This post is the sixth in our “How to Build a Bullet-Proof Brand” series. In this blog, we explore where your brand message shows up in the wild, wide world.
The 4 major places your brand shows up
Brand voice, brand essence, brand story, creative or messaging brief, customer personas, elevator pitch/one-liner, copy
Logo, taglines, brand voice, visual design foundations such as brand colors, fonts, graphics, etc.
Business cards, printed & digital content, website, videos, case studies, biographies, videos, social media posts, etc.
Social media platforms & online networking, brick & mortar networking, customer interactions, community events
What is messaging?
Messaging refers to how your business talks about itself and the value it provides. Positioning is how you talk about your business and the value you provide through goods or services to your target audience. Your positioning statements should show clearly and convincingly how you are different from your competition, and answer the question of why your audience should buy from you.
Your messaging or positioning documents are the blueprints for what the rest of your marketing materials and people should communicate consistently. Marketing materials and communications such as advertising copy, social media posts, press releases, presentations, brochures, etc. are all built from the building blocks contained in your messaging or positioning documents.
There are four main categories of messaging:
- Corporate messaging communicates the purpose and value of your business to your market. This category is the broadest in scope.
- Brand messaging focuses on how and what to communicate about your brand – your company’s brand(s), products or services. This messaging is the next rung down on the messaging ladder.
- Product messaging is even more granular. This messaging communicates specific selling points and value of your products or services that are relevant to the specific audience intended for those products or services.
- Crisis messaging is specialized messaging that documents how your business or organization communicates publicly and internally about any negative events or crisis that impact your business or organization. This type of messaging is for those hopefully rare “use only in case of emergencies” scenarios, such as service interruptions or scandals.
What is branding?
I discussed branding in depth in the last blog post. To keep it short and to the point, here’s an excellent description from the Queensland Government’s online business primer. Well said. Their website also offers other useful info on marketing and branding to check out.
“Branding is a way of identifying your business. It is how your customers recognise and experience your business. A strong brand is more than just a logo — it's reflected in everything from your customer service style, staff uniforms, business cards and premises to your marketing materials and advertising.
Your brand should reflect what your business stands for and what sets it apart from your competitors — it expresses the qualities, strengths and 'personality' of your business.”
What is your best collateral?
Your best collateral combines the messaging and visual elements that will appeal to your target audience.
- Your business card (physical printed paper or digital signature versions) needs to tell people who you are, what you do and how to contact you. Ideally, it also provides people with visual clues about your brand and business personality. You would be surprised at how many businesses forget a basic phone number or email address. Make it easy for your prospects or customers to contact you!
- Your best marketing materials depend on your business offerings and your audience. Typically these are a concise brochure or flyer, either printed or digital. Many businesses use both. If you offer seminars or webinars to educate your audience, you may need a well-crafted presentation as your visual aid. Content for your website and social media platforms are important. Don’t be afraid to use images and videos – humans love to share them!
Where are your best locations?
- Website or mainstream social media site to attract your online visitors and connect with your community. A website is preferable, since you own this property and can use it to generate leads and revenue. Social Media sites such as Facebook also work well, but keep in mind that you don’t own your contacts or content, the platform does. Your goal is to convert your Facebook community to your own email or contact database, since that is your own goldmine to stay connected.
- Test social media sites to see which ones are the best fit for your target audience. Look at the demographics of your platform – who uses it, and do the user profiles match your intended audience? Businesses who are business-to-business (B2B) need a presence on LinkedIn to establish professional credibility and authority. Facebook works well for business-to-consumer (B2C) business models, since you can connect directly with your customers and prospects. Instagram is a very visual platform, which works well for food, fashion, health and beauty businesses and personal or professional services such as personal coaching.
- If your business is a physical location, consider how you let the rest of the world know where you are, and when you are open for business. How can your audience connect with you in person? Networking events? Business or organizational promotions? My favorite coffee shops offer private gathering spaces for book clubs, art groups, and even knitters to meet and socialize over a friendly cup of coffee or glass of wine. It is possible to meet in person while being conscientious about social gathering rules these days! Many of of my networking groups are now meeting via Zoom or other live-streaming video apps to help people stay connected.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Take time to test and document what marketing materials and locations work the best for your business or organization. Test! Test! Test! Repeat and scale out and up the tactics and activities that generate the best results for you, whether they are email campaigns, website or social media campaigns, webinars, conferences, networking events, whatever. It takes time and dedication to see results – make sure that you give yourself at least a month or quarter when evaluating new efforts.
Contact and campaign automation tools now make it much easier to be more disciplined about sticking to your marketing plan. If you are not using one, take one out for a test drive. Popular choices include MailChimp, Drip, Activecampaign and Constant Contact. SproutSocial has a list of free email marketing tools that are also worth considering. Most are simple to set up, and can be inexpensive ways of testing the water to find the one that works best for you.
Next episode: for the series grand finale, I’m going to give you my opinion on what makes a brand great these days – it’s not always about having the prettiest logo!
- Part 1 of the branding series: https://xylinaspc.com/business-branding-tutorial-1/
- Part 2 of the branding series: https://xylinaspc.com/5-reasons-brand-advantage/Part 3 of the branding series:
- Part 3 of the branding series: https://xylinaspc.com/brand-essence/
- Part 4 of the branding series: https://xylinaspc.com/4-key-branding-principles
- Part 5 of the branding series: How to Elevate Your Brand in the World