Creating the perfect brand messaging strategy
A well-executed brand messaging strategy helps companies connect with consumers, prompts a commitment to consistency, encourages employee rapport, supports a positive internal culture, creates competitive awareness, and outlines brand positioning strategies.
One of the most clever slogans comes from GEICO: “Fifteen minutes could save you 15% or more on car insurance.” The company isn’t the first to offer car insurance, but their marketing strategy lets consumers know the company values its customer’s time and money and invites potential buyers to investigate GEICO’s claims, thus creating numerous new leads for the company.
Another example of brand messaging done well comes from Dean Buckhorn for the American Floral Marketing Council (now called Society of American Florists) and features a single-stem rose, a small bouquet, and a burgeoning arrangement with the text, “Exactly how mad is she?” Found in “Hey, Whipple, Squeeze This!” by Luke Sullivan, this example demonstrates the power of sharing the “central human truth” about a product or service. Though this advertisement isn’t the entire brand messaging strategy, the ad was later created into a graphic for web banner ad for members of the Society of American Florists and is used to establish an emotional connection with floral shop customers, particularly those eager to escape the dog house.
Writing and designing the perfect brand messaging strategy is critical because it articulates a brand’s promise and activates desire for customers and prospects. Consistent messaging fosters brand loyalty and shows how your product or service can benefit its customers.
An effective brand messaging strategy is understood and implemented by everyone on your team. From sales to customer service and includes:
- Key differentiators, which are the reason(s) why prospective buyers should choose your brand over the competition.
- Value propositions, which help your potential buyers determine what your product or service can do for them.
- Detailed marketing messages targeted toward individual buyer personas.
Developing a brand identity and brand messaging for your company involves crafting the story of the company, identifying buyer personas, creating value propositions, and choosing a brand strategy style.
Crafting the story of the company
Every brand has a story, whether the company got its start in a bare-walled basement or the co-founders met on a blind date. A brand story told well helps customers emotionally connect with the brand, which drives brand loyalty for 82% of consumers.
Your brand story should tell consumers why your product exists, how it came to market, what it means to you, and what value it brings to the people who choose to try your product or service.
A compelling story engages your customers and energizes your team, so don’t skip this step!
Identifying buyer personas
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional character that represents the ideal customer and is based on market research and real data from existing customers. Buyer personas are created to help companies understand the demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals of its customers.
A well-researched buyer persona includes information like location, age, gender, education, hobbies, income range, goals and motivations, challenges, values and fears, and behavior.
These profiles help the marketing team create beneficial content and learn the challenges and interests of its customers and help the sales team prioritize and nurture leads. Buyer personas help the research and development team create and evolve products and services, too.
There are four main types of personalities, including ambitious, spontaneous, disciplined, and humanistic, and four types of decision-making, which are made based on logic, emotion, speed, and deliberation.
AMBITIOUS This personality is confident, decisive, and enjoys solving problems and taking risks. Decisions are made quickly but still rooted in logic or facts.
SPONTANEOUS Unlike the ambitious personality type, decisions are made quickly but based on intuition or emotions. This personality type is impulsive, persuasive, trusting, and enthusiastic.
DISCIPLINED Magazines with catchy headlines and cheap candy with colorful packaging at the grocery store check-out doesn’t appeal to this personality type. This personality type is methodical, detail-oriented, and conscientious, and they make purchases slowly based on comprehensive research.
HUMANISTIC Patient, relationship-oriented, predictable, and uncomfortable with change, this personality type makes intentional purchases based on how it will make them or others feel.
Once you know how each of your personas will make a purchasing decision, you can begin writing brand strategy styles and creating value propositions to reach each individual buyer.
Choosing a brand strategy style
When you know how your buyer personas make decisions, you can produce brand strategy styles for each group.
AMBITIOUS This group of consumers wants to know quickly and simply which options they have and if you are the best option for them to pursue. Messaging for this group should be direct and brief and should briefly explain your competitive advantages and credentials and let the consumer group know how they can trust you and whether or not your product or service can help them reach their goals.
SPONTANEOUS Motivated by popularity, praise, and the acceptance of others, this group wants to know who has used your product or service and why they enjoyed it. The strategy for this buyer type includes giving personal attention and interest, demonstrating why your product or service is the best, and helping the buyer make customizations and narrow their options so they can carry on with their lives.
DISCIPLINED Buyers in this group want evidence of your success, process, and experience. Because they’re detail-oriented and motivated by information and logic, they want to know how your product or service works (and proof that it works, too) and if guarantees and return policies are options.
HUMANISTIC Decisions made by this group are very relationship-oriented. They crave recognition and approval and are motivated by security and safety, so this group responds to messaging that offers testimony and incentives and illustrates the value your product or service provides.
Creating value propositions
The goal of a value proposition is to show a potential customer how a product or service will benefit a consumer better than any other company is capable of. A strong value proposition answers why a product or service matters, how a problem is solved, and what makes a particular product or service stand out among the rest.
You’ll want the value proposition statement to be written in an easily-digestible, conversational tone to personally address your target audience and share an emotional benefit with a unique differentiator.
It’s important to create a value proposition statement for every buyer persona you have outlined so that every potential customer has an opportunity to connect with your brand and imagine themselves as a life-long customer.
Each buyer persona and brand strategy style should outline the value proposition, key messaging, how to overcome common objectives, and a sample story to create an emotional bond.
Once you and your team have created the perfect brand messaging strategy, you should distribute a content style map to all employees, update all your marketing copy (website, social media, and email newsletters), revise your marketing materials (brochures, sales sheets, etc.), and rewrite sales transcripts and templates – the aim here is that everyone will be on the same page.
Brand messaging is more than a punchy tagline splashed across a bright Facebook graphic or stylized Instagram post. Together, all the aforementioned elements create a full messaging framework that internally and externally guides your company, including its consumers, employees, and the competition.