In today’s digital world, we’re surrounded by brand messages. We hear them when listening to Pandora or Spotify. We’re forced to watch them before YouTube videos, and in between our favorite TV shows. They clog our inbox - and we often see and engage with our favorite messages on Instagram, Facebook feed or Twitter. In fact, the average customer is exposed to between 4,000 and 10,000 brand messages daily.
Without question, the ways in which companies win attention from today’s digitally savvy customer is different than in the past. Customers are jaded, they have power to delete, unfollow, or speak out about your messages to thousands in their network instantly - and employees and colleagues are no exception to this rule. They, too, can speak out about the company they work for, and even get rewarded for it by software such as Glassdoor or Indeed.
While companies are starting to see paid advertising as less effective, one thing still rings true: strong messaging remains critical to this process. Here are a few reasons why:
It builds trust: Forrester explains that having a consistent experience across all brand touchpoints is a key driver of brand trust. Consistent messaging builds confidence in users or customers, because if a brand "talks" the same way at every touch point, then surely the product or service will have the same quality every time as well.
It streamlines communication among teams: When everyone on the team is clear about what the company stands for, how the company wants to be perceived in the marketplace, and where the company wants to be in the future, they can effectively take the company forward.
It drives revenue: The payoff for companies that focus on consistency can be considerable. In fact, research by Techipedia found that consistent brands are worth 20 percent more than those that aren’t.
It provides clarity: When a company is very clear on the type of product or service offering, customers are more likely to choose you over a competitor if they understand exactly what you’re offering, and why you’re different from competitors.
I've worked with many clients who come to the table thinking their messaging just needs a 'tweak' or they simply need website copy with catchy headlines. It's not they they don't understand that messaging is important, but rather they think their message is already in tact. But oftentimes, after speaking with them for just a few minutes, we find out the messaging is the very thing that keeps them from attracting the right customers! To put you on the path towards creating clear, effective messaging, here are a few tips:
It may seem like an obvious first step to first understand what product or service you’re offering, but I have seen first-hand business owners and founders that cannot make up their minds. Though I’ve seen this mostly with early stage companies, there are still larger companies that struggle with who they are selling to or worse, what their product solves! Be clearer with target audiences by digging deep into the product or service to truly understand what’s being offered, why it’s different and who will benefit. Try asking: what problem is your product or service solving? And how is this different from what’s already available? Are you selling to a consumer, business, or both? Which industries will benefit the most from this product or service, and why? How are you different from similar companies? These questions are essential to crafting strong, effective messaging.
START WITH THE CUSTOMER
This is one of my favorite areas of discovery. When clients do this exercise, they realize how “off-message” their messaging really is, or realize they need to re-tweak. Why do your customers choose you? What problems are they currently solving with your software or product? And where do they go to learn more about the problems you solve? There could be many different answers to these questions, which is why it’s important to ask them. An effective tip: Create a few customer profiles, with names, job titles, locations, and list out a series of things about this customer, for example, who do they report to, what are the expectations of their job and what are the challenges they have which your product solves? How do they obtain budget to purchase your product? Many times, there are multiple decision makers at a company, with different motivators. I did this recently with a team, and the end result was incredibly effective!
This is by far the most effective exercise. Putting words and sentences, even pictures, on a board to map out what messages would look like for which market; What words make your company standout. This helps with crafting messages to different customers - in different industries, geographical locations, with different pain points. Here are a few photos of some of my favorite whiteboard sessions. Creative sessions are highly important to crafting right-fit messages. Here are a few of my favorite creative sessions.
Without question, consistent messaging is critical to win over today’s digital savvy customer, but it must be done the right way in order to be effective. The best place to start is by digging deep into what you’re offering, and to whom you’re offering your product or service - and the best place to start is whiteboarding it! Mapping back your messaging to your target audience will ensure you have a strong messaging foundation to better equip teams, strengthen communication channels, and maximize stakeholder meetings.
Need help with your company messaging? We’re experts at message and positioning, and we want to whiteboard with you - email Victoria to get in touch.