What is Brand Messaging?
At Huddle, you'll have heard us mention brand messaging before. We quite often say things like, "this must be reflected in your brand messaging", "your brand messaging should support your brand value proposition", or "make sure your brand messaging is being communicated in your brand's tone of voice".
And that's all very well and good, but what happens if you're reading that and wondering: Okay, but what is my brand messaging?
Are we just talking about the things you say, or are we talking about the way you say it? What should it be used for, and where is it most effective?
Luckily, we've got a whole load of answers. From defining brand messaging, to telling you why it's important, to telling you what makes up an effective brand message, and even how to craft your own. Read on as we define brand messaging in its entirety!
What is Brand Messaging?
Brand messaging refers to the different words and phrases that communicate the value proposition of your brand to your target audience. The words and phrases you use should reflect your brand personality in your tone of voice, and this in turn will then successfully determine your brand positioning.
Take your brand personality test
This is an important step in the process of establishing a brand identity. It's critical to determine the right type of positioning so that customers can easily identify the company's personality at any moment.
So put simply, all of that together means that your brand messaging talks to your audience through your products, and your verbal and non-verbal communication methods, to tell them what it is your brand does, what you're selling, and why your target audience should buy from you over competitors.
But your brand messaging isn't just external. It's internal too, entrenched in your company's values, culture and mission statement, so that your customers experience your team the same way they experience your products or services.
That means to develop a solid brand message, you should have two main areas:
One: Internal brand messaging
The first step in developing any brand messaging is to decide on how you and your team perceive your brand. The mission, vision, and core values of your brand have an impact on your employees as well as the general public. Because internal brand communications (such as Google's "fun" work atmosphere) are circulated so quickly, it's critical to establish these early on in your company's development.
When you're creating your brand messaging, spend some time defining your company's fundamental goal, vision, and values. These will be critical to the rest of your message as well as your business's success.
Two: External brand messaging
When considering brand messaging, external messaging is the first type of messaging most people think of. We're all familiar with the marketing messages that entice us to buy, and so these outward-facing statements tend to be informational and actionable, as opposed to internal-messaging which is idealistic. You can social media automation tools to help you with external brand messaging.
Your positioning statement, differentiators, value propositions, and slogan are all examples of external messaging. And effective marketing always revolves around these fundamental premises to keep your messaging consistent, whether internally or externally.
Why is Brand Messaging Important?
Brand messaging encapsulates what a brand stands for, why it matters, and what distinguishes it from competitors. Without this short, but fundamental statement, a brand is left unable to position itself, communicate with its target audience, or carve out its own share of the market.
Beyond just what it can do externally for a brand, brand messaging also serves as a well that internal teams can return to again and again when they need inspiration, or need to remind themselves what the company stands for.
And incase you needed more reasons, brand messaging also:
- Bolsters engagement
Customers always want a strong connection with a company. Effective brand messaging nurtures this by communicating and connecting with target audiences on a relevant level to provide a better experience and deepen the consumer relationship.
- Expands reach
The right brand messaging enables brands to communicate their distinctive value proposition to its consumers. Humanising a brand in front of customers helps to raise brand recognition and improve the overall experience by making it more personable, attracting swathes of new customers.
- Gains trust
Consumers are more inclined to purchase from a specific brand if they trust it. You can make a favourable first impression on your consumers by using strong brand messaging that communicates the brand promise - and if that promise resonates with what your consumers are looking for from a brand, its likely they'll purchase from you.
Brand Messaging vs Taglines
Brand messages and taglines often get confused - but they shouldn't. Taglines are just a way of telling the world who you are and what you stand for, but it's your brand messaging that actually does the telling. Your message is the input, and your tagline is the output.
Although taglines are by nature catchy, your brand messaging should extend well beyond stringing a few descriptive words together to make your tagline memorable. It must be aligned with the demands, desires, and comforts of your target demographic and it must be relatable as well as recognisable.
Take Dollar Shave Club's, "Shave time, shave money", or LeadPages' "Turn clicks into customers". Both of these taglines reflect the brand messaging: In Dollar Club consumers will save time and money by using a more premium shaving product, and in LeadPages, business owners will be able to convert crucial traffic into crucial customers.
5 Vital Components of Brand Messaging
- Your mission statement
Your mission statement is a one or two sentence phrase that explains your company's "why." In other words, why do you do what you do?
Your mission statement can be created by filling in the following blank: We exist to ______.
Create a list of potential variations of this statement so you can select the one that best reflects your business's core values and why you believe in what you do. Keep it simple by keeping your purpose in mind. Later on, we'll deal with the who, what, and how of it.
If you need some inspiration, take our mission statement: At Huddle, we exist to help transform ambitious businesses into meaningful brands.
The deliberate wording within that one sentence is designed reflect specific components of our mission. The word "transform" reflects the work we do at a base level - branding or rebranding is transforming. Whilst the words "ambitious" and "meaningful" directly communicate to our clients: we understand what it's like to have dreams of big business growth and success, but we also know you need to keep your USPs at the centre of your brand in order to connect with customers hearts, edge ahead of competitors and create a brand that truly strikes a chord. That's why we're here: to help businesses walk that fine line.
- Your Brand Vision statement
Your brand vision is a short statement that is backed with ambition and enhanced with purpose that expresses where your company or brand is heading, as well as what it hopes to achieve.
Above all, brand vision statements are intended to inspire both your audience and your company's employees with a goal or change, or a brand value, as the primary objective they and the brand are working toward.
Make sure that your vision statement is identifiable, clear and concise and most importantly, digestible. A brand vision really is the ultimate goal of what your future could look like if your consumers advocate for your brand, and your employees keep working to drive your brand forward, so they work best when they’re short, sweet and capable of inspiring or motivating people. To improve your chances of this, remember that less really is more.
- Your brand values
Your core brand values are the principles that you, as a business and brand, believe in. They act as the guide for your brand narrative, actions, behaviours, and decision-making process and brand values usually represent the intangible qualities of a brand that influence consumer purchase decisions for goods and services provided.
At Huddle, we have three shared values that our team lives and breathes on a daily basis - these are honest, attentive and fun.
Honest: We're straight-talkers and we say it how it is. We'll always have difficult conversations if they're in the best interests of our client.
Attentive: We become an extension of our clients’ businesses, listening intently and paying close attention to all the details to make sure we do the work justice.
Fun: We feel that our work should be a positive and enriching experience for everyone. So, even if the good times come with the bad, we prefer to keep things in perspective and take pleasure in the journey.
You can identify your core brand values by filling in this blank: We believe ______. Write down whatever comes to mind, ensuring they are authentic to your business's overall mission.
- Value proposition
Value propositions are brief statements that describe what you can provide for your clients or what the value of your brand, product or service is. You'll almost certainly have more than one, and if you have numerous customer categories, you might offer different value propositions for each.
By clearly defining its value proposition, a brand can more effectively position itself in the market, and can better connect with its target consumers. Value propositions are a powerful tool for marketing and branding, and help to create a strong and recognisable brand identity. When done well, value propositions can help brands to build trust and loyalty with their customers, and to drive sales and growth.
- Brand voice
In marketing, a brand voice refers to the overall tone and personality of a brand's communications, and is reflective of the brand's personality. It's important to be authentic in your brand voice in order to build trust with your audience.
Your brand voice should be consistent across all channels, from your website and social media to your email marketing and advertising.
- Even if you decide to create an app for your business, ensure the content you publish there represents your brand's personality and the values it stands for.
Anchor: create an app.
- Keep in mind that your brand voice is not the same as your company's mission statement or values. Rather, it's the way you communicate those things to the world.
When developing your brand voice, think about what makes your brand unique and what kind of relationship you want to build with your customers or clients. Do you want to be seen as friendly and approachable or professional and able? Formal or informal? Playful or serious? Once you've determined your brand voice, stick to it! Consistency is key when it comes to crafting a brand voice and keeping brand consistency.
Getting these components right is an essential part of your brand messaging strategy because they will ensure that your brand message is communicated from a place of authenticity, which is ultimately what allows you to communicate with the people you need to: your target audience.
How to Create Your Brand Message
Now you know the components that go into crafting a brand message, you might be wondering how and where to get started with actually developing your own.
To create a brand message, you'll need to follow the general rules of a brand messaging framework. And luckily, we've outlined one you can begin using immediately below.
Know your audience
Although it's vitally important for your brand to know itself, it's even more important that your business knows exactly who its marketing materials are meant to appeal to. Going after a general audience won't produce results as your messaging, brand image and even brand strategy won't be specifically targeted to appeal to the wants, needs and pain points that your audience needs you to.
Being able to resonate with your targeted audience is not something easy. Especially since people are constantly overflowed with information coming up from all different types of sources.
As Shane Barker suggests in one of his articles about creating engaging content, a message needs to trigger an emotion to be impactful. If your target audience does not get emotionally involved with the message you a spreading, there are very low chances that they will remember it or even pay attention.
But how do you figure out your audience? With user personas. These personas involve researching audience preferences, buying behaviours and even demographics to have a comprehensive idea of your ideal consumer, which lines your target audience up with your business and marketing efforts.
Depending on who your ideal audience turns out to be will depend on the tone of voice you use, the personality you embody, and generally on the style of communication your brand messaging will utilise. For example, if it turns out that your audience are of an older demographic, your brand messaging shouldn't be using modern slang terms.
Differentiation pillars showcase what sets your business apart and how those distinctions benefit your ideal customers. The pillars each feature a core message — or headline — as well as supporting information that illustrate how the differentiators are implemented throughout your business.
- Differentiator Pillars: should be valuable to your consumers and should describe elements of your organisation that come at a cost to preserve.
- Headlines: should succinctly convey the value of those differentiators to your audience
- Supporting Details: should be specific facts that support your pillars.
It's best to start by brainstorming around 5-10 key differentiators, eventually narrowing them down to three which resonate with your business the most. Then for the final three, write a headline and three additional supporting details.
For example: At Huddle one of our pillars could be "branding experts", with our headline "we make memorable brands" and our supporting details three bullet points which explain how we do this "clarity, authenticity, strategy".
Practice your elevator pitch
The elevator pitch is a marketing concept that has been around for decades. Assume you're in an elevator with a wealthy investor or potential customer and only have a few seconds to sell them your business. What would you say? That's your elevator pitch.
The elevator pitch concept can also be applied when creating your brand message, because it gives you an opportunity to succinctly wrap up your brand story, positioning statement and value proposition in just a few sentences.
Aim to try and describe as much as you can in as few words as possible, starting with why your brand exists (that's your brand story), moving onto your brand positioning statement, and then finally supporting that with your value proposition and differentiators.
An elevator pitch for us could look like: Have you ever faced stagnating sales, dwindling audiences and a loss of direction in your business? Have you then considered that maybe it's down to your branding, but have felt suddenly overwhelmed by having absolutely no idea where or how you should start? Thankfully, that's where we at Huddle come in. We've helped countless business owners and startups to identify the unique selling points in their brand, and then place those front and centre to rejuvenate their business using our tried and tested Huddle hack methodology.
Define brand guidelines
Brand guidelines are defined rules and standards that outline how your brand should be represented to the outside world. Brand guides assist companies in maintaining consistency and demonstrating their values, missions, and goals - all things which your brand message needs to reflect.
Brand guidelines can include aesthetic choices like your logo and colour palette, but they can also refer to how you communicate by defining things like the brand tone of voice, how your brand refers to and interacts with, the public, the value you communicate, the length of text with which you communicate, and how you spell certain product or brand names.
These are all things which are crucial in getting your brand messaging right because it will keep your communication precise and consistent. As a result, it’s easier to create a notable communication style, which generates quicker brand awareness with the different audiences.
Test out a slogan
Finally, get creative with your company's slogan. Your slogan, or tagline, is one of the most essential components of your external brand messaging and as we mentioned earlier, it's the output responsible for carrying and communicating your input across to your audience.
Taglines should be short and to the point, but they can be direct, serious, humorous and even contain a rhyme scheme. Just make sure they're authentic, and concise with what they're communicating.
Need a hand?
At Huddle, we understand the importance of brand messaging and its role in increasing recognition for businesses in highly competitive markets. That’s why we offer a suite of services to help you craft your brand messaging strategy and make sure it resonates with your target audience.
If you’re looking to increase your brand recognition and stay ahead of the competition, it’s important to have a well-crafted brand messaging strategy in place. Huddle can help you develop this strategy and make sure your branding is on point. Brief us here, or: