How Do You Create an Effective Brand Message in 2019?
Standing out in a crowded market and competing with brands that are similar to yours is like being in a classroom full of children shouting, “Me, Me, Me.”
Even if people know brands by name, they can all seem to start to sound the same. That’s why brands use marketing – it helps them communicate their values and personality to target audiences.
Let’s take Android, for example. It’s competing in the tough operating systems market with brands like iOS and Windows. To create separation, Android-focused its marketing on the individual nature of the brand, and its customers.
Brand messaging helps your target audience associate your brand with the qualities they value. But how do you create an effective brand message?
Be specific. Yes, a brand can stand for many things, but if there are too many messages out there, your audience could get confused about what you stand for. (“We’re innovative and cheap and our products are purple.”)
Make it ownable. No brand is totally unique, so crafting a message that audiences will associate with your brand is crucial. When customers see your brand, they should recognize that it is yours, even if the name isn’t visible.
Keep it short works best in my experiences. It seems in today’s crowded market, you have a few seconds to get your message across. A short phrase or powerful word allows your target audience to not only understand your message quickly but also to remember it.
Check this out. For example, if a low-cost airline uses the word “regal” in it's messaging, customers would view the brand as dishonest — especially if all they get on the flight are old crackers and tap water.
Taglines, brand messaging – aren’t they the same?
Although taglines (catch phrases) are a form of messaging, they rarely change.
They represent the overall vision of the brand. In contrast, brand messaging can evolve based on a new product, goal, campaign, or change in the market.
Let’s look at a real-life example to see how effective brand messaging helped Casper, a new mattress company, connect with weary-eyed customers.
To build awareness and affection for their brand, Casper created a campaign with the message, “The perfect mattress for everyone.”
The campaign featured light and endearing illustrations and copy. It focused not only on sleeping, but also on everything else people do in bed, like watching TV, eating, or just being lazy.
The campaign also featured people’s different and sometimes quirky lifestyles and occupations. (Doctors, witches, sneakerheads.)
Casper managed to connect with people by highlighting the idea that their mattresses would suit every customer’s needs, no matter who they are and what they do – in or out of bed.
A good brand message isn’t one-note. It’s a mixture of different elements that convey a bigger idea. Here are steps you can take to make brand music happen.
Start by identifying your target audience. This will help ensure the message will resonate with them.
Then, think about what adjectives describe your brand the best, like happy, casual, edgy, etc. The more you think of, the better, because often the first ones you come up with will be generic or overused.
Next, consider the emotion you want to convey, like fun, tradition, etc. Not all brand messages have to be lofty. A lot of times, the most basic emotions are the most relatable. For instance, is there any emotion stronger than love?
Think about the key benefits, such as value or durability your brand provides. These benefits should be the things your brand prides itself on and the biggest differentiators among the competition.
So, to sum up: target audience + adjectives + emotions + key benefits = what your brand message should convey.
You can find popular keywords that audiences associate with your brand and industry by using focus groups or online tools like Google Trends.
The words you’ve gathered are great reference points but they don’t necessarily have to appear in your brand messaging.
You don’t have to mention your products, market, or even brand name as long as your message gets your point across. For example, a shoe brand can run a campaign around the message of speed called “Be superhuman.”
When your chosen brand message is out in the market, monitor social media and sales to gauge whether the message is resonating with people. Establishing new messaging doesn’t happen overnight, so remember to be patient.