How to enhance your brand with messages that resonate?

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A big mistake too many business owners make is spending thousands upon thousands of dollars on a visual brand identity without proving their offerings or their message. But what good is beautiful images if too many people are confused when you talk about what you’re doing? One indicator that you should prioritize your brand message over your brand image or design is a high bounce rate on your website, as shown in Google Analytics. Another indicator is that your business is only getting referrals.

While you could ask a brand designer to create a custom logo, color palette, and typography, or a videographer and photographer to provide you with beautiful brand images, this almost always ends up being an expensive mistake if you haven’t proven your offerings, or if your messages are not resonating.

To get started on improving your messaging, consider creating a guide to your brand message and voice. This is one of the most important internal business documents every business owner should refer to as your brand evolves. In this article, I’ll break down the 3 key elements of an effective brand messaging guide so that your brand can attract more perfect-fitting customers. I like to divide the brand messaging guides into three parts: the brand strategy, the ideal customer and the brand voice.

Related: Branding is more than an accessory: it’s the foundation of every business

The brand strategy

At a high level, the brand strategy consists of the following basic components:

The unique value proposition: This is a non-negotiable for any company’s branding strategy. Your value proposition is how you differentiate yourself. With a weak value proposition, customers have no compelling reason why they should consider you above your competitors. If this is strong, you will make your brand uncopyable and you will always be in demand no matter what the competition is putting out because you know who you are.

Mission of the brand: This is one of the strongest things you can communicate about your brand because it explains why your business exists at all.

Core values: What does your brand stand for and what not? When you have your brand values ​​in order, all business decisions – from marketing, customer experience and team recruiting – can be made much faster. This should come from what your ideal customers value.

Brand Stories: What led to the birth of your brand? Have you had any unfortunate experiences that led you to do something different in the market? How does that bring your company further in service of your mission? What results have you helped your customers? How have you refined your product? By answering all of these questions, you can create a story that helps customers connect with your brand.

Brand personality: A defined brand personality determines how your company makes people feel. What characteristics does the brand have that a customer will identify with? At a high level, a brand personality determines the direction of your messages and all copywriting. Think about it this way: What would make your customer want to dine with your brand if it were a person?

Related: Your brand is much more than your logo. This is what really makes your brand stand out to customers.

The ideal customer

When it comes to crafting marketing messages to attract your perfectly matched customer, there are three key messages to reiterate before presenting your unique process or your offering:

Pain points: What is your customer struggling with? How aware are they of that struggle?

Desired transformation: In their words, what does your customer want? What do they think is important?

Failed attempts: What other solutions has your customer already tried? What solutions are there and how can those solutions fail to serve your ideal customer?

The voice of the brand

Brand messages and brand voice are not the same. Think of the song ‘Happy Birthday’. The melody will never change, but a musician can change other things, such as the key, the tempo, or even the instrumental or choral arrangement. That’s just a fancy way of saying you can play “Happy Birthday” with different instruments, keys, or tempos, but the tune always stays the same. Think of brand messages as the “Happy Birthday” melody and brand voice as all the ways “Happy Birthday” can be performed differently. Let’s get a little more specific about the brand voice.

Brand statements: What phrases or terms does your brand repeat over and over? The vocabulary that your brand repeats should serve the purpose of reinforcing your brand mission and values, so if this is difficult to define, refine your brand values ​​first.

Show: What emotions connect your ideal customer with your company? How do you describe their pain points and desires? How does the tone shift when you talk about your origin story or your expertise?

Articulation and style: Here it gets a bit more technical. Articulation and style refer to how your brand embellishes certain tones, as shown in punctuation, emojis, and other typographic symbols.

Rhythm: The rhythm of your language refers to how long or short your sentences are on average. Is it spicy and short? Or is it lyrical, long-winded and melodic?

Related: 4 Questions To Ask Yourself To Make Sure Your Brand Resonates

A visual brand identity without a strong verbal brand identity usually results in customers not understanding the true value of a company’s offerings. The visual brand identity can make for great marketing, but without a strong brand message, there will almost always be price concerns – and the company could miss out on sales.

Unlike brand guides, which outline the proper use of a logo, font spacing, and a color palette, a brand messaging guide outlines the proper use of your brand’s words. When you have your brand messages in one guide, you have a strategic SOP that you can always come back to in marketing to attract your perfect customer. Team members, especially in sales and marketing, all stay on the same page, reducing the chance of inconsistent marketing messages or poor customer service.