Welcome to#5 in the branding series, "It's time to take stock and rethink your brand."
Words are an essential part of your brand currency
Your brand is delivered visually through the brand experience, what others say about us, and to a large part, what we define, and what we say about ourselves.
Having a strategically-crafted focused, consistent set of company and brand messages at the ready and “on the shelf” has a multitude of benefits. It makes your marketing efforts more efficient and effective. It demonstrates professionalism and ensures consistency which breeds consumer trust. It also provides that extra level of confidence in your brand and selling capabilities for you and your team.
Your Collection of Messages
Founders and company leadership drive the first set of messages that include Vision, Mission, Purpose, Values, and Your Story. This set of messages defines the company and where the company is going. They should be both inspirational and aspirational.
The second set of messages, the brand messages, should be based on your internal and external assessment and your positioning work. Using your positioning as a guide will help you create and manage consistent messages. These strategic messages will help your customer understand who you are, what you offer, how you are different, why that matters to them, and why they would want a connection with you. They provide an opportunity to highlight your point of difference.
Your Message Toolbox should contain the lucky 13:
5. Your Story
6. Positioning Statement
7. Brand Statement
8. Elevator Pitch
9. Unique Selling Proposition
11. The Brand Promise
12. The About Us-Long
13. The About Us-Short
Use your messages in pieces and parts everywhere you communicate. Use your vision and purpose as part of your story. Apply the essence of your brand statements to all your messages, tagline, ad campaigns, headlines, benefit statements and copy.
Develop your messages strategically and artfully. Know that is not always easy, but taking the time to do it right will help you stand out from the crowd.
Listen to your customers about their problems and what is important to them.
Stay focused on your brand positioning: Use your positioning and positioning statement as the basis for all your messages.
Tell your story. Include the Character, the Conflict and the Resolution.
Use personas to keep the characterizes of your different segments top of mind.
Keep your messages consistent. It breeds trust.
Keep your language clear and simple.
Be authentic and tell the truth.
Authenticity is magnetic.
Establish your brand personality and “tone of voice.”
Take a stand for something. Ensure your team embraces the brand messages and shares them.
Deliver the messages in a way your customer can hear them; make them relevant.
Communicate your message everywhere.
Don't let the marketing and branding” speak” confuse you
One company's "purpose" may be another company's "mission" or "mantra." What someone calls an elevator pitch may be someone else's brand statement, etc. Call the various statements whatever you want; however, consider developing the following consistent brand messages, each serving a different purpose.
The 13 Messages for Your Brand Message Tool Box
Your vision, mission, purpose, values, and story demonstrate the company's GPS. There are the decisions leadership has made and the direction they are taking the company. They should be both aspirational and inspirational.
A vision is a short, memorable, clear, and inspiring statement of what the organization intends to become, what they plan to achieve at some point in the future and how they will change the world. Go big even it seems impossible to achieve.
Alzheimer's Association: “A world without Alzheimer's disease.”
Adobe Systems: “Incorporated Adobe is changing the world through digital experiences.”
The mission is a short statement describing WHAT you do and how you will accomplish that vision. It can also define the company’s corporate strategy
TOMS: “We believe we can improve people's lives through business.”
“Peloton uses technology and design to connect the world through fitness, empowering people to be the best version of themselves anywhere, anytime.”
Dove: “Our mission is to ensure that the next generation grows up enjoying a positive relationship with the way they look—helping young people raise their self-esteem and realize their full potential. (The Dove Self-Esteem Project was created from a vision where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. We’ve reached over 60 million young people with self-esteem education, and by 2030, we're aiming to have helped ¼ billion build their positive body image
The purpose statement should reveal your aspirational WHY — your North Star. Increasing in popularity, it combines the components of a mission statement and your vision. It conveys a company’s reason for existence, just as the mission statement and vision do, but it also shows the connection between the brand identity and workplace culture of the company. The company purpose typically reflects the individual driving force of the founder or primary leader.
Chobani: “To make better food for more people.”
Harley-Davidson: “We fulfill dreams of personal freedom – it’s our purpose, and we take it seriously. And while freedom means different things to different people, it’s a bond that brings Harley-Davidson customers, employees, dealers, suppliers and enthusiasts together.
Values are the principles you hold dear throughout the organization that will accelerate your progress together. (Culture is the reality of those values applied.)
AMEX: “Develop relationships that make a positive difference.”
Whole Foods: “We Sell the Highest Quality Natural and Organic Foods. We satisfy and delight our customers. We promote team member growth and happiness. We practice win-win partnerships with our suppliers. We create profits and prosperity. And, We Care About our Community and the Environment.”
Peloton: “1. Put members first.2. Operate with a bias for action.3. Empower teams of smart creatives, and 4. Together we go far.”
5. Your Story
Craft your story to share insights on what drove you to start the company, the problem you were trying to solve and your Ah-Ha moment. If it is an old story, make it relevant to today’s world and target audience. Your story can be used in your website's About Us page, videos, and personal storytelling.
Peloton: ”How It All Started. In 2012, we brought the best talent in technology, hardware and production together to accomplish an ambitious goal: bring the community and excitement of boutique fitness into the home. The idea struck us after years of struggling to get to the workout classes we loved, while balancing our demanding jobs and busy families. So we made it our mission to bring immersive and challenging workouts into people's lives in a more accessible, affordable and efficient way.”
Pampers, Stinky Booty 2.0: “In 1956, unsatisfied with having to change his grandson’s cloth diapers, Victor Mills, a researcher for Procter & created a disposable diaper. This theme extends to all their storytelling, packaging, and ads featuring happy, laughing babies and dads of all genders and races. In a recent ad campaign, Friends at Work, Pampers focused on John Legend changing his baby’s Pampers with a chorus of singing dads.
The following messages address branding work and branding messages
6. Positioning Statement
For INTERNAL use only and as the basis for your Brand Statement.
The positioning statement is derived from the brand strategy and the positioning process that describes the “place” that a brand should occupy in target customers' minds and hearts. It focuses on emotional features and benefits that meaningfully set a brand apart from the competition. It is the most critical statement of all your brand and marketing messages and fundamental to all your strategies, programs and advertising.
To 5-year-old male basketball players (Your audience)
Nike is the brand of basketball footwear (Your Brand and Niche; a frame of reference)
That provides the “ADVANTAGE” of lightweight, breathable strength and innovation defined. (Features/point of difference):
So That you’ll have more confidence in your abilities and status that allows you to feel better about yourself. (The ultimate emotional benefit).
Have a main positioning statement for the company. Whenever possible, have one statement for each major segment to use as a checkpoint as you customize segment messages.
7. Brand Statement
The Brand Statement is your most important message and most comprehensive. (Often called the Value Proposition.). It is the company elevator statement or pitch. Derived from the positioning statement, this consumer-facing message should include the following::
Highlight your niche.
The problem(s) you solve, how you do it uniquely.
The concrete outcomes and emotional “benefits” a customer experiences from using your brand.
Add milestones and achievements when possible.
It should also reflect your mission, values, promise, and personality and tone.
Note: The Brand Statement includes the following messages and is often used synonymously with Core Brand Message, Value proposition (VP), Value Proposition Statement (VSP), Value Prop, The Customer Value Proposition, Brand Value Proposition, Brand Proposition, Proposition of Value, Business Value Proposition, Sales Value Proposition, Product Value Proposition, Value Positioning, and The Value Statement.
Disney Theme Parks:
“For the young and young-at-heart, Walt Disney World is the theme park that best delivers on an immersive and magical experience because Walt Disney World, and only Walt Disney World, connects you to the characters and worlds you most desire. (Tagline: “Where Dreams Come True”.)
Stripe: “We help businesses accept payments from anyone, anywhere, and build new kinds of companies like Lyft or Kickstarter. Internally, we say our goal is to increase the GDP of the internet---we want to bring more businesses online worldwide. In everything we do, we put our users first. We work hard to build the cleanest, most robust APIs possible so that our users can focus on building great products. There's always something more we can do---we're constantly seeking out areas of our product we can improve. We're building a company with folks from all sorts of backgrounds, who make great coworkers and who share and exemplify a few core values: people who are humble, respectful, inclusive, and ready to roll up their sleeves and get important work done for our users.”
8. Unique Selling Proposition
The Unique Selling Proposition (USP) focuses on the single benefit that makes you different from your competition. It can be part of the Brand Statement and the Value Proposition and may show up as a tagline or brand promise. At its best, it should also have a call to action.
HelloFresh: “America’s Most Popular Meal Kit.”
Robinhood: “Pioneer of commission-free investing.”
The tagline is a short and memorable message that supports the brand. It should tap into emotions, highlight various aspects of the brand, its DNA, the brand promise, and or your point of difference. I recommend a tagline no longer than three to five words, and it should always accompany the logo.
Everlane Shoes: “Exceptional quality. Ethical factories. Radical transparency.”
Kaiser Permanente: “Thrive”
10. Elevator Pitch
Typically the Elevator Pitch is the response to, “What do you do? It’s the personalized version of the brand statement used to engage and share the company's message and impress on a personal level. Each person adapts the brand statement to their role, their personal style and should be ready to shift the emphasis based on their different segments and roles. The 30-second elevator pitch takes some practice but something all employees should “own,“ especially sales and customer service.
“My name is Paul Ackworth. I’m a senior analyst with Atomic Systemic Solutions. We are a full “service” IT shop. supporting small-sized businesses and provide IT services the way IT should be. We are different because we not only sell you “the right-fit” hardware or software, but we provide complete IT services. And we are your guides for the best practice for your business. And we’ve been doing it for over 15 years and have worked with over 75 companies. Give us a call for a free consultation.”
11. The Brand Promise
The customer expectation that you are 100% sure you can deliver and consistently deliver on them. A great brand promise reflects careful consideration, courage, and creativity. The bolder and clearer, the better. The best brand promises go big, challenge the status quo, and connect with consumers on a deep emotional level.
Geico: “15 minutes or less can save you 15% or more on car insurance.”
Marriott: “Quiet luxury. Crafted experiences. Intuitive service.11. The About Us-Long
12. The About Us-Long
The long version of About Us shares the same information as the short version but reveals more about the company and why the reader would care. When a reader clicks on the “About Us” page, they expect to find some meaningful information on your company. It is a tremendous opportunity to cement a relationship while being informative, interesting, impressive, authentic, and to show brand personality.
The long About Us can include vision, purpose, mission, values, your story, Ah-Ha moment, what drives your success, where you are going, and what you do and don’t stand for.
Customers who view your "About Us" website page
are 5x more likely to make a purchase."
-The Blue Acorn, Digital Agency
Dove: “When it comes to care, we want to give you products you can trust for your skin and hair. But Dove care goes beyond our products. Learn about Dove’s vision, our research and partners here. We care about all women, female-identifying and non-binary people. We want to redefine beauty standards and help everyone experience beauty and body image positively. We care about the future generation: helping girls build positive self-esteem through the Dove Self-Esteem Project, ensuring the world they enter is removed of toxic beauty standards. We care about how we make our products and what goes into them, about the impact we have on our planet and how we can strive for a better, more sustainable way of being.” See the Dove website for more.
12. The About Us-Short
The about us is the shortened version of the Long About us and should include the brand statement with a call to action and contact information. It is used for directories, mini-company bios and press releases.
Google Inc. Google’s innovative search technologies connect millions of people around the world with information every day. Founded in 1998 by Stanford Ph.D. students Larry Page and Sergey Brin, Google today is a top web property in all major global markets. Google's targeted advertising program provides businesses of all sizes with measurable results, while enhancing the overall web experience for users. Google is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. For more information, visit www.google.com
These trusty 13 strategic company and brand messages will provide a solid and consistent messaging framework. They will keep your stakeholders and customers clear on who you are, what you do, what makes you relevant and different, where you stand and where you’re going.
Have them ready in your toolbox will ensure they can be easily shared through your communication stream.
Humans want to connect with other humans
and brands that are authentic.
That’s often easy to forget in the digital world.
Are You Ready To Take The Next Step For An Innovative Brand?
Look for Laurie's Next Article in the Series: It’s time to take stock & rethink your brand.
#5 What messages are in your Brand Toolbox?
#6 Have you been keeping your “brand promise?”
#7 Are your employees brand-aligned, and do they deliver your brand promise?
#8 Do you have an updated brand strategy?
Order the full series “Time to Take Stock & Rethink Your Brand” in an e-book for 2021 delivery
Brands That Deliver™ and Laurie Pillings Rinker, a brand-driven marketing strategist.
Laurie is a consultant, author, speaker, and podcaster. As principal of Brands That Deliver™, she works with large to small clients to get focused and transform their brands and revenue. We help companies define their brand, engage customers, and deliver on their promises and develop marketing programs while encouraging social good.
You can reach Laurie at BrandsThatDeliver.com