We're lifting up the curtain a lil and revealing how we conduct our client messaging workshops. It should bestow a few nuggets of goodness that up your brand's end game.
Why the hell you should give a damn
We pitch our Messaging Projects as a standalone body of work in itself. It gets a few raised eyebrows and requires a bit of explaining as to why messaging cannot be overlooked as a layer in your brand.
You may get customers through the door with stellar SEO and a beautifully designed website, but it's the messaging pieces that push conversion.
If they don't resonate with what your saying, or you're not communicating your value properly - then your customers won't get it. Good messaging turns your brand's personality and positioning into words. Words that evoke emotion and trigger action.
It also speaks to your brand consistency. If your brand is quirky, fun, professional then your messaging should be too. Consistency is key. Consistency is key. One more time? Consistency is key to a successful brand. So don't let messaging be your downfall.
Okay so what should messaging include?
So many concepts, ideas, questions that swirl around the idea of messaging:
- What do you broadly need to say?
- What specific concepts, features, solutions or ideas do you address?
- What hierarchy do you communicate each of these?
- How does this all fit together into your brand story?
- How do you communicate your brand personality through your messaging?
- What is the tone?
- Do you have messaging rules? Dos and dont's of what you can and can't say, how you say, how a sentence is structured.
The biggest challenge? Less is more
The hardest thing is distilling everything you could say, into what you should say - aka the important stuff your customers resonate with.
Too much copy is dense, and we all know people don't have time to read these days. They scan your content in a matter of seconds before coming to a decision. So say it plain and with confidence.
1. Where do you start
Don't get bogged down before you begin. Start with your why statement (aka your biz & brand strategy) to find that messaging magic.
- Why are you are a business?
- Why should someone care?
- And how you do things differently?
These simple questions should push you closer to a few nuggets of gold about your business.
The 'ah ha' moments
And for the love of god, think outside the box! Push for a fresh way to consider these questions and be different. Hone in on the things that stand out as 'ah ha' moments. FYI there should be 1 x key theme that serves as the umbrella theme (typically your 1 x core why statement).
These should also be insights that revolve around your customer. At the end of the day, your customer is what this is all about.
To find these 'ah ha'-customer focused moments, we run a story time section of our workshop. Nuggets of messaging gold come through passion and general discussion rather than a direct Q&A. It just takes the right questions to get it out.
So we ask for stories on great interactions they've had with staff, customers, partners, successful times, happy moments, good feedback. Often it's the natural comments or phrases that our clients share verbatim that make for the best messaging insights.
2. Group your insights
Once you've got your answers down, start looking for common groupings or insights. They should be pretty obvious if everyone is on the same page about your business and brand strategy. There could be 5-10 key insight trends that are grouped together.
And a wham-bam boom - these common insights form the foundations of your messaging.
3. Defining your messaging hierarchy
Okay time to determine their hierarchy. People won't remember all 10 key messages. It's the 2 core ones that really hit!
There may be 10 things that are great, but you need to rally around a handful of them. Pick out the most meaningful to your business (which should also be the most meaningful to your customer). These are the right things to hone in on. We usually aim for 3-5 key messaging insights.
By picking out the top few, you can keep your communication simple, clear and cut through all the other bs content out in the world.
A few helpful takeaways
Does humour work in messaging?
Hmmmm broadly speaking humour is memorable for your brand. But your key statements shouldn't just be funny. They should actually communicate something great about your brand.
Sure the messages might be quirky & fun, but does the key point actually make it across? It can sound great but if it's not achieving the original goal of explaining your brand then what's the point?
Word vomit is the way to go
These initial messaging workshops aren't about reaching a clear point or decision then and there. It's about word vomiting all your ideas, concepts & good times; getting em down on paper; and then dissecting them later.
Test, test and test
Put your messaging in front of other colleagues, industry professionals and customers. You live and breathe this everyday, but they don't. So see if they get it. Are you saying the right thing and is it evoking the emotions you'd expect?
The messaging tentacles reach far and wide
Sure you could hire a copywriter and they could punch out some content without a messaging strategy. But without that piece you're missing core insights into what you're saying, your key messages, tone of voice, personality and how not to say it.
Messaging is the raw source material for your brand. It should permeate everything else - from how your staff speak with customers, to the way you communicate via emails, posters, brochures, your website and everything in between.