DO YOU EVER feel like your marketing is an endless stream of tidbits? Are you unsure if all those tidbits add up to one cohesive marketing strategy? Welcome to the era of social media marketing.
A coherent brand and messaging strategy will bring order and efficiency to your marketing outreach and make your messages more effective in the process. You need a Brand Messaging Guide. Here is a simple exercise you can do right now to bring structure and continuity to your marketing.
Create your own version of the diagram below to use as a reference every time you or someone who works for you creates a marketing element. Everything you do, from long-lasting productions like your website or a billboard to fleeting social media posts, should be informed by your Brand Messaging Guide.
Purpose, Values, and Voice
The first step is to articulate your purpose, values, and voice. Purpose is the answer to the questions: Who are we? What do we do that makes us different? And why do we matter? Every piece of marketing must reflect your purpose.
Your values provide important emotional context to your marketing. The typical American is exposed to over 5,000 marketing messages each day, which is a lot of noise to penetrate. To get and keep someone’s attention, you must appeal to them on a level that’s deeper than product features or price.
Your voice is the personality or tone of your brand. Is your voice formal or warm? Playful or serious? Imagine your brand voice as a character and describe it.
Here is an example of a Purpose, Values, and Voice Statement for the top of your Brand Messaging Guide:
“We are a third-generation family jeweler with modern sensibilities and old-world craftsmanship. After you collaborate with our CAD artist to make the design of your dreams, our master jeweler will create it right here in our shop. We matter to jewelry buyers who want modern looks with heirloom quality.
“Our values can be stated in three simple words: Integrity. Kindness. Dependability.
“Our voice is the voice of our former owner, Francine Wolfson. She took over the business as a young widow at a time when women didn’t run businesses. She warmly welcomed everyone as an equal and friend, regardless of appearances. She had a wry sense of humor, never said a bad word about anyone, and didn’t take no for an answer. She was petite and soft-spoken, but when she laughed you could hear her down the street.”
The practice of reading your Purpose, Values, and Voice statement before creating any message will make your marketing more consistent, authentic, and infinitely more relatable.
Top Level Messages
What are the three things you wish every prospect and customer knew about your company? Those three messages should inform every piece of marketing you create.
Here is an example of three potential Top Level Messages:
1. We make and sell jewelry because we love jewelry. We love the metals, the gemstones, and the craftsmanship.
2. We are humbled by being part of our customers’ lives and stories. We measure our success in wedding invitations, baby announcements, anniversary parties, and graduations.
3. Quality isn’t just a word to us. Quality is a way of thinking and working that requires practice and intention and can always be improved upon.
How do each of your Top Level Messages translate into benefits for your customers? For each message, create two or three Benefit Statements. For example, a benefit for Top Level Message No. 1 (above) might be that your sales team is deeply knowledgeable about the wear and care of color gemstones, ensuring your customer always ends up with jewelry that suits her lifestyle. A benefit for Top Level Message No. 3 might be that you can offer a 100 percent guarantee of satisfaction on every jewel you make and sell. These Benefit Statements will provide you with nearly a dozen ideas that you can return to again and again for your marketing elements.
A proof point is marketing-speak for any example that offers evidence of your claims. Proof points include customer testimonials, case studies, awards, accolades, and achievements. Create a list of proof points for each of your Benefit Statements.
Your Brand Messaging Guide should be on hand for every marketing activity, and in the hands of every person who does messaging for your company. Your marketing may be made up of hundreds of tidbits throughout the year, but if you put them all together, those tidbits should form a mosaic that is the perfect picture of your brand’s promise and value.