When we talk about messaging, it can mean different things to different people depending on their perspective. A brand message is an overall story that your company is telling and the specific style and manner in which you tell that story.
In the B2C world, the brand conveys the firm’s personality and creates an emotional connection with its target audience. Colors, font choice, look and feel, and the storytelling tone create the brand personality. Taglines, such as “Just Do It” (NIKE) and “A Diamond is Forever” (DeBeers), are crafted to give voice to the brand message.
In the B2B world, the sales cycle is more complex, and therefore, brand stories need to be multi-layered to target a variety of audiences. B2B companies need to rely on investors, partners, and industry ecosystems, to be able to sell to customers.
- A CEO’s target audience is primarily investors, strategic partners, and very large customers. A CEO message needs to be broad and provide context for the company’s position, value, and competitiveness in the marketplace.
- Marketers need a promotional message that helps generate leads and shorten the sales cycle. The promotional message primary goal is to hook and prepare a prospect to hear the sales message.
- The sales message needs to convince prospects to choose your products over a competitor’s. It typically includes how your company is solving a pain point, ROI, and the value your products/services offer that your competitors don’t.
Example of a Message with Longevity
I was cleaning out my files recently and came across a promotional campaign that was developed more than 25 years ago in the early 1990s (yikes!). It was right before remote access crossed the chasm.
What struck me about the campaign is how relevant the top level message is today. The message created over 25 years ago could still be used today – not the product information but the headline and the visual. Sure, the visual would need to be updated with more casual business attire and modern computing equipment but the essence of the campaign could be used today for a number of different products and services.
Let’s take a look.
The headline that accompanied this visual said –
Starting now, there’s no difference between the home office….and the home office.
This campaign was targeted at signing up resellers to resell remote access equipment to businesses. The goal of this campaign was to sign up 50 resellers. It was wildly successful with more than 700 resellers signing up.
With the recent pandemic and forced work-at-home directives, this concept still resonates. Here are four tips to keep in mind when crafting messages.
- Focus on the persona that will ultimately benefit from your offering – In this example, the campaign focused on the employee – not the reseller or the business that would need to buy and install the equipment.
- Create an emotional connection – Back in those days, you couldn’t work from home. You had to dress up for work and use the data/files that resided on an internal server, not he cloud for it hadn’t been invented yet. Having the ability to not dress up and commute to an office but still do your work was a big deal and people wanted it.
- Use humor – People like to laugh and nowadays will share amusing content with co-workers, family, and friends. At the time, the creative for this campaign was clever and eye-catching.
- Don’t focus on product features or technology
The technology you use impresses no one. The experience you create with it is what matters.
Don’t “set it and forget it”
Last but not least, review your brand story, promotional messages, and sales messages at least two times per year to see if they are still resonating. If messages don’t continue to resonate or if the market dramatically changes, revisit the exercise.
COVID-19 has significantly changed many markets. Now is the perfect time to revisit you market, messages, and company positioning.