Lesson 6

The Right Message and Brand Image

Congratulations! You’ve completed your market research and are ready to start tailoring your brand. With the information you collected from your market research, you’re set to take the first steps into creating a branding strategy that’s both targeted and effective.

However, before you start blasting your message to everyone who will hear it, there’s some important things to consider. The first is that while you know who you are speaking to and what you should say, it’s still important to consider the “how” aspect. Your message, after all, is most effective when it’s delivered to the right audience with the precise wording.

The second element to consider is that even inside your target audience, there may be different segments that react to information in diverse ways. Additionally, people who you are targeting may be seeking different features or characteristics. While some people are looking for convenience and comfort, others may be seeking innovation.

It’s important that you think about your message in relation to these differing segments to better craft your brand and deliver the most effective pitch to these prospective users. To accomplish this, you need to consider a few things: your audience’s personas, your brand’s voice, and your image. These three components go hand in hand, but you should always dedicate attention to each of them to create the most powerful brand possible.

Let’s start with audience personas:


“You should always start creating personas based on information
you have and try to create as complete a picture as you can
to personalize your messaging campaigns.


Marketing Personas

In their most basic form, personas are sketches of key segments of your target audience. They’re built from the results of your market research and from educated guesses along with demographic information you’ve compiled. Personas should always be composed of several essential components:

  • Demographic information – This data includes age, gender, income, education level, family status, and location.
  • Their goals and needs – What do they want and what do they need? These questions are key to identifying the audience’s pain points.
  • Their values and fears – What do they look for in a brand and what could turn them off from buying from you?
  • Their name – It’s always vital to create an actual person to better imagine you are talking to someone, and not just writing soulless marketing materials.

Personas are a vital part of creating the right message. Because your audience is not homogenous, your message must be tailored to these segments to have a more measurable impact.

You should always start creating personas based on information you have and try to create as complete a picture as you can to personalize your messaging campaigns. This will help you round out your brand to be as broadly appealing as possible. Most importantly, it will give your customers a face, making it easier for you to speak to them directly.

Finding Your Brand’s Voice

With your audience discovered and researched, it’s time to focus on how to best communicate your brand’s values and message. To do this, you can’t simply start talking to them. While you can certainly improvise and have some success, the risk you run by not having a defined brand voice and identity is to confuse your company’s message.

Instead, you should consider how you’re going to communicate your value-added appeal before you start a dialogue with your audience. So, how do you go about creating a voice for your brand? It’s simpler than you think.

Define Your Major Characteristics

Think of the three or four words that best describe your company. Are you fun, easy-going, and innovative? Whatever words you decide to choose, it’s important to have a clear idea. These will be the foundation for everything your company’s branding efforts emphasize going forward. More importantly, these words or phrases should reflect what you’re trying to provide for your audience.

If your company sells business-to-business technology services, fun and quirky may not be the best descriptors. But, if you offer consumer technology products, easy-going and quirky may be exactly what resonates with your target audience.

Find What Sets You Apart

Odds are, the characteristics you choose to reflect your company’s attributes are not entirely unique. That’s normal. In any industry, most companies are trying to reach the same audience, so they will define themselves in similar ways. However, while your “what” may sound like your competitors, your “how” can be a completely unique breath of fresh air.

Find the words and style that make you different and embrace them. If your competitors are all saying “zig”, don’t be afraid to yell “zag” and mean it. It’s important to find unique ways to communicate, even if what you’re selling looks similar.

Listen To The People You Talk To

This is a crucial step that many companies disregard. In your rush to be the first to say something, don’t forget that the communities you’re trying to sell to and speak with all have their own unique ways of communicating. This is a fact of life, and not being familiar with the jargon and tone people in your target market use can mean that your brand is perceived as an outsider, or worse, as a company that does not care about the people they’re trying to work with. Make sure you listen while embracing the language and quirks of your target audience.

Creating the Right Image

This is the last step after you’ve figured out your audience and your voice. Now is the time when you start putting those two elements into practice. Creating a brand image is a mix of traditional marketing and a variety of different outreach strategies. This is important because you are trying to make sure your brand is always visualized in a certain way. Sending mixed messages or acting outside of that initial perception can set you back significantly. To make sure your brand image is always on point, you should make sure you do the following:

 

Use your voice always and exclusively: No matter what channel you’re communicating through, it’s vital to never break character. You can be having a friendly back-and-forth conversation on Facebook, or advertising through a website, but your company’s voice must always shine through.

Find the places where your target audiences congregate: Is there an online community, forum, or hub a large portion of your audience regularly visits? Make sure you’re there. You don’t need to advertise or try to sell things, but you do need to become a part of their world, try to understand what your audience wants. This will help establish your business as a friendly and familiar personality, instead of a faceless company.

Have a cohesive branding strategy: This is tied to your voice, but it bears repeating. Your branding is your company’s outward facing appearance, and it’s vital that it always looks and feels the same. Use the same colors, similar motifs, and always ensure your logo is easily recognizable. By keeping a cohesive approach, you’ll instantly become recognizable and unique.


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