Whether you’re launching a new product, service or location, announcing an acquisition, or undertaking a complete rebrand, you have a fresh opportunity to engage your audience. But crafting effective brand messaging can be a challenge.
It’s one thing to come up with a tagline the CEO likes, it’s another to get people to click on your ads, engage with your social media posts, or stay on your website. Often, your messaging falls down because it doesn’t get to the heart of how you help customers (your core benefit), what makes you different (your positioning), and why customers need you. The executive team know the company inside out but they can get too product focused and have trouble seeing the wood for the trees. There might be a disconnect between the sales and marketing teams with each team convinced their message will resonate with your audience.
Your brand messaging ends up confused and lacking in clarity, or cliched and stale. In a noisy market, this is bad news. You have mere seconds to attract a potential customer, and you need to do it with compelling brand messaging. Read on for four keys to take your brand messaging from lacklustre to engaging.
People don’t buy a product, they buy an experience. They want to know how it makes them feel and what it does for them. There’s an important distinction here between features and benefits. Consumers don’t buy the latest iPhone because of the processors and software it runs on. They buy it because of the quality of photos they can take, or the convenience of storing their music in one place. Even if they don’t realize it, they’re buying the benefit of quality or convenience or status, not the chip inside the phone.
Your job with your brand messaging is to show your potential customers what your product or service brings them. And you do that through a story. A story of the problem your customer finds themselves in and how your company helps them. Your brand messaging should take them on that journey; from pain point to solution. Your company history is part of that. We’re not talking about the chronology of when you launched your company and the milestones you’ve passed, but the story of why you started on this journey, what motivates your business, who you serve and why. Just as people buy an experience not a product, people resonate better with a personality than a faceless company, which is why storytelling is so crucial to your brand messaging. People engage with a story because they can picture themselves in it, which leads to our second key.
Your potential customers won’t engage with your story unless they can imagine themselves in it. So, if you want your brand messaging to resonate, you need to clarify and understand your target audience. This is why we consider Customer Personas and the Buyer’s Journey in our strategic planning. The Customer Persona is an excellent tool to hone and articulate who you want to reach, their roles and responsibilities, challenges and needs, and what they’re looking for. The Buyer’s Journey helps you understand the process potential customers take when considering your company, from discovery to engagement, to retention. This data will help you decide on the tone, language and themes of your brand messaging. Do you go for a formal or informal tone? Do you highlight behind-the-scenes individuals or focus on customer partnerships? Is your audience after deep technical input or high level overview?
The key to getting a potential customer to keep reading your content – be that an ad, a social media update or a blog post – is to make it relevant to them, so you need to take the time to research who they are and what they need.
Some messaging lacks a punch because it doesn’t help your customers understand who you are in the industry. The first step is as simple as clearly defining what you actually do. Sounds obvious but there are many websites where it’s impossible to tell what a company does from their home page. If you can’t distill your key message down to a few words, you’ll lose potential customers.
The next stage is to articulate your key differentiators, your unique selling point (USP). This is to do with what customers will experience that they won’t experience elsewhere. Businesses don’t exist in a vacuum so your audience needs to understand what makes you stand out, how you operate differently, why they should pick you over the next business.
Once you’ve done the strategic work of developing brand messaging which tells a story, targets your ideal customer and positions who you are in the industry, don’t make the mistake of leaving it there. Now is the time to update all your communications to reflect your refreshed messages. That means your tagline, website, ads, social media, brochures – even your internal comms – need to communicate the same story, the same benefits, the same differentiators. Your photography and videos are part of this brand messaging so make sure they’re updated too. They are more than a set of images or scenes; they are a powerful component of your storytelling.
It’s true that different mediums require different styles – Twitter posts need to be short, Instagram is visually driven – but the core messages need to be replicated across all platforms. If a visitor sees an old tagline on your website, but a completely different one on your Facebook page, they will be confused. And confusion doesn’t lead to sales. Don’t worry about getting repetitive. Humans need to be reminded of things repeatedly for them to resonate. Potential customers will interact with you several times before they decide to buy, so they need to see your message reiterated on different platforms.
When you take the time to understand your target audience, articulate your differentiators and weave those into a story, you’ll end up with brand messaging which gets customers clicking. This is the goal but the benefits don’t stop there. This clarity will also spread to your internal organization. Those heated discussions in the boardroom about the content for your next marketing campaign? That will be a thing of the past. Every employee will have a better idea of why you’re in business and your sales team will be clearer on your target audience, making them a force to be reckoned with.
Do you need fresh brand messaging which resonates with your customers? Contact us, we’re in the business of helping companies create engaging messaging.