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How to: Create the perfect brand message in 5 simple steps

BY Alexandra Heseltine

5/28/2018
Alexandra Heseltine

We all know a logo design is only a small part of branding. What's critical to a successful branding strategy is defining the brand message. A brand message should answer the question in seven words or less: “Why should a customer hire you over a competitor?”

Believe it or not, many businesses have a tough time accurately describing themselves. It's especially difficult if the business offers a variety of products and services to different markets.

Here are a few tactics to discover your identity:

  • Conduct a survey: Ask your customers what they think of your business. Craft questions so you receive honest answers. Enable customers to openly comment on your business, brand, customer service, products, sales and overall experience with your company. In-person survey responses need to be documented to evaluate common threads and themes.

  • Inventory strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT): Focus on your strengths and discontinue or outsource the things you're not good at doing. What new opportunities can you identify that you might have overlooked? Has the market changed? Are there new competitors who threaten your business? Allow plenty of time to write your SWOT analysis.

  • Identify consistent profit centers: The key is making a profit from a service you provide or a product you sell — not just making a living. Profit enables you to grow a sustainable business.

  • Define what you're passionate about and why: Articulate what gets you excited about your business and why. This is the rocket fuel for your business so take the time to sort this out.

  • If you're a Jack-of-all-trades: Bundle your services under one label, such as a business consultant to a specific industry or expertise in solving a specific business problem. Separate your services and skills from your niche market so that you can pivot your business to new, more profitable markets, if needed.

How well do you know your clients? I'm acquainted with a financial advisor who knows his clients very well: their education, income, number of children, neighborhoods, vacation spots, cars, job titles, and the schools their children attend, etc. He knows their pain-points and provides tailored advice to his clients, so they can avoid an undesirable future.

Know your customers and pain-points on a deep level so you can deliver solutions that alleviates their pain — either now or in the future.

Now that you know more about yourself and your customers, how can you best relieve your customer's pain? What unique “pain relief” do you provide your customers? Consistently reducing or removing a customer's pain will grow raving fans for your business. Be crystal clear about your pain-solution and its delivery.

No one can be all things to all people and do an excellent job. We're all finite in what we can accomplish. Use what you have wisely and focus on the outcomes that can be achieved while stretching to reach long-term objectives. Concentrate on one or two solutions that delivers serious pain relief for your customers, delivered at precisely the right time.

If you've taken an honest assessment of your business and customers, you should have quality data and insights to help craft your brand message. Review the data and look for patterns that point to a direction or theme.

Craft your brand message to connect to your customer's pain and delivers an inspiring promise. Apply the brand message throughout your organization for an outstanding culture and unforgettable experience for your customers.

Alexandra Heseltine is the owner and creative director of GCMD, a Portland web design, branding and marketing agency that's focused on B2B companies and larger nonprofits. www.GCMD.agency / 207-464-0016