How to Create a Brand Message That Builds Connections
Crafting a message that grabs attention and communicates your unique value isn't easy. Here are 5 steps that will simplify the process.
Wouldn’t it nice if people could see how great you are—before you ever meet them?
That’s what a compelling brand message can do for you.
An effective brand message is critical to your success. But developing one isn’t easy.
Most forms of advertising and promotion are marketing messages, used to generate sales. Some marketing messages are broad, others target certain segments of your audience. But each one serves a purpose and will change based on your objectives.
Brand messaging is not a marketing or advertising message. It’s a consistent theme that helps create and build your brand identity. A compelling brand message tells your audience what you’re all about.
Your brand message never changes. It serves as a foundation for all business communication.
What Is a Brand Message?
It’s a lot easier to explain your business’s purpose and value when you have the chance. But most of your prospects want to know a little more about you before they give you that opportunity.
A brand message is an overarching theme that supports all your business communication. That theme should come through in every touchpoint. These include your website, social media, advertising, and even customer service.
It’s the consistency of this message that makes it so powerful.
Here’s how it works: think of a movie you’ve watched again and again or a book you’ve read several times.
Every time you see that movie or read that book, you pick up on something new. Despite being new to you, it was there all along. That’s how brand messaging works.
It takes several points-of-contact for people to absorb the essence of your brand message.
What About Slogans and Taglines?
Some slogans or taglines are catchy and easy to remember. Some, like Nike’s “Just do it”, have become famous.
Slogans are only part of your brand messaging. Unless yours becomes well-known, you’ll have to do much more to get your brand message across.
If you’re going to have a slogan, it should create a direct link to what your business does. The purpose of having one is to help people remember your company when they need your product or service.
To illustrate, I’ll use two examples.
Here is the first:
“A diamond is forever.”
This one-liner is a popular slogan and one you may have seen before. It’s not bad but it doesn’t tell us who the company is.
Now, let’s look at one from a competitor:
“Every kiss begins with Kay.”
This is a fantastic slogan. Here’s why:
- The word kiss triggers thoughts of romance. Any romantic occasion—Valentine’s Day, an engagement, anniversary, birthday—might trigger brand recall in people who are searching for a gift idea.
- The word kiss begins with the letter K.
- It just so happens the name of the company is Kay Jewelers.
How to Create a Brand Message
Before you can develop an effective brand message, you need a plan. To do that, we’ll consider the perspectives of each party involved.
Let me explain that last statement.
To create a brand message that builds connections, you must look at every angle. You must think about what you want to say and how your customers might receive it. It’s also helpful to be aware of your competitors’ messages too.
The Customer-first Approach to Brand Messaging
The more you know about your ideal customers, the more effective your brand message will be.
Why do people really buy from you?
Many business owners focus too much on what they do and how good they are at doing it. As a result, their brand messaging ends up sounding like an opinion more than a compelling reason to buy.
It helps to think about the problems people have that your business can solve. But it’s makes even more impact to think about how solving those problem makes people feel.
Remember the Kay Jeweler’s slogan from the previous section? It clearly communicates a sense of romance. This emotion is a powerful buying motivator for people who are in love.
Your brand message can have the same kind of impact on your audience.
The Business-first Approach to Brand Messaging
How do you want your audience to see your business? What should come to mind when they come into contact with it?
Your message is a part of your brand’s identity.
Like a human being, your business has a personality, call a brand persona. The way you communicate in voice and tone helps create this persona.
Write down words (usually adjectives) that describe your brand persona. Consider these as you craft your brand message.
Remember, it isn’t just what you say, but how you say it that matters.
What Are Your Competitors Saying?
It’s easy to get into the habit of comparing what you’re doing to what your competitors are doing. When they do something we like or that appears to be working well, we’re often tempted to copy them.
The true art of the brand message is to position your business in a unique way. You can’t do that when you’re mimicking the competition. However, you can analyze their brand messages and improve on them.
Look for unique angles. Most businesses make many of the same claims and statements. It may be easier than you think to come up with a message that sets you apart.
The Structure of Your Brand Message
In this section, I’ll go over each component of a brand message and how to integrate them.
Step 1: The Brand Promise
The brand promise summarizes what you do, who you help, and how you help them. Every customer should be able to depend on you to deliver. What promises are you making to them?
You must have this in place before you can move on to the next step. It takes time to find a strong brand promise. Keep trying new things and making improvements until you land on the perfect fit.
Step 2: Positioning Statement
This is where the rubber meets the road. Your positioning statement specifies how you uniquely solve your customer’s problem. This defines your business and helps you stand out from competitors.
Like the brand promise, you may need to refine your positioning statement several times to get it right.
Step 3: Your Brand Mission
Your brand’s mission is the real why—the reason you exist—your core philosophy and big-picture vision.
This is not the same as your brand promise. You mission is a “big picture” goal that you want to achieve. People are attracted to businesses that stand for more than just making a profit.
Step 4: The Target
To connect with your ideal customers, your brand message must resonate with them. Use the information you gathered in the planning stage.
Here are some tips for developing a great connection with your audience:
- Stay away from industry terms and jargon—your customers won’t understand them.
- Use empathy and show them you understand what it’s like to walk in their shoes.
- Say things the way they would say them. Use their language and words.
Step 5: Brand Voice
Have you ever attended a conference and felt that the speaker was talking directly to you? That’s because they knew exactly what to say to get your attention.
They also knew how to say it.
Your brand voice is the tone you set when delivering your messages. It’s how you communicate. It must also be consistent.
Many businesses don’t think about how they’re communicating. Of those that do, only a few remain consistent. Messaging that sends mixed signals is “wishy-washy” and confuses your audience.
And remember, a confused says no.
Your brand message helps shape the way people see your business. It part of your brand identity and makes your marketing more effective.
Premium brands are experts at creating a compelling brand message. Don’t rush it. Keep working at it until you’ve created a message that sets you apart.
If you have questions, email me personally at [email protected], or visit our website to learn more.
Until next time,
We equip visionary entrepreneurs and small business owners with the knowledge and resources they need to stand out, communicate their value, and make more profit.