How To Position Your Brand Message Online
Every successful company has a recognizable brand. Think of companies like BENCH, Human Nature, Yellow Cab Pizza, Lucky Me, and National Bookstore. They all have brand stories that go beyond the products or services that they offer. BENCH is not just an apparel store – it is a local brand that went global, providing trendy and affordable apparel to many. Human Nature is not just a beauty brand – it’s a social enterprise that produces natural personal care products, employing and empowering minority communities as part of the process. A strong brand communicates an emotional message – whether it’s about being hip, earth-friendly, fun, or family-oriented.
A brand message conveys what a company is all about, and why they’re different from the competition. It drives sales and marketing, creates awareness, and establishes identity. Brand messaging is what can push consumers to choose one brand over another.
Branding VS Messaging
How does this differ with branding? Well, branding is more about establishing an identity – coming up with a brand name and logo that people can identify and remember. When people see your logo or brand name, they’ll instinctively remember who you are and what you do. Just as practically anyone can identify Coke or Starbucks, the goal in branding is for people – paying customers or otherwise – to be able to distinguish your offering from your competitors’.
Brand messaging takes branding one step further by being intentional in communicating a key idea. It can be done through advertising, catchphrases or taglines, and in our digital age, #hashtags. Here’s an example – FedEx has a slogan, which is, “We Live to Deliver.” What thoughts arise from those four words? Here are some ideas – service-oriented, focused, results-oriented, motivated, purposeful. Not bad for a four-word tagline. The brand message is, in essence, “Trust us. We’ll get the job (your parcel delivery) done.” Their website, ads, and even logo (nice touch with the arrow) communicate this message. This strong brand message created an image for FedEx that led customers to make them their go-to company when it comes to package delivery.
Is Brand Messaging Really Effective?
We are in an era where customers are presented with even more choices than there are hours in a day. In this highly digital society of information overload, buyers need to be able to identify who you are and what you stand for. As a brand, you need to find a clear message to communicate to your audience – you can no longer afford to be generic. Finding that brand message will allow you to resonate with your customers in a way that other brands don’t – and this includes being aligned with the values and beliefs of your target consumers. The more relatable your brand message is to your ideal consumer, the more they are inclined to choose you over your competitors. It’s that ‘feel-good’ factor that comes with identifying with a brand. Brands are now becoming an extension of people’s identities, and consumers will likely choose brands that agree with them on a personal level.
A brand message effectively broadcasts your values to the open market. It’s choosing what kind of image and descriptors will be attached to or associated with your brand and the product or service you’re offering. Want people to associate reliability and trustworthiness with your brand? Do it with a meaningful tagline. (Refer to previous example from FedEx.)
Sometimes it’s not just an emotional or psychological response that a good brand message evokes. In industries such as food & beverage, a sensory response might be appropriate. Take for instance Kentucky Fried Chicken or KFC. We know that Colonel Sanders’ chicken is “Finger lickin’ good.” Their brand message brings to mind the savory taste of KFC’s fried chicken, made with 11 secret herbs and spices. And if you’re a KFC fan, that last sentence probably just made you crave for a bucket of their fried chicken with their tasty gravy. The sensory associations are very strong, and most KFC advertisements build on that – from tight (and very appetizing) shots of their food offerings, to taglines and promotions.
A proper brand message, also informs your advertising and marketing decisions. Your brand message will influence the type of content you produce – from ads and slogans, to website content, and even images and captions. Your brand message must be clear across all the content you produce. The decisions you make should be consistent with your brand message. Make a conscious effort to align everything towards the brand message, from product development to marketing all the way to customer service. A consistent brand message weaves itself throughout the customer experience and customer journey. That’s your goal – to communicate one message across different customer touch points.
How to Build a Brand Message that Resonates
A brand message is only effective and useful if it resonates with your target market. If people cannot connect with your brand and your message, then they are unlikely to patronize your product or service.
Know Your Brand and Your Core Values
People don’t buy a product or service because they know what your product is or how your product works for them. They actually buy a product or service because they know why you do it. Human beings are wired in a way that they put more importance on the why, rather than the what or the how. If a consumer knows what you value, and that value resonates with them, they are more inclined to procure the product or service from you than from your competitors. Communicating your brand values helps you build a strong brand message – one that people can trust.
Know Your Audience
Know who you’re talking to when you’re delivering a message. There is no one-size-fits-all approach in marketing; you need to know who your target audience is, so you know how to speak to their needs or wants. Does your product appeal to women or to men? Are they for the young, middle aged or older generation? Is it more for the working class people or is it more for businessmen, managers and executives? These types of questions help narrow down who your audience is, and what kind of messaging you want to convey.
Collect Feedback and Suggestions
So you’ve found your target audience, but somehow, your message doesn’t seem to be getting through. It’s time to get feedback and suggestions. Your target market is probably the best resource in finding out what users want and don’t want in the product or service you’re offering. There are different ways to gather feedback – you can take a poll or survey, have a focus group discussion, or simply do random interviews with existing customers or people within your circle that fall under the target demographic. Whatever route you take is, feedback can help strengthen your brand message.
Stick to One Simple Message
Multiple brand messages doesn’t mean you will appeal to a bigger demographic. It only causes confusion to your intended audience. Keep things simple and stick to one basic message. Focus on who you are, why you’re doing it, and what you have to offer. Have everything revolve one central theme. If your product offering is in technology, you can focus on efficiency and reliability. If you sell hygiene products, you can focus on beauty and cleanliness. Your brand message doesn’t have to be grand. What it should be, is clear. A message that is not understood can never be an effective message.
Brand messaging is essential to any business. An effective brand message resonates with your customers and informs decision-making. Done right, a strong brand message can even potentially increase revenue by bringing in new customers. Coming up with an effective brand message that speaks to your customers should be an essential element in your digital marketing strategy.
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