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As markets grow more crowded and the pace of business increases, innovative approaches to winning and keeping customers are paramount to success – but one area of customer attraction and retention that doesn’t require much innovation is examining your core brand message. A strong brand message not only helps businesses stand out from the competition but also makes it easier to connect with their target audiences.
In this article, we’ll explore what a core brand message is, why it’s important, and what brands must consider to create and maintain a strong brand message in 2023.
What is a Core Brand Message?
A core brand message is the central theme or idea that defines your brand and sets you apart from your competitors; the message that conveys what your brand stands for and what it offers to your target audience.
We use words like “strong” and “core” to define the brand message because it serves as the foundation on which all other marketing efforts are built. Your brand message has a lot of jobs, but it should above all be memorable, concise, and easy to understand.
Why Do I Need a Strong Brand Message?
You know your company best, but it’s not practical to assume your customers will be able to figure your brand out without guideposts. An undefined brand message creates doubt among consumers and allows your competition to elevate themselves in the industry.
Strong brands allow you to differentiate yourself from others, help you reach more people, and build trust.
- Differentiation: As we said before, markets are crowded. Information is readily available and consumer options are more diverse than ever. Consumers are often overwhelmed with choices, and a strong brand message can make the difference between a consumer choosing to buy from or work with your company over another. Trust, validity, and expertise are key influencers for consumer decision-making, all of which are reinforced by a strong brand message.
- Audience connections: By clearly defining what your brand stands for and what your offer, you can resonate in very specific ways with your audience. If you’re targeting young people who prefer to shop at companies that employ sustainable practices, that’s your cue to include your eco-conscious behavior in your core brand message. That’s an easy example – but it works the same way for B2B companies. If your audience is enterprises struggling to manage their network security, you’ll know what to say in your brand message to get their attention.
- Marketing support: From advertising to social media, a strong brand message can guide all communications and ensure that your efforts are consistent, and on-brand. Recognition is key – just like you always know you’re seeing an ad for Nike. The brand message is unique, memorable, and impactful.
Assessing Your Current Brand Message
Before you can create a stronger brand message, you need to assess your current one. Start by looking at your website, social media, and other marketing materials. Is your brand message consistent across all channels? Is it clear and concise? Does it accurately convey what your brand stands for and what it offers to customers? Does it reflect what you know your customers care about?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, it’s time to re-evaluate your current brand message. Here are some of the elements of your brand message you should be taking a closer look at.
Your Target Audience
Who are you speaking to? Often, brands have multiple target audiences that all have different “pain points” and needs; essentially, different motivations for seeking out a solution to their problems. To ensure your brand is their front-and-center solution, your message needs to address these specific pain points and instill confidence that you are the best option. Creating a persona map helps specify the unique needs of each audience and what content your brand can offer to best resonate with them.
Your Brand’s Differentiating Value
Almost every brand is up against some type of competition in the market. What sets your brand apart? You need to examine the competition – both direct and indirect – and define your unique value proposition. It should be a clear, concise, and impactful value that truly helps elevate you above the rest. This differentiator is critical to creating a strong brand message, as it is the foundation on which much of your messaging will rest.
Your Core Brand Message
Using the information you now have about your target audience and differentiating value, you can establish your core brand message. This message should be easy to communicate and speak clearly to your brand’s values and mission.
To craft your message, start by brainstorming keywords and phrases that accurately represent your brand’s personality and essence. Think about what you want customers to remember about your brand, and what emotions you want to evoke. Use these words and phrases to create a message that resonates with your target audience and accurately represents your brand.
Your Overall Messaging
Once you’ve crafted your core brand message, it’s important to communicate it effectively. This means ensuring that your message is consistent across all channels, from your website to your social media to your advertising.
Use storytelling to enhance your brand message – you can help illustrate your brand’s values and mission and create emotional connections with your audience by leveraging customer testimonials, case studies, use cases, or even fictional representations of how your brand can benefit customers.
You should also be incorporating your brand message in all communications, which helps establish consistency and familiarity and eliminates doubt. Ensure your emails. social media, website, advertising, and even employee communications reflect your brand message. With each touchpoint, you have an opportunity to elevate your brand and the customer experience.
Your Message Maintenance
Creating a strong brand message is just the first step. It’s important to maintain your message over time, ensuring that it remains consistent and relevant. Doing so means regularly assessing your brand message and making updates in line with your brand’s evolution, changes in the market, and shifting needs among your customer base.
It’s also important to ensure that all employees and stakeholders understand and support your brand message, which can be achieved through training, regular communication, and dissemination of branded materials like a brand guide that spells out your messaging in a ways that provides a good reference point for all.
How do you know if your brand message is effective and helping your brand achieve those goals for growth? Measuring its impact over time is critical – keep a pulse on performance through customer surveys, social media analytics, click-through rate, time-on-page, overall sales and new customers. Establish your core key performance indicators (KPIs) so you know what you’re tracking and why it matters.
By regularly measuring the effectiveness of your brand message, you can identify areas for improvement and make updates as needed.
Addressing Common Challenges in Brand Messaging
There are several common challenges that businesses face when developing and maintaining a strong brand message. These challenges include:
- staying consistent across all channels
- ensuring that your message resonates with your target audience
- adapting your message as needed as your customers and the market evolve
To overcome these challenges, it’s important to regularly assess your brand message. Get stakeholders in a room together to discuss what works about your brand message, and what may no longer resonate. It’s important to have input from different areas of your company, as some might see gaps in your message while others do not.
You should also ensure your employees are staying up-to-date on industry trends and best practices so you have a head start on adjusting your messaging when something becomes an important topic. For example, when sustainability and eco-conscious practices became a core demand for consumers, especially during the pandemic, savvy brands were able to quickly respond by shifting their approach – and their messaging – to answer the call.
Competition for the top spot in Google search and the industry thought leader is fierce. A strong brand message can help get you there. By identifying your target audience, unique selling proposition, and core brand values, and by communicating your message effectively across all channels, you can build brand recognition, attract and retain customers, and ultimately achieve long-term success.
Remember, crafting a strong brand message is an ongoing process. It requires regularly assessing your message and making updates as needed to ensure that it remains relevant and resonates with your target audience. If you don’t want to handle this effort in-house, consider reaching out to a marketing agency like Fishnet Media, which specializes in brand development and creating a consistent look and feel across every touchpoint.
How often should I update my brand message?
It’s important to regularly assess your brand message and make updates as needed. This could mean making small updates every few months or larger updates every year or two.
How can I ensure that my brand message resonates with my target audience?
To ensure that your brand message resonates with your target audience, it’s important to understand their needs, desires, and pain points, and to use language and visuals that speak to those factors.
Should my brand message be the same across all channels?
Yes, it’s important to ensure that your brand message is consistent across all channels, from your website to your social media to your advertising. This helps to build brand recognition and ensures that customers understand what your brand stands for.
How can I use storytelling to enhance my brand message?
Consider using customer testimonials, case studies, or even fictional stories that illustrate your brand’s unique selling proposition and the benefits it offers to customers. Storytelling can help to create an emotional connection with your target audience and make your message more memorable.
How can I measure the effectiveness of my brand message?
You can measure the effectiveness of your brand message through customer surveys, social media analytics, and other metrics. Regularly measuring the impact of your message can help you to identify areas for improvement and make updates as needed.
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