Your Brand Messaging Needs A Check-Up: Here’s why

Your relationship with your audience is a two-way street. Whether you’re brand new to the game, or you’ve been in it for years, devoting attention and resources to your brand messaging matters. Because sending the right message is crucial. 

Brand messaging is a vital aspect of every successful marketing strategy. From the smallest solopreneur’s set-up to the largest conglomerate enterprise, every business needs brand messaging that speaks directly to their ideal prospects. 

Real talk? It’s gotta hit them in the feels. 

Brand Messaging is Crucial for Your Marketing Strategy 

The most effective brand messaging gets crystal clear about who you serve and how, and communicates that in a few words – or less. 

It avoids confusion in the marketplace. 

Avoiding confusion means delivering consistent messaging everywhere you show up – your website, your ads, your social media posts – because confusion equals a negative customer experience. 71% of survey participants attributed confusion in the marketplace to an inconsistent brand experience. 

An overwhelming majority… 

Customers equate consistency with value, and your brand messaging is one of the easiest ways to succeed – or (gulp) fail – at this. 

How do you nail your brand messaging? 

Working together, we help you nail brand messaging using the REACH Visibility Trajectory, a flexible framework designed to help you integrate your messaging into every marketing channel. What does that look like for you?

  • Research
  • Engagement
    • Next, how you want to be perceived: 
      • What’s your worldview? Is it aligned with your audience’s worldview?
      • How do you speak? Is it aligned with how they speak? 
  • Attract
    • Then you consider:
      • How do you want people to feel when they engage with your brand? 
      • Use your messaging to convey your position on your webpage, socials and more
  • Next up are the C & H: Create a funnel and Hook prospects with tactical strategy:
    • This is all about focusing on an inbound marketing plan and it’s two fold:

When it comes to developing powerful brand messaging there are 2 main phases

  1. Customer research —the way your audience perceives both your brand AND your competitors, and also the solutions offered through your products
  2. Your brand strategy — setting the stage for how customers engage with your brand 

The keys to messaging that grabs hold of your audience, while also accurately representing you and your service, lie in knowing 

  • where to look
  • what questions to ask 
  • who to ask them of 

What is brand messaging? 

Could you explain what brand messaging is in 30 seconds or less? No worries. Few can, even those of us who are experts in this space!

Short answer: your brand messaging is a part of your brand strategy. 

Brand strategy serves as the go-to guide for cultivating a positive image of your business in your customers’ minds. And it’s like a big umbrella. 

Under the umbrella, we find brand messaging and brand voice. 

Even though brand messaging is sometimes synonymous with brand voice, they are not one and the same. 

Messaging is carefully selecting language that builds a connection with your audience by conveying in a handful of words that you not only understand their problem, but you have the exact solution they need. 

Voice is the mechanism through which you share your messaging. 

Think about when you want to send a message to someone – ie you’re having a conversation. Your message is not your voice. You use your voice to share your message. 

Before you speak, you consider not only the point you’re trying to make, but also who you’re trying to make your point to

You might make strategic decisions about different ways to say the same thing, so it increases chances of the message resonating with the intended recipient. This isn’t manipulation or even persuasion – it is merely communication 101. 

Once the message is crafted, you share it on your website, on your socials, in your posts and profiles, even on your packaging. You share it using your voice. 

Your brand voice covers your brand’s tone, personality, and how you make people feel. Aligning your brand voice with your messaging can be a true challenge, but it’s a crucial step towards high quality brand engagement.

Engagement

Engagement refers to all the ways you maintain direct, meaningful relationships with your customers.

Quality brand engagement is way more than just vanity metrics like open rates, click through rates or costs per click. 

Quality engagement is your audience…

…gushing about the transformation they achieved, using your product 

…raving about their results from using your service,  in testimonials and reviews

…sending their friends and family to buy your stuff, because they can’t live without it and they want everyone to know!

Quality engagement means happy customers are providing free advertising! 

Connections established through authentic brand messaging are especially powerful because when people see they clearly share the same values, they want to engage with a brand. 

People engage with a brand when they feel seen, heard and understood by it. People feel understood when you demonstrate that you know exactly what keeps them up at night. 

Does your business need messaging?

Yes. 

But wait! I didn’t even tell you what industry I’m in or what sort of business I run!

No worries. I don’t need to know – because the answer is always yes

Your business needs messaging. 

Every. Business. Needs. Messaging. 

Brand Messaging in ALL Shapes and Sizes

Showing up consistently across all channels means you waste less time on discovery calls with poorly qualified leads. Having the right messaging means prospects are clear about what you do and how you serve them. Essentially, your brand messaging gives the audience all the information they need to self select.

Laser focused messaging allows enterprises to stand out in ultra saturated marketplaces. Think about it in terms of how hard it is for new kids on the block to compete against big brands like Nike and Coca Cola. 

The new kids don’t compete by stealing away brand loyal fans – they do it by speaking so directly and so powerfully to their own market, that the people they’re speaking to can’t help but to pay attention. 

It’s easy to assume that a small business has different messaging needs from an enterprise, especially if the small business happens to be in a less crowded marketplace. 

The levels and depths of the messaging might be relative to the size of the business, but the fundamentals remain the same. 

A Special Case for Start-Ups

There’s a lot of pressure put on the marketing spend at a start-up. 

The best way to make the most of your marketing budget is simple: nail the messaging. 

And yet this is where a lot of startups get it wrong. They figure they just need to get a minimum viable product out there in the world, then figure out the rest later. 

Sadly, it’s quite a costly mistake. 

It’s just a handful of words, how hard could writing them be? How important are they really? 

You might save money on the front end skimping and saving – cutting costs on your copy and foundational written brand assets like messaging and brand guidelines. I get it – somehow words feel the least important in terms of an MVP. 

But you deserve a fair warning: these “savings” come with a whole new set of costs.

Going through multiple writers and creatives because they just don’t seem to get it – you’re out the cost of the project fees, for content you don’t want to use. You’re out the time and energy and however much you’re worth per hour, for all the time it takes you to vet, hire, re-direct and ultimately part ways with each creative you try to work with.  

And more importantly, you’re out the business that not having the right messaging costs you.

Brand Awareness Before Brand Recognition

When you focus on the design, colors and images, you’re aiming for brand recognition. But brand awareness comes before brand recognition in your customer’s journey, and the awareness depends heavily on your messaging. 

Magnetic Messaging Makes the Difference

Messaging speaks to people before they really read the words, or process their meaning. The handful of words you choose to represent your brand stay with people – they elicit a feeling. 

Carefully selecting that language allows you to leave them with the right feeling, a feeling of your choosing. And as a start-up, every buck has to count. 

Don’t underestimate the ultimate value and ROI these assets bring to your business. Skip on investing in the foundational written assets of your brand, and it always ends the same way: you burn through writers, your team members all speak differently about your product, and your customers have inconsistent brand experiences. 

In the end? You spend more, and it still just doesn’t feel right.

Does something feel ‘off’?

  • Maybe you’ve noticed your customer delivery team talks differently about what you do and how you do it, than your sales and development teams do. And maybe NONE of those ways resonates with your audience! Whether it does or doesn’t, you are very possibly confusing your customers.
  • Maybe you’re putting a lot of effort and spend into marketing and just not getting the results you expected.
  • Maybe you’re getting a lot of poorly qualified leads and you’re not sure why. 
  • Maybe you’re ready to grow into something different, and you want to change the thing your brand is known for.
  • Maybe you had no idea what you were in for when you started this business thing, and now that it’s taken on a shape of its own you just need to catch up!

Whatever is going on, you know for sure that something about the marketing strategy just isn’t adding up, because your customers are having inconsistent brand experiences.

Just Starting Out vs Established Businesses

Your established business could still benefit from a brand messaging check-up – and likely a good old fashioned tune-up – because change is constant and guaranteed. Some of it is to be expected… and some is not. (hello pandemic, I see you)

It’s important to see your messaging as a living breathing thing. All things are constantly evolving and growing – this applies to you and your own business, as well as your marketplace and the individuals inside it. 

Regular check-ups are crucial to ensure your brand messaging is doing the heavy lifting. 

When’s the right time for a check-up?  

When the messaging on the website isn’t the same as the messaging on the social accounts isn’t the same as the emails or the ads. 

When your messaging promises the best customer service in your corner of the internet, but there are many very public reviews that reveal that customers are in fact struggling with your customer experience team. 

When you’ve described yourself one way, but the images you display don’t reflect that. 

What does your regular brand messaging check up look like?

Your Brand Messaging Check-up Checklist

  • Compile all brand materials — your social profiles, your social posts, your website, your internal communications – and compare them to identify gaps or contradictions
  • Check out your competition — do the same thing, but now for your top direct competitors 
  • Don’t forget your indirect competition — you need to be dialed into your market. Do you offer a premium done-for-you service (like copywriting) but there’s a new development in tech that’s got everybody in the industry talking (LLM text bots aka ChatGPT)? Be sure you’re keeping up with the trends in your market, and understanding all the new and different ways they try to alleviate their pains.

As you peruse, things will stick out. Keep notes of the things you notice or think up as you review all of the materials. 

The goal here is to make sure the solution you offer, and the way you talk about it, will always be relevant to your audience.

Why does this matter? 

When your brand shows up consistently it shows your customers that each experience will feel just as awesome as the last. 

Customers come to rely on and expect that experience. Each inconsistency in the brand experience feels like a lie, a small breach of trust. It could even be subconscious —just a sense or feeling they’re left with. 

A consistent customer journey builds trust, gives you the chance to say what you’re going to do and then to go do it. 

Working with a pro

Preliminary messaging begins with a blend of market research with how you show up in the world, which is revealed through a ‘synthesis of the collective’ – an analysis of input from you, your team, your audience, your competition – and then your reaction to the results of that synthesis. 

Remember: the messaging is alive and ever growing as your business and the world around us changes, so your messaging serves as simply a jumping off point.

Because the most powerful messaging is based on cohesive themes and long term research. 

Following a period of testing and reiterating according to your brand strategy (depending on your circumstances, 12-24 months later), we compile use cases and conduct case studies about your customer’s experiences. Then we use them to refine the messaging. 

It’s amazing how often we find that who we thought was going to buy turns out to be quite different from who is actually buying. This is why testing and optimizing is all a part of crafting the perfect brand messaging. 

Get Your Messaging Working For You

The most important thing to consider is not you, or the story of the brand, or even the high quality products and services you offer. 

The most important thing to consider is how your dream audience thinks, acts, feels and speaks. And aligning your messaging with them AND the goals of your business. That’s where we find it. 

That’s a lot to keep in alignment, I know.

If you can successfully — and consistently — stay aligned, your audience will get to know you…and come to expect certain things from you, building trust and familiarity.

In a noisy marketplace, messaging is how you cut through it all and resonate. Consistent brand messaging is the only way to effectively achieve brand awareness and recognition.  

Let me help you with that – 

Brand messaging projects are among my favorites. I –love– seeing your team’s vision of the brand coalesce into something greater than the sum of its parts. 

To get started on your brand messaging or to explore what working together could look like, book a call.

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