7 key facts about building brand messages
Branding starts with a solid foundation
Send the right message with a keen eye for the architecture of your core statements.
Every architect knows that the most important element in a new building is a strong foundation. In fact, the higher and more elaborate the building, the stronger the foundation needs to be. And so it goes for constructing your brand launch: you must first shape your brand with a strong, sturdy messaging platform that is built on a foundation of rock-solid positioning and designed with expertise that draws on past experience and current insight.
What will you get from a strong messaging platform? Better yet, what will your customers get? Let's explore the ways you can become a brand architect.
Support your positioning
The most important thing your messaging platform can do is give credibility to your positioning statement. While the public most likely will never see this statement, it still acts as the cement in which your brand's foundation will be grounded. The positioning statement focuses on your product's key benefits to its target audience and highlights factors that help differentiate it from competitors. In other words, it helps guide all marketing efforts by ensuring a consistent voice so your customers are clear on what your product is about and what they will get from it.
Your messaging platform needs to reinforce the importance, uniqueness and believability of your positioning statement. Every message that goes from you to your audience needs to bear the weight of this statement so, at the end of the day, all of your messages will help support the pillars of your brand.
Know your audience
The first thing you need for telling the right story is to know your audience inside and out. This involves a deep understanding of what makes your customers react. What are their perceptions regarding the disease state? What frustrates them? What aren't they getting from current product offerings? What are they getting that they appreciate? What are their purchasing habits? Put your hard hat back on. If you are getting ready to build a new apartment building in a downtown urban neighborhood, you would probably ask those who might become tenants what they are looking for in a home. Do they want dramatic Baroque architecture or a sleek glass high-rise? Do they want the building to be homey or contemporary? This intimate grasp of your audience can help you narrow your focus; it shows them you are in tune with the problems they are facing in the market… and that you are willing to present them with a solution.
Speak in your brand tone
Once you have identified and become intimately acquainted with your core audience, you will know the best way to speak to them. Consider your tone the interior design of your brand; the little touches you would incorporate into your new building to make your tenants feel more at home. If your audience is a team of rocket scientists, the messages should probably be shimmering with impressive scientific attributes. If your audience is largely comprised of middle-aged female dental hygienists, your messages might be developed to appeal to them on an emotional level. Whatever your brand tone is, embrace it as one more way to bridge the gap between your audience and the end result.
Live by the three Cs: Clear Consistent Communication
Your customers are busy people leading busy lives. They spend all day being inundated with messages for products they might actually want or even need, but might not have the time to consider. Here's the trick: make it easy for them. Say what you want to say as clearly as possible. And say it the same way in every communication to them. That means print advertisements, direct mails, emails, websites and other tactics. The more times they see “flexible administration options” next to your product's logo, the better the chance that your product will be the one they think of when their next patient actually needs flexible administration options. By following the law of the three Cs, your messages will start to build a little home for themselves inside your customers' heads.
Show the proof in the (data) points
Audiences can be shallow—they will not care what your product does unless they know immediately what it will do for them. Let the benefit of your point lead them into the function. Once you have established the benefit in each clear, concise message, you can pepper them with the details and the data. For example, if you want to communicate that your product relieves pain twice as fast as the leading competitor, let the message say, “Pain relief in half the time as Product X,” and follow up with a supporting bullet, “Clinical studies showed patients achieved pain relief in 30 minutes with Your Product vs. 60 minutes with Product X.”
KISS (Keep it short and simple)
What goes hand in hand with an increasingly busy lifestyle? The notion that people have a much shorter attention span than they once had. This is evident everywhere in modern culture: instant access to endless information on our smartphones, 15-second commercials doing the work that two-minute commercials used to do, nail polish that dries in under a minute. So consider your audience's short attention span when crafting your messages. Use bullet points whenever possible. List numbers or metrics to drive home your point. And let charts or graphs show data instead of text. Many of us have the attention span of kindergarteners these days and, for the most part, we still appreciate pictures over words.
Test, test, TEST!!
Even when you think you know it all, people in our industry continue to be surprised by the choices that audiences make. Audiences are fluid; they react differently to different situations. Do not just assume your target audience will interpret your key messages the way you want them to—test the waters and make sure. People's experiences in the marketplace can drastically affect the way they view your product and you have to commit yourself to truly examining the answers you receive. Be prepared to refine your messages as you go and even scrap a few altogether. Your three leading messages may end up completely different from the way they started but at least you will be that much closer to resonating with your target audience when your product makes its big debut.
Get ready to launch!
Once you have constructed your core messaging platform, you are ready to start sharing your brand's story through various communications. And remember, a brand's foundation needs to be strong enough to support your brand over its life cycle. The stronger you make it, the longer your brand will be able to withstand the turning tides and thrive in any marketplace.