is a quick formula for an elevator pitch:
I’m a [Your profession] who helps [your customer] avoid [pain point] by [your service or product]
We help [your customer] avoid [pain point] by [your service or product].
For my brand that sounds like:
I’m a passionate marketer who helps purpose-driven small businesses avoid the overwhelms of marketing by clarifying their brand message and giving them a clear content roadmap.
You can also add a benefit instead of a pain point. Benefit driven pitch:
Benefit driven pitch:
I’m a passionate marketer who helps purpose-driven small businesses simplify their marketing by clarifying their brand message and giving them a clear content roadmap.
You can change it however you want, but make sure to include what you do, who you help, and how you help them. Extra points if you can add the benefit or pain point in your pitch.
Pillar nine: Define your brand personality
Brand personality is very similar to human personality. It’s the core nature of a brand. It’s the way your brand behaves, speaks, and reacts to its environment. Red Bull, for example, has a rugged personality because they portray themselves as rough, tough, and outdoorsy. They do this by sponsoring extreme sports, such as skateboarding and snowboarding.
Brand personality is important because it helps you to stand out from the crowd by being different than your competitors in a way that’s authentic for who they are (I’m not talking about gimmicky). It also gives customers an idea of what kind of person might be drawn towards their brand so the brand personality is carefully curated to ensure they attract the right people.
Brand personality is also important because it helps you to create a cohesive identity that’s consistent across all your marketing channels, like social media and advertising campaigns for example (I’m not talking about being too similar).
Pillar ten: Define your brand tone and voice
Ask yourself: what would your brand sound like if it were a human? A sassy teenager, or a mellow, firm gentleman? There is no right or wrong answer.
Brand voice represents the overall personality of your brand in all your communications. The brand tone is the specific way that a brand communicates with its audience in order for them to be receptive and engaged. For example, a brand’s message stays the same, but its tone will differ depending on whether it has a witty tone or an authoritative voice. Having a clearly defined voice ensures your marketing team knows how to write content that is consistent with your brand. Brand voice reflects your brand personality.
You can use Nielsen Norman groups four dimensions of tone and voice
- Funny vs. serious
- Formal vs. casual
- Respectful vs. irreverent
- Enthusiastic vs. matter-of-fact
Pillar 11: Define your brand story
Humans remember stories better than data and facts, so it’s important to use storytelling in your marketing communication. Your brand story should have a clear beginning, unexpected event, a villain, a hero’s transformation, and a positive end. Brand storytelling helps to make an emotional connection with your customer. You no longer have to compete on price, quality, or features alone.
Create a brand messaging framework:
The brand messaging framework gives you a playbook for your messaging strategy. It takes all the elements mentioned above and creates a framework that will govern all your brand communications. It will reflect in all your brand elements.
Your brand messaging sets you apart from your competition. You don’t have to be a gigantic business to work your messaging strategy. Developing a messaging strategy will make sure every piece of content you produce, from social media posts to sales pitches, is consistent. It also gives you and your employees a shared purpose and values. In short, messaging makes sure everyone speaks the same language.