Fully Articulate Your Brand

It’s frustrating. You have a great story to tell, but your messaging and marketing materials miss the mark. They fail to convey the real experience prospects would have if they truly understood your brand — your people, your technology, your products, your services and the thinking that drives it all.

 

There are typically four (eminently fixable) reasons for this brand malaise:

 

1. Default Language. Compelling brand messaging requires a deep understanding of your history, your vision and the products, people and technologies that comprise your brand. In the absence of this understanding, brand messages tend to be built with familiar phrases. World’s leading this. Truly innovative that. And solutions that drive productivity and efficiency. You know the words. You’ve heard them a million times.

 

Here’s a simple test to determine if your brand suffers from this: Grab your most used marketing materials — websites, presentations, ads, news releases, collateral. Pull snippets of content from each one and see how unique it is to you, your story and your brand. Does it describe you — or could it describe any brand? If you find lots of terms like world leader, innovator, solution, customer-centric, productivity or cutting edge, it’s a bad sign.

 

2. Bulletization. Marketers are taught from the beginning to boil things down to a few salient points. While this might work on a PowerPoint slide or a product sheet, it’s detrimental to your brand. Ultimately, products and services within a competitive space offer similar features and offer similar benefits.

 

Too often, the boiled down and bulletized approach is used as a platform for brand messaging. As a result, everyone sounds the same, you lose differentiation and your brand feels undersold.

 

3. Myopia. There are lots of examples of great brand messaging. Some focus on technology, some on products and services and some on thought leadership and innovation. But the one characteristic all great brand messages share is audience empathy.

 

Great brands are articulated with a deep understanding of their target audiences. The owners of those brands understand that to connect with an audience, you must start from their point of view and draw a line back to your brand story — not vice versa. Most brands start with an internal view of the world and attempt to connect with audiences by drawing the line that starts inside the company. Those connections are very rarely made.

 

Great brands are articulated with a deep understanding of their target audiences. The owners of those brands understand that to connect with an audience, you must start from their point of view and draw a line back to your brand story — not vice versa.

 

Effective audience empathy not only includes what your brand message says — it includes an understanding of where and how your audiences want to find information. Mastering this aspect of brand messaging requires an understanding of social media platforms and a strategy for orchestrating messages across all physical and digital media.

 

4. Consistency v. Repetition. The distinction here is critical. Consistency helps build credibility and understanding among customers, prospects and other target audiences. Repetition causes audiences to tune out.

 

Consistency is difficult because it requires original thought and the continuous generation of differentiated content. It also requires remaining true to the core story. Executed effectively, marketers can build a unique and compelling brand that builds over time in the minds of customers and prospects. Simple repetition is often used in an attempt to achieve the effects of consistency. This rarely works.

 

Author: Dave Levi