What is it that should tie together every piece of content you create or headlines you issue? The brand message. Whether through tag-lines, slogans, slogans or headlines, the messages summarize and concentrate the essence and personality of the brand. Messages that articulate promises, stimulate desire, promote certain values and, in short, bring together a whole series of experiential characteristics.

Brand messaging plays a critical role in any branding strategy. While the logo and visuals may attract a glance, it’s the brand’s message that penetrates the mind and shapes perceptions. The brand reaches its audience at different touchpoints and each of them is an opportunity to influence their perception. If the brand message is not developed strategically to shape all of these touchpoints, the brand will be misaligned and inconsistent, leading to confusion and then mistrust.

Brand messaging isn’t limited to slogans

Slogans are often created to give voice to the brand’s message, but the brand’s message is not limited to slogans. A slogan is nothing more than a 4 or 5 word phrase that people use as recognition. A brand message is what resonates with the needs, wants, or desires of your target audience. It encapsulates the reason why people choose a brand.

People prefer diamond rings because “A diamond is forever.” They choose Nike because it empowers them and calls them to “Just Do it” action, feeling part of the best in sports. They use an Apple because they “think differently”, they don’t want to be like everyone else. Or they shop at Media Markt “because they’re not stupid” and prefer to save.

When it comes to creating messages, there are brands that, instead of focusing on the customer, think only about the product. And when you don’t delve into what the consumer really wants, you run the risk that your messages will lose their meaning and purpose. What would have become of Turrones el Almendro if, instead of having resorted to his “Come home for Christmas”, he had chosen to tell us about the virtues of the guirlache? Imagine if BMW had opted for a message about the power of its engines instead of a question as simple as it is direct: “Do you like to drive?” Probably, no one would remember either Turrones el Almendro or BMW.

A brand message is the verbal communication of the brand promise. It’s written with the inside perspective, the customer perspective, and the competitors’ promise in mind, and helps position the brand in a different place from everyone else.

Three Perspectives to Consider

  1. Customer’s angle: You have to see the brand from the outside in, get into the minds of the customers before you start with the development of messages. Do you have data that can tell you what matters most to your customers?
  2. The internal angle: It’s important to know where we come from and where we’re going. What is the purpose of the brand? What makes it different and more interesting? Don’t forget to take care of the brand messages within the company as well. Brand culture develops directly from the dissemination of internal messages, so it is essential to take them into account and define them.
  3. The Competitive Angle: We are not alone, be aware of the market. No one would forgive customers for confusing the brand with that of a competitor. You have to be unique and authentic.

Message Construction Framework

The brand message must be cohesive and reflect what the brand stands for so that customers can connect on an emotional level, a critical ingredient in building brand loyalty. Consider the following elements for its development:

  1. Positioning Statement: Positioning is primarily responsible for determining how the brand will be perceived. It seeks to enhance its difference and frames it within a specific category.
  1. Target Audience: Throughout this process, it’s important to put the ideal buyers at the center. Always work with a message that resonates with their needs, wants, and pain points.
  1. Purpose: The concept of purpose is a fundamental pillar in the conception of any business, and of brands as responsible for connecting the business with people.
  1. Personality: The personality traits assigned to a brand define the way it will relate to its environment and determine how its audience feels about them.
  1. Tone of voice: The way a brand expresses itself (Voice and Tone) is directly linked to its personality, its values and its attitude towards the environment.

Brands need a voice. And it is precisely through messages that they configure their verbal identity that should be the perfect complement to the visual identity. The message is the brand at its core. And in a world hypersaturated with information, the surest way to position yourself in the minds of consumers is to shape the brand through an appropriate tone of voice .

A question of hierarchy

Not all messages are created equal. People have a very short attention span and our reptilian brain automatically discards 95% of the messages it receives. That’s why it’s very important to establish a proper hierarchy:

  • Key messages. The most important key messages make up a primary core message, and it should quickly answer the question “Why should I care?” i.e. “What is the value of the difference you offer me?” How will it affect my life? What pain point will it solve?
  • Secondary core message. It allows the brand to show its human side to attract for something that goes beyond the immediate value it brings. It’s an opportunity for the brand to show itself in a consistent way and give the audience a reason to be chosen. The secondary core message can show the audience our beliefs, what moves us, or why we think the customer is important.

The main message is conveyed primarily to show that the brand can help them solve a problem, while the secondary message demonstrates that the brand is more than just a transaction.

There are many ways to describe a brand, but one thing is clear. A brand lives in the minds of its audience and it is that mind that will shape the brand message. Only if you define what you want the audience to understand about the brand and convey it consistently over time do you have any chance of shaping that mind in the desired way.

Finally, let’s not forget that the genius of messages consists in the ability they have to move us or to provoke conversation about them. A great opportunity for any brand.

 

Carlos Puig Falcó
CEO of Branward