Why You Need a Brand Messaging Hierarchy for Consistent Communication
Everyone knows the importance of strong branding. But what many people may not realise is that a successful and strong brand strategy goes deeper than just a great logo and tagline. It's built upon a well-thought-out brand messaging hierarchy that ensures all of the brand's communications are clear, consistent and effective.
Most businesses will be producing a regular stream of content that attempts to communicate with their audience. But what they might not have is content that is consistently aligned with their brand messaging, resulting in failed attempts at communication and content that achieves few results.
And why's aligning content with brand messaging so important? Because brand messaging - and especially a brand messaging hierarchy - establishes a tiered, targeted set of messages which companies can use to successfully convey value through various types of content, on various content platforms, for various target audience segments.
Correctly conveyed value targeted toward the correct audience results in successful communication, successful content marketing and solid relationship building between brand and target audience - which is what every brand is striving for in their communications.
So how do you create a hierarchy of messaging that will guide all of your communication – from blog articles and social media updates to email marketing, WhatsApp marketing and website copy? Like this.
What is a brand messaging hierarchy?
Before we get started it's important to define what we mean by a brand messaging hierarchy. A brand messaging hierarchy is a pyramid shaped system that helps companies to communicate their values and goals to customers in a clear and concise way through their brand messages.
The hierarchy typically starts with the company's vision and mission statements, which are then followed by specific goals and objectives.
These are then translated into marketing messages that can be used in advertising, PR, and other communications initiatives.
By starting at the very top with the company's overarching goals and values, the brand messaging hierarchy ensures that all communications efforts are aligned with the businesses overall brand strategy.
However, this doesn't need to be set in stone. One of the key advantages of a a brand messaging hierarchy is that it provides a brand messaging framework in which the messaging can be adapted as the businesses goals and objectives change over time.
Remember it all starts with the brand's vision and mission statements: so if the brand needs to respond quickly to changes in the marketplace, the flexibility of a hierarchy means that all communications efforts remain aligned with the brand's overall messaging strategy - even if that's shifted.
4 reasons a brand messaging hierarchy is essential
You may think a brand messaging hierarchy is an additional hoop to jump through. After all, shouldn't everyone working in the business already "know the brand" and therefore know which is correct message to choose for the content they're creating?
The answer is sure, but in reality it doesn't always work like that. Those working in the accounting services team of a business may have a completely different idea of the messaging that needs to go into their communications than that of the product marketing team. And its this discrepancy within internal teams that leads to muddled brand messaging that is inconsistent, ineffective and incapable of working toward achieving business goals.
That's why a messaging hierarchy:
Ensures the brand message is strategic
Not everyone will know the core brand message. This is especially true if you're working with an external agency, consultants, or freelancers. Every person that comes into contact with your brand will need the same, and most up-to-date, information on how to communicate with consumers effectively.
And that involves more than simply being able to write effective copy; it entails having a thorough understanding of what customers need to hear at any one moment, on any one channel, to help the message drive the overall brand strategy.
Keeps teams consistent with their content
As more business functions turn digital, more traditionally non-marketing teams require marketing's assistance with content and copy.
For example, copy for the sales team's decks might be required. Your expertise might help the support team better manage their knowledge base. Tools such as Helpjuice can support you with this.
This all places a huge reliance on the types of content that are being produced and with such a vast, disparate volume, it also leaves room for inconsistencies in the types of messages communicated.
This is where having a company-wide brand messaging hierarchy available to all teams helps everyone to create content with a consistent message. It should enable your marketing teams to build text message marketing strategies, social media, and email marketing campaigns following your brand guidelines.
Speaking of email and consistent communication, you may want to consider using an SPF checker. Additionally, when it comes to optimizing your email marketing efforts, incorporating the best email analytics tools is crucial. These tools provide valuable insights into the performance of your email campaigns, helping you track open rates, click-through rates, and overall engagement. By leveraging the data from these analytics tools, you can refine your email marketing strategy for even better results.SPF checker, on the other hand, can be used to protect email senders and recipients from spam, phishing, and spoofing.
And that’s important because by maintaining a consistent brand message across all touchpoints, businesses are able to build trust and credibility with their target audiences. Additionally, clear and consistent brand messaging can help businesses to attract and retain customers, as well as drive higher levels of brand loyalty.
By following a brand messaging hierarchy, businesses ensure that their brand messaging across all teams and departments remains aligned with their brand identity. This in turn helps create a cohesive brand experience for customers and prospects and supports the businesses creative direction.
Makes writing key messages more efficient
Getting key messaging right is essential for businesses of all sizes. By clearly articulating your brand's values, mission, and personality, you can create a north star that will guide all of your communications be it via a CPaaS, internal communications or advertisements.
But ideally you need to do that in as few words as possible, and as quickly as possible, so that the process of creating content is concise, efficient and as effective as possible. Enter: your messaging hierarchy.
Easily being able to access a messaging hierarchy that contains the precise pain spots, features, and outcomes of your product or service already outlined in messaging to go alongside them means you're not repeatedly starting the process of developing content from scratch.
For example when it's time to create a new landing page for certain buyer personas, you'll already have pieces of key messaging prepared that you know will appeal to those people. This benefits you two fold: not only does it save time, it also keeps messaging precise - increasing its effectiveness.
Aligns the buyer journey of potential customers
The importance of aligning brand messaging across all touchpoints of the customer journey is something that often gets overlooked by marketers - but with a brand messaging hierarchy, this becomes a thing of the past.
With more and more of the customer journey supported and carried by content, it's critical that businesses maintain uniform messaging and experience at every single customer touchpoint, whether that's a social media post targeted at the top of the marketing funnel, or an engagement with a sales rep on a demo.
So, when all teams have a messaging hierarchy that outlines the guidelines for each segment and each touchpoint, it becomes much easier to produce content that has numerous value propositions capable of appealing to a variety of customer segments as they progress through each stage of the customer journey.
The 5 ingredients of a brand messaging hierarchy
The ingredients of a brand messaging hierarchy should have already been identified in your original brand messaging architecture, but if you need a reminder here's the rundown:
The Brand promise
A brand promise is a commitment that a brand makes to its customers. It's a way of saying, "this is what you can expect from us." A brand promise should be something that is both meaningful and relevant to your clients and your brand, but it should also be something that the brand can realistically deliver on.
For instance, a brand might promise to provide the best possible customer service experience. To deliver on this promise, the brand would need to invest in training its employees, mentoring programs and developing robust customer service policies. It would also need to consider options such as customer service outsourcing, which can involve partnering with specialized third-party companies to handle customer support tasks efficiently. Additionally, investing in mentoring programs and mentoring software is essential to support employees' growth and development in delivering exceptional customer service.
A brand promise is an important part of building a strong relationship with customers. By making a commitment to delivering on their needs and expectations, brands can earn customer loyalty and trust.
The Key Message
Key messages focus specifically on your proof points. If the brand's proof points are presented in a broad range of bullets, your key messages should condense those bullets into succinct, descriptive phrases that describe the value of your product in clear language.
Remember too that your key message does not have to originate from your proof points. However, they make excellent basic bullets to build on.
The Brand Positioning Statement
Your brand positioning statement is a brief description of what makes your brand unique. It captures the essence of your brand and how it differs from your competitors. A strong brand positioning statement should be clear, concise, and differentiated. It should also be aligned with your brand identity and core values.
Positioning statements are a helpful tool for guiding brand strategy and can be used internally by businesses to communicate their brand vision to employees. They can also be used externally in marketing materials to help consumers understand what your brand stands for. Whether you're just starting out or well-established, creating a brand positioning statement is an important step in developing a strong and successful brand.
The Brand's Unique Selling Points (USPs)
Every brand has unique selling points, or USPs. USPs are the features or benefits that make your business unique and set it apart from your competitors. They can be anything from your company history and experience to your product or service offering.
Ultimately, your USPs should be something that your target audience cares about and is willing to pay for.
When determining your USPs, it's important to keep your target audience in mind and consider what they are looking for in your brand. If you're not sure what your unique selling points are, take some time to brainstorm with your team or look at your business through the eyes of your customers.
The Value Proposition
Your value proposition is similar to your brand promise in that it's a promise of value to be delivered. It's the primary reason a prospect should buy from you.
The best value propositions are clear, compelling, and differentiated, focused on the customer, not the company, and they avoid using jargon or marketing speak. A value proposition can be presented as part of an advertising or marketing campaign, or it can be communicated to sales reps who then present it to prospects.
When crafting your value prop, make sure to avoid empty words and phrases like "best in class" or "world-class." and focus on specific benefits that you can deliver that will have the biggest impact on your target customers. By clearly articulating your value proposition, you can set yourself apart from the competition and win more business.
How to use your hierarchy
Now that you've combined the ingredients into your pyramid, you’re ready to start using your messaging hierarchy and getting your content better aligned with your brand’s most powerful positioning - its messaging.
Step one: Get collaborative
To start, you'll need to gather the right people in the same room. Any messaging should be data - and experience - led and based on real customers. This means that marketing, sales, and support personnel from across the business need to become familiar with your hierarchy - and not only just those at senior levels.
Front-facing customer members or community managers are likely to be the ones that communicate with your audience the most and will therefore make the best use of better guided messaging.
Step two: Double check your buyer personas
The next step is to refine your buyer personas with a fine tooth comb.
Consider how you talk at a family gathering: your tone and topics vary depending on whether you're spending time with the kids of the family, the younger members, or the older generation. Even the same story might be told in a number of ways.
That’s what makes matching your messaging to your buyer personas so important.
Although you may have refined your overall value proposition, your brand promise, or even your key messaging, the way you communicate and explain it will rely on who you're chatting with. That implies determining who you're speaking to and getting to know them thoroughly.
Simply put, the persona matrices are a method of communicating with your customers in a way that doesn't come off as sales-centric. Once everyone in the business is aware of this, you can start accurately matching your personas to your messaging.
Step three: Match your messages to your personas
Once you've refined your personas, you'll need to match those to your individual messages communicated at each stage of the pyramid. This means taking the important parts of each one of your ingredients and testing how it would translate to each of your core customer personas.
Think of it as changing each ingredient from how the world sees it, to how specific people see it. To do this, you could create:
- A more tailored version of your value proposition targeted to specific personas, considering what first impressions you'd want them to have, what would catch their attention, and so on.
- Objections to the idea of using your product or service, and how those can be overcome for different personas. I.e, how could they be described in a way that makes them more appealing? What benefits and results do they offer?
- Individual lists of which products and services or features different personas would be interested in and which benefits should be brought to the centre of attention for those consumers.
- A variety of facts and social proof to determine which is most likely to be the most appealing to different customer segments.
Step four: Use, refine, review
Finally, make sure everyone who needs to know about your messaging hierarchy knows how to access and use the information within it. Uploading it to your shared file drive or a corporate wiki, along with convening a quarterly recurring meeting with your stakeholders to review and update it, are both effective ways to keep everyone in the loop.
Need a hand with your hierarchy?
A well-executed brand messaging hierarchy is essential to keeping your messaging on track and in line with your buyer personas. This not only results in more revenue and improved customer retention, but also a more cohesive and effective branding strategy. If you're not sure where to start with creating a brand messaging hierarchy, we can help. Just contact us.