If the headline has piqued your interest, it’s likely you understand how hard it is to live and breathe your brand values in everyday communications.
I’ll be honest. Having worked in an agency for many years, I know it’s virtually impossible to ensure every piece of collateral you produce has a consistent top-level message. Especially in large and diverse organisations.
When I talk about brand messaging I’m referring to those values or principles that thread through all levels of communications. Brand messaging is a set of values and principles your audience can connect with, ideas that inspire and influence to create unrivalled brand loyalty and understanding.
One immediately recognisable top-level brand message is Tesco’s ‘Every Little Helps’. Can you identify the brands these top-level messages apply to? (Answers at the end)
- Working for You
- Making a Better World
- Inspiring tomorrow’s professionals
It’s quite hard, isn’t it? These are slogans. They’re designed to be catchy, but without any supporting messages, they’re often meaningless. Yes, they need to be memorable and represent what your business strives for, but what do they mean and why should your audience care about them?
The challenge of creating brand messaging
Slogans can make message development very difficult for marketers, either because they are too vague, or in some cases only work for a specific audience or channel.
To create an effective and versatile brand message, you need to consider your entire brand framework. This will help you determine what you should say and to say it.
Considering your brand position, essence, personality, promise, value proposition and audience, will help you create a full messaging framework to guide your marketing across every piece of content and channel. You should be able to map everything you create, internally and externally, back to your brand framework.
So how do you get started?
To create messaging that fits both print and digital copy, you need the context of your brand in a simple format in front of you, without having to constantly refer to brand guidelines, style guides and identity management documents.
The best way to approach this is to create a table containing all the key elements of your brand. This will act as a quick reference guide to help you to write your messaging.
We’ve created the Eleven Brand Framework, below, to demonstrate how each element fits together, from development all the way through to building brand loyalty.
Whilst we have our own interpretation of what a brand should consist of, in reality, it’s different for every organisation. You should always consider what approach works best for your employees and customers. At Eleven, we really like the way the University of Leeds has laid out their tone of voice guidelines. They make it easy to help people write in a way that supports their brand.
We’ve developed the chart below, extracting the important elements of the University of Leeds brand, to present them in a way that helps to bring their brand to life in everyday communications. We’ve provided some example messaging to show how you could apply it to your own brand.
Try it for yourself
Try applying this framework to your own brand. Once completed, you’ll have a solid messaging framework to share with all your employees. Use it to tie every piece of content together and make sure your go-to-market messages are consistent across the board. This will ensure a smooth customer experience with coherent messages, and most importantly, will help buyers see your brand the way you want it to be seen.
Do let me know how you get on!
Working for You – Network Rail; Making a Better World – Samsung; Inspiring tomorrow’s professionals – University of Huddersfield