When you’re creating or updating messaging, immediately diving into brainstorming new taglines and positioning statements might seem like a good place to start. To get brand messaging right, and to make be impactful, your first step should be researched.
Thorough research will inform your messaging strategy and help you create or refine more impactful long-term brand messaging. Start by focusing on these three areas to gather the information you need:
Conducting competitor research is critical. While many marketers understand the importance of conducting research, many tend to overlook competitor research to understand how your competitors’ positioning tells their stories. But with this competitive information, you can identify the key differentiators that distinguish your organization and offerings and effectively tell your own brand story. Competitive research also allows you to think strategically about what elements of your messaging to update, as well as how and why.
Here are the key aspects of competitive research:
- Target Competitors: Narrow your competitor list down to about three to five companies. If you include more than five companies on your list, the research could become unnecessarily time-consuming and unorganized. Choosing three to five primary competitors is a good place to start.
- Website: After listing your main competitors, visit their websites. A company website usually includes all the information you need to know about their messaging and organization. Explore their landing pages, especially ones that include anything about what they offer and their values. Landing pages will often give insights into what messaging techniques and strategies your competitors are using in their content to give them a competitive edge.
- Brand Elements: Take note of the various brand messaging elements used in your competitors’ messaging. Logo, color theme, font and more are all messaging elements that can provide an edge.
While competitive research is important during the initial phase of message development, it is equally important to continue to conduct this research regularly. Industries, markets, customer needs ad behaviors change frequently, which can often require updated messaging.
It is also important for your brand messaging to be impactful and connect with your target audience. If it does not connect with them, they are not likely to pay attention to what you have to say or engage with you long-term. Here are some considerations when starting target audience research:
How will you collect feedback from your target audience? There are a variety of ways to do this, but focusing on these areas will allow you to gather the most valuable information:
- Surveys are a simple and valuable way to receive feedback. Customers are usually honest when contributing feedback, but there is always room for bias. Ensure your sample is large enough to address any potential biases.
- You can also conduct interviews with your target audience. This is ideal for current clients. Ask them key questions that will be most useful to your messaging, including their likes, dislikes, what resonated most and what didn’t. Ask them to react to specific messaging examples.
Consider all audiences. Your target audience is not one singular person. It includes clients, buyers, prospects and even lost opportunities. All these groups of people can provide helpful perspectives on your current messaging.
Your internal team can be invaluable for vetting proposed messaging. This is especially true for employees who are working in the field and interacting with prospects and customers regularly. They will know firsthand what your audiences are looking for and whether your messaging will make an impact. After you have implemented a messaging change, continually seek feedback from these internal resources. They will tell you what is and is not working.
Message development can take a great deal of time and effort. Therefore, it is important to create the most impactful brand messaging you can. Integrating all three research elements into your message development process will help ensure your messaging resonates with your audience, attracts their attention and drives them to action. Are you ready to develop your brand messaging framework but need help? Register for Marketing Pro Series’ Create Better Brand Messaging for Better Business Outcomes course. This course guides you, step-by-step, through how to lay a foundation for your brand that’s cohesive, resonant and enduring, driving action from your targets and better business outcomes.