Updated: Sep 15
Have you ever received an email from a company, saw their Instagram post or visited their website and understood immediately what they care about and why/how they want to help you? That’s the power of a messaging strategy.
Nike is the quintessential example staying true to its core messages while evolving them as their audience’s needs, beliefs and priorities have evolved.
What is a Messaging Strategy?
A messaging strategy framework connects a company with its audiences through relevant, meaningful communication. It captures the key messages that help people know and understand who a company is, what it stands for and what it offers.
It influences both internal and external means of communicating to inspire and guide employees and customers. A well-designed messaging strategy…
Clarifies brand intent - consistently shaping and influencing brand perceptions through marketing communications leaves no doubt on what you stand for and who you care about.
Empowers employees - by having a clear understanding of the company’s purpose and point of difference they can connect more easily to the company and in turn, deliver an on-brand experience to customers.
Builds a “competitive moat” - in defining and staying true to your core messages, you’re able to build equity and defend against competitive moves.
How do you create and effectively use a Messaging Strategy?
The best place to start crafting your message strategy is with your point of difference – how you meet a relevant need in a way that’s difficult for anyone else to duplicate. This could be a unique technology, process, design, ingredient, or expertise area that delivers a meaningful benefit to your target audience and gives you an ownable advantage vs. other options they could chose. Other areas of inspiration for your messaging are brand purpose, mission, and values.
The goal is to select two to four unique message themes that help people get to know your organization and what you stand for and offer. But remember, people don’t just buy what you make, they buy why you make it. A balance between brand (who we are/what we stand for) and product/service (what we offer) is necessary to reinforce why they should care and persuade them to buy.
Once you identified your key message themes develop a Messaging Strategy Framework, which includes the messaging themes, their role in communicating the brand and example headlines. The framework creates a consistent, “on-brand” way to shape and influence perceptions in marketing materials.
When it comes to translating the messaging strategy to content, FIRST ensure you have a clear target persona to infuse their language, needs, desires into the message. While it’s important to use similar messaging across marketing materials to build equity and avoid confusion, when creating targeted messages for a specific audience speak to their needs. SECOND, bring your brand personality to life. Write in the brand’s tone of voice so wherever your audience sees or hears your messaging it’s unmistakably attributed to your organization.
You know your messaging strategy is effective when the content is consistently on-brand and customers play back your benefits. Even better, per a study conducted by Lucidpress of 400 management experts, they see that brand consistency significantly increases revenue – by 10-20%. Think of messaging as a long-term investment to get the most return. Ask for feedback from customers to ensure your communications stay relevant.
For inspiration, consider these examples or look to the brands you believe communicate effectively. What messages do they consistently reinforce to make you feel confident in them as an organization as well as their product/service lines.
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What’s the ROI?
Externally, effective messaging attracts the right customers and enhances their experience across the shopping journey because they understand what you can mean to them. It can help mitigate any concerns with behavior, trust, and loyalty.
Internally, a messaging strategy translates foundational brand elements into easy-to-understand concepts. It enables teams responsible for bringing to life the brand like human resources, sales, public relations, marketing and agencies efficiently and effectively develop content.
Consider adding a messaging strategy to your brand playbook. The benefits it provides to your organization far outweighs the time and effort to create it. Click below to download our free message strategy framework template.
The Brand Evaluator is a joint venture of independent brand builders – Michelle Thompson, BrandSpark Design LLC and Christine Sech, Brave Oak Brand Building LLC. We work with emerging businesses to help them clearly and meaningfully convey their organization’s value through brand building strategy, design and content that drives results.