There is one element that every business shares with the biggest brands out there.
It’s not income, sales, projects in the pipeline, retweets, or social following.
It is the brand message your business portrays every day.
It’s simple: if your customers see consistency and can relate to your messaging, they are more likely to trust in your services and products.
Brand messaging is an area that every business can improve upon. But most importantly, it’s something that businesses should be reviewing regularly.
Table of Contents
What is brand messaging?
Everything you produce is part of your overall brand message.
If you can achieve consistency and quality in the brand message you portray, you will become more memorable and trustworthy in the eyes of your customers.
Newspapers, magazines and publishers all have house styles. A guidebook to their grammar and general housekeeping to maintain consistency. It’s essentially brand messaging for the journalism world.
Your business does not need a 400-page book of grammatical nit-picking; just a guide on how to connect with your audience through your words, language and tone.
Brand guidelines are often mistaken as a designer’s guide – it’s actually your brand’s guide. The entirety of your brand, beyond design. It must cover messaging/content/copy/language. Everything and anything used to communicate with your consumers.
It’s your bible to relate, connect and interact with your target audience. With every social post, blog, press release, flyer, leaflet and brochure, you will need to speak as your brand. Aka, your business!
How to produce consistent brand messaging
Everyone in your business needs to be on the same page.
Social media teams must liaise with content creators, who in turn need to be in sync with marketing. And then marketing with sales, and sales with the front line of customer service. Everyone within your business becomes one when communicating.
A consistent brand message starts with your next piece of correspondence.
A brand messaging document is the perfect starting place. A house guide that everyone can add to, change and adapt as your business evolves.
To help you make a start, why not consider these points:
- Tone of voice: How does your brand sound? Does your brand even have a personality? What tone of voice would your consumer best relate to?
- Formalities: Informal or formal styles depend on many things. You may find that informal blogs are complemented by landing pages that formally get straight to the point. It’s important these two styles are not at odds with your overall brand message.
- American or English spellings: Are you realizing or realising? Are they fibers or fibres? Can you taste the flavor or flavour? While it may seem minor, spelling can make or break any page! Ensure you are consistent in this area.
- Predictability or reliability: Are all your emails or newsletters similar? Do different people in your business use social media differently? There is a fine line between being reliable for information and being predictable. A brand messaging document should outline how you engage with your customers.
- Your content’s USP: Is there a distinct feature or similarity with all of your messaging?
What is included in brand messaging?
The great thing about brand messaging is that it is unique to your business – making the decisions now will help you in the long run.
Every post on social media and any piece of information you release makes up your brand messaging. Many businesses fail to recognise the importance of brand awareness and brand consistency.
We’ve created brand books for a range of businesses. From ventures just starting out to those businesses who are evolving and need to change their approach. And guess what, no brand document or book is ever the same.
Here’s how you can start your brand message document/book
Straightforward and easy to make, your brand messaging document will evolve over the coming weeks and months.
First step for us when creating one – your consumers.
- Who are they? Who will you be communicating with?
- What’s their mood in looking for you?
- What tone of voice will they respond well to?
Every successful brand messaging guide puts the consumer first.
Once you’ve got a guide, you can then look to implement and maintain it across your marketing.
A consistent brand message will attract new customers to your brand.
Even better, it’ll strengthen your brand’s pull.
Create your brand messaging doc in 5 steps
Google Docs, Microsoft Word, a piece of paper. Wherever you start adding words your brand message will need a clear and concise outline; something that ties your brand together.
Clarity in your brand starts from the top – do you have a tagline or an ethos?
The bottom will be the strategy for your decisions – to increase sales, improve customer retention, attract new business.
All this can begin today. We know it’s tricky to start, that’s why we’ve created a comprehensive guide to create your own brand messaging document.
1. Target audience review
Every effective brand message pivots on your target audience.
This is why it’s essential to really dig deep into your target audience and identify them. Without doing so, you may end up speaking to the wrong people; which would be detrimental.
The best way to connect your messaging to the right audience is to review who they are.
Who exactly should you be speaking to?
This is the point where you and your team get together to form customer personas.
Identify your consumers by their:
- Pain points – IMPORTANT – define how you’ll stop their pain
- Personality traits
It’s like creating a character on a video game. Imagine it as The Sims – once you’ve created your characters that’s who you should speak to in every piece of content. It will help you to produce a meaningful and valuable brand.
On the point of personality, a younger audience may want more social engagement. An older audience may prefer straight-forward guarantees and usability of your product.
While these are generalisations, it’s important to consider them in your overall brand message. You may have more than persona. This is likely, but with each piece of content you must either speak directly to one person or multiple people.
2. Define your brand’s tone of voice
More importantly, what tone of voice would most appeal to your consumers?
Every business out there is projecting an attitude. This is achieved through visuals and their messaging.
Consider the content being pushed out by other businesses. What exactly are they trying to convey in their messaging
- Quality/speed of service?
- A commitment to people?
With your goal, USP and target audience identified you can really dig into the tone of your communications.
A conversational tone of voice would be perfect for a personable brand that appeals to a wider audience. Especially if your content needs to be easily understood. But it may be inappropriate for some businesses. Luxury businesses come to mind – they usually have an eloquent means to communicate.
Choose how you want to be seen and how you want to communicate with your consumers, and stick with it.
The brand document will help you to keep consistency.
Beyond being formal or informal, you may decide to stick with one tense in your comms too. First person experiences, second person scenarios, third person situations – see which works best for your business and brand.
3. Does your brand need a slogan or tagline? Define your business’s one sentence statement
It’s more than likely that your brand document will be over a few pages.
Start by breaking down the brand down, don’t jump in and try to define your brand’s messaging all in on go.
Start small; form the foundation. Then build upon it, expand it if you need to. Just like you would with your home.
Is a tagline/slogan right for your brand?
‘Just Do It’, ‘Every Little Helps’, ‘I’m Lovin’ It’ – all instantly recognisable.
A tagline can be the foundation of your brand’s messaging. And it will be one of the first encounters with your consumers. Think of it as your first piece of communication.
But it’s not right for every business. Really consider your consumers, is there a slogan that will catch their attention?
Really consider your options and the following:
- Will your slogan add value to your brand? This is essential to your thought process. Would your slogan differentiate you in the market? Will consumers relate and gain value from it?
- Your competitors: Do your competitors have taglines? Have they benefited from having one?
- Your USP: Should you start exploring slogans/taglines, pinpoint what makes your business unique. Take that element and run with it.
- Your marketing goals: Any tagline you create will be used across your online and marketing channels. Consider the prospect of people talking about you, sharing your slogan with others (word of mouth), searching your tagline online (SEO). Ensure it’s simple enough for people to remember and share.
Limit yourself to five words. Keep it simple and try to boil down your whole service into one swift message.
4. Social, website, advertising – consistency
Brand messaging encompasses every channel you will market on.
Once you and your team are all singing from the same hymn sheet, it will simplify the process.
5. Complementing images – bolster your copy, make it stand out
Words are essential, but visuals is what makes brands stand out most today.
Colour schemes, stock photographs and consistent imagery. These are vital for your brand message.
When building your brand message document, consider the look of your content. Whatever the content type, they should all look and feel like your brand.
Consider the template of your blog posts to begin with; will you be using photography or illustrations? Ensure it’s in line with your consumers and that your choice will peak their interest.
You can have amazing copy that speaks directly to your consumers, but fail to peak their attention without visual aids.
HOW your content looks is just as important as what it’s communicating.
Your business after brand messaging
Establishing a brand message will not be an overnight change. Once you’ve defined it, you should test it. Check that your marketing is converting. And if it isn’t, explore why. You may find that the messaging’s target audience isn’t quite right.
The little changes you write down in your brand guidebook will slowly evolve your whole business and its goals.
The last word is an arching element of your brand message: your goals.
Setting targets for your brand message is the defining feature, so what are you setting out to achieve?
As you make changes to your brand and the message it provides, try to link everything back to your goals and your consumers’ goals.
Ask yourself ‘why?’ with every piece of content.
Over time you will solidify a brand message that gets to the heart of your consumers.
Create the bible of your brand’s voice and personality
Creating your brand message document starts right here.
Just open up a Word or Google Docs page and start writing your thoughts. Maybe even set up a Trello board – get the whole team involved.
Examine your target audience and consider every channel.
A great exercise to get started
If you have a team, get them involved from day 1. Ask them how they perceive the brand. Ask them:
- What are our core values?
- What is our USP?
- Say 3 words that define our attitude as a business.
- Do you think our marketing is right for our customers?
Just by getting everyone to pitch in they will feel valued – and there’s no better way to make your team feel.
If they’re on-board from day 1, there’s more chance your brand messaging will succeed.
Creating goals for your brand message
We have touched on targets, but not quite explained their importance. Targets may be hitting a quantifiable goal. Sales targets, customer numbers, leads and more.
They may also be a little more abstract, but it’s easier to measure your effectiveness with data.
Your brand message will be linked intrinsically to these goals.
It is important to look at the best brands in the world.
Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ slogan and branding. What goals can be ascertained from it?
Loosely, you can understand that Nike’s goal was to inspire.
Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Roger Federer and more were displayed doing the almost impossible in their fields. The idea that someone can do it if they buy Nike goods is subconsciously instilled.
This is an extreme example, of course. Nike are a global brand with reach across every sport and every fashion area. However, your business can imply similar things with its brand messaging.
To guide you on the target of your brand message, we’ve outlined some common examples.
Examples of brand message goals
Your brand message can instil trust.
The quality of your website and the message it gives off can instantly offer peace of mind.
Your tagline, therefore, can summarise what your customers can expect from your services.
To grab your customers by their heartstrings, you should think about making your brand message personal. Using ‘your’ will help to push your services and products into their life.
- Guaranteed quality
A simple and effective way to impress potential customers is by integrating a guarantee.
Are you the only company offering a certain service? Have you won awards in your sector? Is there a new guarantee that your customers may be seeking?
If you have any to offer, your brand message should display it loud and proud.
A guarantee can help people choose your services and products over your competitors.
There is nothing like inspiring a visitor to your site.
Your brand could be there to inspire them to make a change, buy that luxury item or invest in your services.
Ensure your brand message gets to the heart of the matter.
- What are you solving?
- What question are you posing to your followers and potential customers?
Inspire them by helping to enact change in their lives.
What can you learn from your competitors?
Taking a holistic approach to your whole brand is ideal for creating a complete change. However, to do this in the right way, you need to know what to transform in your business.
Your competitors hold the key. They may not have a guidebook on brand messaging, but they will still be giving off a distinct vibe.
Your job is to discover how they are doing it. With this information, you can find out how to be different, unique, and attractive to your visitors.
You can learn a lot from any business, too. It may be a completely different sector, but it works on the same principles. They all want to gain and attract new customers.
Soon enough, your brand message will the envy of your competitors.
For more help with your branding, marketing and advertising, make sure you speak with the team here at TJ Creative.
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