OK, it’s a given: telling a compelling brand story is not easy. Heck, it’s difficult with the number of things you need to be able to do in an effective and engaging manner: communicating what your business does, your identity, and why you’re different from the competition. To a certain degree, communicating a brand is almost like dating where you have to be intriguing enough for people to be interested in you, trust you, then build a sense of loyalty towards you.
What is brand messaging, exactly? Well, it is the way in which your brand communicates its unique value proposition to your target audience using verbal, visual, and even musical communication which inspires them to purchase your product or service. This can manifest through the language you use, your graphics and designs, the events you host, and even the corporate social responsibilities you participate in. Regardless of your approach to these, two key factors stand out: who your target audience is and the value you’re providing to them.
Essentially, an effective brand identity is one that feels authentic and relatable to your target audience. For example, Apple has made strides in presenting itself as a trendy complement to those who value aesthetics, innovation, and data privacy. The trillion-dollar tech giant not only does this by designing their products in such a way that denotes a premium and trendy feel to them, they also portray this image on their other communication channels such as their website and advertisements.
Framing the Message
The very first thing you need to figure out is who you are as a company. As mentioned earlier, you need to be able to identify the value you bring your customers and the uniqueness that sets you apart from your competitors in the market. Once you’ve figured this out, it is then important to think about the type of narrative that would appeal best to your audience. Are you a company that was built on the foundations of family and/or friendship? Or perhaps you’re more about going against the flow and coming up with something unique to your brand. These are a few things to consider.
Another way of approaching brand identity is by seeing it as an auxiliary tool that complements the perception of your product or service sends to your audience. Where you are likely to be assessed on how satisfied customers are with what you provide them, your brand identity is essentially what gives shape to that impression – which is why even the biggest companies in the world such as Uber and Nike spend millions on their branding. Jeff Bezos puts this aptly when he said “branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.”
Once you’ve taken these into consideration, creating and communicating your brand becomes a more digestible task. It becomes significantly easier to create copies for your website, conceive branding designs, and identify which communication channels would be most appropriate to your brand. Also, by documenting your company’s branding goals, it becomes significantly easier to stay on course and not be distracted by inconsistency.
Avoiding The Pitfalls
While there are no concrete rules with regard to what businesses can and cannot do to create an effective brand message, there are a few things to avoid to prevent your brand from faltering. First and foremost among this is do not copy your competitors. While it may be tempting to do so, particularly if they have exemplary branding, being the ‘knockoff’ brand never leaves lasting impressions with customers. The best way to go approach this would be to take note of what they do well and make your own twist on it as to make you more unique. After all, there must be *something* you do better than your competitors.
You should also keep in mind the importance of consistency. This should be easier to do if you have solid foundations for your branding, but even then, the risk of giving your customers mixed messages is still present. Avoid this at all costs and use the appropriate language, graphics, or medium to get your message across. Also, ensure that your presence is consistent in all your channels regardless of whether they are online or offline. This may mean investing considerable time and resources into building a style guide that will work as the foundation of your brand identity.
Yes, effective brand messaging takes work and a considerable amount of resources. But if done right, the consistent use of a logo, as well as language, type, color, and graphics all, work together to create a personality that your customers will grow familiar with and even become loyal to. Branding done well makes you more than just one of the companies in the market.