Studio Ostendo operates in multiple creative fields including photography, design, and education.
Crafting a compelling brand story is a difficult task. How do you succinctly convey your brand's identity, unique value proposition, and beliefs in a way that resonates with your target audience? How do you make your product or service stand out? And how do you ensure that your brand message is consistent and cohesive, especially with multiple content creators working on your behalf? The answer lies in your brand messaging.
When you can effectively communicate your brand in clear, powerful language, you can connect with your audience and convert them into loyal customers.
Unfortunately, many brands lack a solid brand messaging framework. This results in unconvincing value propositions, vague selling points, and weak messaging across their marketing materials. But with our simple brand messaging framework and free interactive PDF template, you can avoid this fate. Whether you need to refine your current messaging or start from scratch, our exercise will enable you to tell your brand story with confidence and clarity.
Your content and messaging are a reflection of your brand story, even if you're not aware of it. To create the most impact, you must tell your story consistently across all channels and every piece of content.
However, if you ask five different people on your team to describe your brand, you may get five different answers. Without a shared understanding of your brand, your content is likely to be disjointed. This is where brand messaging comes in. By clearly articulating who you are, what you do, and how you do it in simple and memorable language, you make it easier for your team to talk about your brand consistently.
With this foundation, you can ensure that every piece of communication, whether it's your website's homepage, sales brochures, or product packaging, is aligned and therefore effective.
Brand messaging architecture starts at the top and flows through three primary aspects:
The brand messaging framework we recommend is carefully designed to create a cohesive and effective message. It starts with the tagline, which is the big idea, and flows down to the value proposition, explaining what you do, and the brand messaging pillars, which describe how you do it. Each element is intentionally crafted to support and strengthen the others, resulting in a consistent message across all touchpoints.
Furthermore, regardless of where people are in the buyer's journey, your brand messaging always offers a way into your brand story. By providing a clear and simple message, you make it easier for your audience to engage with your brand and understand what sets you apart.
To establish a strong foundation for your brand messaging, it's essential to define your Brand Core. This comprises your brand's core principles, which define your identity and beliefs. Without this, it's challenging to communicate and act consistently. To get started, we recommend downloading our Brand Core workbook below. This resource will help you identify your brand's purpose, vision, mission, and values, enabling you to align your messaging with your brand's core principles.
Determining your niche and unique selling proposition is essential to creating effective brand messaging. This information will shape all levels of your messaging. To identify your niche, conduct market research and thorough competitive analysis. (If you’re new to competitive analysis, check out our step-by-step guide for completing a competitive analysis.)
After you’ve done your research and identified your positioning, it’s helpful to create a one-sentence description that explains what sets you apart from the competition. Branding expert Marty Neumeier recommends this template:
Before you go too far, download your free brand messaging template with the short form in this article.
To create an effective brand messaging framework, it's helpful to start with your value proposition. This statement explains the functional and emotional benefits of your product or service and why people should choose you. It's the core of who you are and what you do. The XYZ template, developed by Steve Blank, is a simple way to articulate your value proposition. It includes the problem your product or service solves, your solution, and the unique benefits you offer. By clearly defining your value proposition, you can ensure that your messaging pillars and tagline ladder up effectively.
Think of your value proposition as a quick pitch to promote your brand, which is often showcased as the introductory statement on a homepage. Ensure that you present your value proposition effectively because it will echo across all of your brand materials, whether directly on the website or indirectly in your blog articles.
To create an excellent value proposition, identify all the benefits, both emotional and functional, and gradually refine them until you arrive at a concise statement. Write a long paragraph to outline your value proposition and then revise it repeatedly to distill it into a few sentences.
Your tagline is a great opportunity to showcase your brand's positioning and value proposition in a concise, catchy phrase. Take Home Depot's tagline, for example, "You can do it. We can help." It effectively captures their brand's focus on empowering DIYers.
When crafting your tagline, focus on using few words while still conveying the right emotions. Consider what you want people to feel when they read it. You can also find inspiration from great examples of taglines used by brands in various industries.
Brand messaging pillars are a vital component of your brand messaging and a valuable tool for content creators. Essentially, they are the three to five primary themes, benefits, or selling points that differentiate your brand from the rest.
When crafting your messaging, it's crucial to identify your three key selling points and the supporting talking points. One advantage of this exercise is that by condensing them into brief talking points, you can pinpoint catchy phrases or keywords that you can integrate into all of your content, whether it's product packaging or a social media ad.
Tip: Sometimes, you may have multiple selling points. In that case, prioritize your differentiators or consider incorporating those points into others.
Take a final pass to tweak your brand messaging:
Tip: If you're struggling to choose between taglines or versions of your value prop, consider A/B testing them through Facebook ads. It's a cost-effective way to quickly gain insights into what resonates with your audience.
Finally, make sure to document your complete brand messaging hierarchy so that your team can visualize how it all fits together. To illustrate this, let's take a look at what the brand messaging for a clothing brand like Everlane might look like. Everlane focuses on producing ethically made wardrobe essentials that are high-quality.
Once you have your well-articulated brand messaging, it’s time to put it to use.
Start by introducing your brand messaging to your team and making sure that everyone understands it. To maintain consistency in your content, it's important to have brand guidelines. If you don't have them, you can follow our guide to create them.
Whenever you produce content, it's crucial to ensure it aligns with your brand's narrative. We recommend brainstorming content ideas based on your messaging pillars, as a single pillar can provide a wealth of content. To illustrate, suppose you're a cookie company with "distinct flavors" as one of your unique selling points. In that case, you might create:
To ensure the effectiveness of your messaging, it's important to deliver the right message at the right time in the buyer's journey. To achieve this, you can create a buyer's journey map that helps identify gaps in your content and clarify your messaging. Additionally, developing personas can help you understand your target audience and craft messaging that resonates with them. Check out our guide to creating buyer personas and mapping the buyer's journey for more tips on creating effective messaging.
It's important to strike the right tone when writing copy for your brand messaging. You don't want to be too forceful or try to sell too early in the buyer's journey, but you can still find opportunities to guide people towards making a purchase. Check out our tips for writing compelling copy that will help you engage with your audience and move them closer to becoming customers.
Beyond writing and social media posts, there are plenty of ways to tell your brand story. The more approaches you take, and execute well, the better your story will be. Remember that stories are told and remembered over time, so being consistent and disciplined in your brand messaging will yield the best results for your brand.
And if you need help at any stage, don’t be afraid to bring in experienced support. If that’s where you’re at, use our tips to find a creative agency, or hit us up. We’d love to help your brand succeed.