“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” — Leonardo da Vinci
For years, we’ve been working with clients to strengthen how they talk about their brands on their websites, in print, and in person. What began as a company that made beautiful websites and logos has become an agency that focuses on storytelling first and then applying those stories to marketing second. We are obsessed with making sure every client’s brand messaging is strategic, simple, and customer-focused.
With that in mind, today we’re sharing some insights that will help you reflect on how you’re telling your brand’s story. Last week we had you ask questions about your current website… Where are you winning, what’s working, and which areas could use some attention as you approach the new year? This week, we’re asking those same questions about your messaging, with our goal being to help you get prepared for a strong start to 2022.
Let’s get started. Here are five quick questions you should be asking about the words you’re using to talk about your brand:
1. Is your messaging simple? Da Vinci nailed it in the quote above. “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” Often we rely on too many words to tell our stories. In a fast food, Netflix, Amazon Prime world, that doesn’t work. We need to be able to connect with our customers quickly. Less is more when it comes to the words we’re using to create connections. Here’s a concept we’ve shared in the past. An Uber is coming, and you have less than a minute to tell me who you are and what you do. Can you pull it off as you’re entering 2022?
2. Is your messaging clear or confusing? Clarity and simplicity are not the same. A clear message (delivered without too many words) should tell me how your product and service can help me and what makes your brand different. Is it clear to your customers today why they should consider your brand, or is your current messaging leaving them confused? If it’s confusing them, it’s time to double down on clarity.
3. Is your team aligned around one message? Are your employees confused? Ask yourself this question. If we took everyone from your team out into a hallway and asked them to describe your brand in one or two sentences, would all of their answers be aligned? Probably not. This misalignment is one of the most common challenges we encounter when we guide our clients’ teams through our Strong Marketing Messages Bootcamp, and it is something our work solves. We help teams create aligned messages that they can all share together, removing the fractures that cause confusion.
4. Is your messaging consistent? Consistency in your message isn’t just about team alignment. Taking it one step further, is your message consistent throughout all of your marketing? Is the story you are telling on your website aligned with what I will read in print, hear from you in your blogs and emails, and see on social media? If I meet you in person and we talk about your brand, is what you say aligned with what I hear in your marketing? Consistency is key to building trust with your customers.
5. Is your messaging customer-focused? Speaking of your customers, isn’t this really all about them? A clear message delivered simply should focus on your customer first. Instead of listing all the features of your product or service, your attention should be on how those products and services can make your customer’s life better and what makes your brand different. Make sure your brand messages are pointed outward toward them and not inward toward you. Give them a reason to say, “This brand gets me!”
6. BONUS! Is your messaging recruiting-focused? This is a conversation that has come up over and over again in 2021. In an environment where recruiting and retention are more challenging than ever, making sure your brand’s messaging is attractive from a recruiting perspective is a must. We’ve done a lot of work this year helping teams refocus on their core values, purpose, and mission – and we’ve helped them create content that communicates those values out to prospective staff.
As you’re thinking about ending this year strong and preparing for 2022, include some time to reflect on the words you’re using to talk about your brand. Chase the things we talked about above… Simplicity, clarity, alignment, consistency, and a focus on the people who have the power to make your brand successful.
If you could use an outside perspective on your brand’s story and message, we’d love to chat. Let’s make 2022 a great year together!
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