Brand Messaging: Guide, Importance and Examples
Brand messaging is a document that navigates the team in communications and interactions with clients. Ensure you follow our guide to perfect it.
Defining Brand Messaging
Some say a picture is worth a thousand words. However, some words are worth a thousand pictures. Strong brand messaging is one of those cases. Being an integral element of brand identity, it proves that text can convey the company's core value and deliver the value proposition to the door more effectively than a mere decoration on the packaging, hero area on a website, or Instagram photo.
Whatever beautiful and invigorating picture can be, content still is king. It still appeals to clients' hearts and wins over them, turning brand messaging into a crucial part of the company's development and growth. According to stats, every other customer relies on emotions and experience and chooses the brand because of shared values and trust. And brand messaging stays behind that.
However, many startups and even matured companies overlook that prioritizing visual identity over textual. This is a massive omission because brand messaging should be designated as an essential element, much like brand values and value propositions. Consider this concept closely to see why it is so crucial for companies.
What Is Brand Messaging?
Brand messaging is a one-to-one conversation between the representative of the company and the user that occurs in distribution channels and all major touchpoints, such as Facebook, Instagram, chat on the website, messenger, traditional SMS, packaging, and even business card.
If you dive deeper into this concept, you will see that brand messaging is not a plain conversation. Every professional brand design agency will say that it is a set of practices and guidelines that the company relies on to deliver its value proposition to potential customers, communicate the company's culture and core values, and instill a proper gamut of emotions to create a bond.
The role of brand messaging in a company's growth is hard to underestimate. Recent studies showed that not only the quality or capabilities of the product plays a crucial role in the customer's decision but also the way it is served to the crowd. In other words, brand matters.
Consider situations with digital products and services where brand messaging is pivotal in success. Whatever the eye-catching design is, it is unlikely to sell the product because clients cannot "touch" or "taste" it. However, prospects can still be persuaded by brand copy on the website or chat conversations with the support team. One of the recent studies proved that. It showed that companies with strong brand core messaging are more likely to generate conversions and leads.
There is more to the role of brand messaging in a brand's success than you can imagine. Let's highlight other good reasons why to craft brand messaging for business is crucial for every niche, scale, age, and market segment.
- It improves overall brand image and perception.
- It gives the target audience strong reasons to choose that brand over its competitors.
- It makes the brand consistent and aligned across all touchpoints eliminating confusion.
- It shapes the mind of customers in the way the company needs.
- It powers word-of-mouth marketing.
- It strengthens brand positioning.
- It surfaces opportunities for long-term growth and scale.
- It increases the productivity of departments across various key points.
Last but not least, it reinforces cohesive brand identity. Like core values and the brand's personality, the message helps the team stay true to their root and cause. It is used not only for creating new products or marketing campaigns but also for revamping and refreshing the old ones and keeping business on track.
Examining Successful Brand Messaging Examples
I bet you have already said, "I'm loving it." It is so deeply engraved in our minds that this reaction happens subconsciously without any tension - this is a power hidden in a slogan based on thoroughly-crafted brand messaging.
The company uses a friendly, cheerful, and casual tone of voice and a radiant gamut of emotion presented in design, copy, and service to deliver its core value and proposition to the audience. It is consistent across the Globe and even generations. As a result, the brand occupies a special place in our hearts and minds and generates billions of dollars yearly thanks to this connection.
"There are some things money can't buy. For everything else, you have MasterCard" – another tagline you have probably heard once or twice. This iconic slogan with a casual brand voice was designed two decades ago, setting the pioneering payment technology campaign on the path to success.
It is clear, profound, formal, and at the same time imaginative. It uses a positive emotive approach and a sense of reliability and trustworthiness. This allows it to instill memorability and sincerity into communication.
Thanks to well-developed brand messaging architecture, the tagline has become the company's "calling card" that inspires us to partner with it year after year.
Apple is a unique example of successful brand messaging. Why? Unlike McDonald's or MasterCard, with brilliant slogans that spring to our minds immediately, Apple does not have one. However, still, we can describe the brand as perfect, minimal, sophisticated, and high-tech. We understand it without catchy taglines or slogans. How can it be?
Simple. The team has created strong external brand messaging and, most importantly, developed a robust architecture and strategy. Its brand messaging does not scream or cheer; it is just here. It is present across all distribution channels and touchpoints. Even if we cannot see these words on the packaging, we can certainly see and "feel" them in design, advertisements, marketing materials, and all communications.
Exploring the Brand Messaging Framework
Brand messaging is not just a slogan or several words skillfully put together. It is a complex concept that interacts with many factors, including a form of communication, position in the market and niche, core value, value proposition, and others. It requires several serious steps to take to be well-determined. First and foremost, companies should create a successful brand messaging framework.
What Is a Brand Messaging Framework?
A brand messaging framework is, well, a set of principles and rules that describe a brand message and its core. It can be considered a guide used by various company departments to create products aligned with the company's values, philosophy, and goals.
It does several crucial tasks, for instance
- describes a gamut of emotions.
- defines tools to tell the story of the brand.
- clarifies key points and key themes in communication.
- determines a list of approved product features and qualities that make your company an essential part of the community.
- lists reasons why customers should choose you over others.
- connects brand voice and wording.
There is more. Covering crucial details about brand personality, philosophy, and charisma that are transmitted through the written word, its task is also to:
- Put all departments on the same page, including: Public relations; Communication teams; Content creators; Marketing and advertising teams; Salespeople; Customer support; Human resources and recruiters.
- Set rules and guides for creating all sorts of content marketing and advertising material.
- Create a solid and reliable foundation for conversations conducted in real-time through chats and email correspondence.
Creating a brand message framework is critical. Not only does it underlie the brand message development process, but it also supports all company's communications with different audiences along the way, making communication with customers consistent.
On top of that, it helps the company stay on track and preach its ways and philosophy, even when it employs freelancers and temporary contractors who are not fully aware of the company's culture and values.
Developing a Powerful Brand Messaging Framework
Developing powerful brand messaging frameworks is not an easy task. It may seem that all you need to do is delineate some qualities and features of the company, but it is much more than that. It requires the company to analyze the brand and make serious decisions on how to present the brand to customers. This process can be broken into several basic steps.
Step 1 – Get clear on what your brand is.
Determine these critical aspects: unique value proposition, target audience, mission statement, company's short and long-term goals, philosophy, competitive advantage, and selling points.
Here, you need to craft a brand positioning statement to clarify who you are and where you are going. Make it short yet specific. Remember to mention what value you add to the community.
As a rule, this stage is done during the brand development process so that you can borrow all those answers. However, if you still do not have a brand positioning statement or miss that stage, it is the perfect time to do that.
Step 2 – Get closely acquainted with the target market.
Understanding your audience's needs helps the company create a message that appeals to them and brings the positive reaction necessary to create an emotional bond.
The simplest way is to create a buyer persona and describe an ideal customer. Focus on pain points and try to align your value and mission with them. This surfaces numerous messaging opportunities.
Step 3 – Know your rivals.
While this stage is also done during brand development, it is crucial to remind yourself how your target audience is already being spoken to. Focus on what voice, tone, and even emotions companies use to get their response.
This helps create a key message that separates itself from the others but still uses tools the audience loves and expects.
Step 4 – Clarify your unique brand voice and tone.
Remember shouting may help you to be heard but not be listened to. However, your task is to make your audience listen to you. Therefore, you need to define proper voice and tone. You can be friendly, assertive, encouraging, informal, formal, or optimistic.
Step 5 – Brainstorm ideas
The time has come to brainstorm ideas. Take all you have: the brand's value proposition, mission statement, goals, voice, and tone. Do not forget about competition and market analysis. Ask yourself what message should meet all the criteria.
Create a list of five that communicate your values and generate necessary emotions. Test each idea. Do not chase perfection. Instead, embrace your true self. Be realistic and authentic.
Step 6 - Engage with your customers in a variety of formats.
Having an effective brand message is one thing, but applying it whenever it is appropriate and necessary is another. Brand messages need to be put into the game right away. They should be used in all touchpoints.
Step 7 – Listen to the audience and changes
Listening to customers is crucial because they want to be heard, even by giant faceless corporations. Whatever perfect brand messaging you may have, it may lose its value and power over time because customers' preferences and expectations change. On top of that, they may have particular concerns or suggestions that may improve the brand's communications and relationships with them.
Huge online fashion retailers provide an excellent example of the importance of listening to the audience and changes. Asos and similar companies changed their brand messages several years ago to ditch perfect pictures and become more inclusive. This helped them connect with the audience tightly and win new audience segments, strengthening their position in the market.
Delving into Brand Messaging Architecture
If you think that all you need to do is come up with a clever slogan with a picky rhythm, catchy wording, or imaginative meaning, then this is a big mistake. Brand messaging, whatever ingenious, is nothing without a comprehensive architecture and strategy. What are they? Let's clear things out.
We will start with architecture because it is essential to the brand message framework and strategy.
Brand messaging architecture is a set of guides, rules, and objectives that navigate all company's departments, from the marketing team to the customer-facing roles. This document ensures that everything the team does (create content, develop site structure, craft advertising banner, develop product packaging, and even establish partnership) aligns with the brand's message and major objectives.
It can be considered a glossary or instruction of what a brand representative should choose during decision-making to deliver the right message to the end user.
As noted, architecture plays a crucial role in framework stability and reliability. Many reasons support that. First, it ensures consistency in conveying a uniform brand message. Second, it helps the team choose the right message for the touch point without compromising the brand's integrity. Third, it channels the efforts in the right direction. Finally, it stands behind an agile marketing strategy.
The Components of a Brand Messaging Architecture
Brand message architecture includes several crucial components:
- Brand promise;
- Brand positioning statement;
- Value proposition;
- Key messages and supporting points;
- Correct pronunciation and spelling of product names;
- Preferable length of text for various channels and materials;
- Characteristics that describe brand identity and product;
- Prohibited terms;
- Shared vocabulary for cross-functional teams.
Once the brand message architecture is completed and agreed upon with stakeholders, it must be fully incorporated into your brand strategy.
Crafting a Comprehensive Brand Messaging Strategy
Along with a well-thought-out brand messaging architecture, it is crucial to develop a comprehensive strategy around it because inconsistency may ruin everything. According to studies, brands without proper strategy often put out weak, irregular, and sometimes even contradictory messages, thereby losing almost 25% of the profit.
With a strategy, the team will deliver a consistent message to the customers at the right time, place, and conditions. Follow these steps to craft a strong strategy around your brand message:
Step 1 – First and foremost, ensure everyone is agreed upon the brand message architecture document done at the previous stage.
Step 2 – Set objectives. Every strategy has goals; brand messaging is no exception. While it is highly recommended to stick to the S.M.A.R.T. principle, your brand can have its own specific short- and long-term targets. Prioritize your mission, focus on value propositions, and analyze your target audience's needs, preferences, and expectations to set objectives tailored to meet both sides.
Step 3 – Make a brand voice chart publicly available to everyone. Define key characteristics of the brand and clarify them with descriptions and specify do's, don’t's, and examples. This helps the team to say the words they want and use the required tone to generate the proper gamut of emotions.
Step 4 – Create a clean and structured boilerplate for your message. This includes several tasks:
- Briefly describe the brand and highlight its top values.
- Create an informative summary of your brand.
- Define talking points.
Determine ways how to move conversations forward, list topics that can be related to as well as provide answers to frequently asked questions. Ensure they articulate the benefit and values of the company to the customer.
Step 5 – Dive deep into your core customer. Create several core personas that have different traits like background or preferences. Define a key message to each one so you can effectively address needs within your customer base.
Step 6 – Make it adaptable by providing guidelines for each touch point. These days brands communicate with customers through numerous channels; your brand messaging strategy must be adaptable to each one.
Step 7 – Put everyone on the same page. Ensure your brand message architecture document and strategy are shared across all departments. Note each team uses it for their decision-making process. For instance,
- Marketing and advertising departments use it at the core of their campaigns and materials.
- Public relations and media outreach departments use it to strengthen company’s overall image.
- The internal communications department uses it to support and nurture healthy culture inside the company.
- Social media and digital presence departments use it in their direct communications with prospects.
- Product packaging and design departments use it to align their projects and unlock the power of trust hidden in brand identity.
Step 8 – Encourage everyone to stick to the document. This helps the brand to be consistent across all distribution channels and touchpoints.
The importance of developing well-thought-out and strong brand message always stays overlooked by brands. The deal is, having lots on their plate due to oversaturated market, companies consider it a catchy slogan that plays a supporting role in the design, content marketing, and advertising campaigns. However, this is a huge mistake. The brand message is a central figure of brand identity. It is crucial for a company's success, regardless of age, scale, target audience, and niche.
Well-developed brand message not only reflects the company's mission and value propositions as well as tells a brand story, but most importantly, it delivers value to customers at every touch point and stays consistent across multiple distribution channels, thereby unobtrusively forwarding the company, strengthening its position on the market and establishing strong emotional connections with customers.
Bear in mind that a brand message is not just a catchy slogan. It is a framework with a strong architecture and strategy built around it. Much like a brand promise, positioning statement, or value proposition, it needs care and commitment. Without it, your brand loses its chance to occupy a special place in customers' hearts. Therefore, please do not lose it from your sight. Even though it is hard to create a message that the audience relates to, it still needs to be done. Follow our guide to get a head start in this process.
Updated: May 31, 2023