by Elaine Slatter | Featured Contributor
Whether you are using a personal brand (think Mary Forleo) or corporate branding for your business is up to you, but here are the first three key questions to ask for establishing the framework for your brand messaging.
1) Who are you and what do you do?
2) Why do you matter?
3) What makes you unique?
Once you have established these basics, you can then move on to establish your key messaging:
- Brand Promise
Can you describe what you do for your customers in ten words or less? This is your brand promise. We often see a brand promise in the tagline associated with a logo. Ones that come quickly to mind are Nike – “Just Do It,” Subway – “Eat Fresh,” Walmart – “Save money, live better,” Adidas – “Impossible is nothing.” The tagline is your brand promise, but brand messaging is more than that.
- Brand Positioning
Your messaging should be customer-centric, meaning understand how your customers think. From here you can then create messages that will solve their pain points, through the key features and benefits of your goods/services.
A great deal of time is spent understanding your customers. Where do they hang out, what motivates them, what do they care about? Knowing as much about the demographics of your customers as you can will help you with this messaging. When you put your business plan together, market research was a big part of the plan. This initial market research will help you craft messages that are important to the prospects that will want to buy your products/services.
For example, if you are a “Marylou’s Fresh Food Market,” your audience includes people who want to eat healthy foods as a central part to their lifestyle. Your research may have indicated that the demographic profile of this type of customer is, say:
- Between 20-40
- 70% female/30% male
- Earns $40K-$100+K annually
- Exercises 3x per week
- Eats a low carbohydrate diet
- Has a dog
- Wears casual clothes
- Follows sports
- Has 2 children under 10.
This research then helps you direct your sales and marketing messages around these buyer demographics. This applies to both your online messages through social media and your print messaging.
- Tone of Your Brand Messaging
Based on your customer demographics, what is the tone you want to use for your brand? Are you aiming for nurturing, fun, sassy, or more serious? A tone development trick for copy writing is comparing your business to a celebrity: ”If my brand was a celebrity, it would be Taylor Swift,” or “If my brand was a celebrity, it would be Richard Branson.”
- Time to Establish the Pillars of Your Brand
Brand Pillars describe the key selling points of your product/service. Each of these brand pillars will be supported by a key benefit statement and supporting examples. These become the focal points of your marketing content.
- A branding framework
This is a great exercise for your business. You can lay out your framework in a simple spreadsheet and refer to it as a reminder when branding you or your business.
Brand Framework for Marylous Fresh Food Market
Brand Promise: Fresh food you and your family will love
Positioning Statement: Marylous is the first fresh food company in your community
Tone of Voice: Light, bouncy, empowering
Elevator Pitch: Fresh food you and your family can easily prepare for a healthy lifestyle. A selection of premade, fresh dishes for those on the run or the fussy members of your family who want something different than the rest of the family!
Marylous Three Brand Pillars:
|Marylous store layout makes it easy to select your items||Store restocked night with produce from local food terminal||Unique items added, not the same boring items|
|Quick meal items at front of store||Quick meals made every day|
|Food from all over the world & we welcome suggestions|
|Deli has hot meals ready to go||Fresh fruits packaged daily||Use our website to give us feedback about new items|
|Fresh snack items at checkout||In season variety not found in other supermarkets||Use website or at checkout suggest new items|
Now that your branding framework is complete, you have all the core details to develop successful marketing messaging. This can be online through social engagement on Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook or print advertisements. Branding takes time. Remember Nike was just a swoosh logo at the beginning, until they developed their branding framework and key messaging.
Remember to switch up your messaging, commonly known as A/B testing. Use video and images, a few key call to action messages and keep it low on the word count. We only have a few seconds to engage our prospective clients, make every second count.
Elaine Slatter is a Small Business Expert, founder of XL Consulting Group and author of the popular book, “Fabulous Fempreneurship”, a complete business guide for women. XL Consulting Group helps entrepreneurs with market planning, strategy, branding, web design and social media. She has over 30 years of executive business and marketing experience and is ready to help you rocket your business to success. Elaine is passionate about mentoring women to become successful women entrepreneurs. To find out more, visit XL Consulting Group or join the Fabulous Fempreneurship mastermind.