What is Your Brand Saying to Your Customers? How to Tailor Your Brand Voice So Customers Will Listen
Today’s content heavy marketplace makes it challenging to break through the clutter. If your brand voice is not tailored to the needs of your target customers, then it’s falling on deaf ears. Your written content needs to garner the same attention and consistency that you give to the other elements of your brand presence. That’s why it’s critical to develop a clear, concise messaging platform that prompts prospective customers to take action.
Although it’s the most fundamental strategy in a well-developed marketing plan, many companies still struggle with messaging. They often lack the resources to give the project their full attention, so it ends up on the back burner. The truth is that getting your brand message right requires a multi-layered approach that involves a variety of stakeholders.
A good message will do two things for you: attract attention (brand awareness) and persuade your target audience that you’re offering the best solution (brand preference). Just as with anything else in marketing today, there’s a process to follow, a “message architecture” to use when building your brand message.
The entire process results in a single document that serves as a roadmap for all marketing efforts across your organization. We call it a Battle Card because it arms your employees with the ammunition they need to win in any situation. It provides salespeople with the right things to say and gives content specialists the right things to write. Because the messaging is based on what your customers care most about, they are more likely to listen.
Building the Battle Card
To begin building the battle card, you’ll need to align your key company strengths with the needs of your target customers. This information will help you to establish a strong foundation to build your message on.
Establish a Strong Foundation
Start with a deep dive into the attributes of your brand so that you can identify what sets you apart from the competition. To do that, you’ll have to answer the following questions:
- What are you “Best in the World” at providing? What are your products’ advantages?
- What gets a customer to switch from a competitor to you?
- Who do you WANT to have as customers that you do not yet have, and why?
- What segments are growing/declining, and how does that align with your customer base?
- What competitors are doing well, and how are they worthy of imitation?
- Which are doing poorly and why? What product/service gaps exist in your offering?
- What are some of your customer’s “Pain Points”?
- What is the core message to the market? Is it well understood? Is there consensus for this message within the company?
- What existing marketing programs do you have? What metrics do you have to show what works/doesn’t work?
- How does your pricing compare?
- How do you win business against competitors? How do you lose? What prevents you from getting an order during every meeting?
- What service lines and industry niches should be given priority and which should be de-emphasized in marketing spending? How will this change going forward?
- What is the overall action you want customers to take as a result of seeing an item (ask for a quote, ask for a demo, ask for literature, etc.)?
- Once you have the answers from your executive staff, you’ll need to validate them with others in your organization who deal directly with customers, such as sales and service. This helps to avoid misalignment of your message.
Any messaging project that doesn’t include customer interviews runs the risk of being biased. Customer interviews ensure that you’re connected to the market, and they give you tremendous insight into what your competitors are doing. These interviews form the core of any good message exercise because they provide you with the chance to ask questions about what “triggered” their purchase, and what would get them to switch. So few message platforms include the answers to these questions! But they’re critical for building a strong message architecture.
It is common to uncover misalignments among team members, and in some ways, that’s the point of the process. Recently we worked with a client to identify company strengths. We discovered that only two company stakeholders out of 10 said a particular company strength was very important to customers. That sparked a conversation that ended in a decision to make this strength a cornerstone of the value proposition. Finally, all team members were aligned on what message to take to the market.
Write down the things that you want customers to know about you or your product/service. These are your sales messages, and they should be infused into websites, literature, and customer conversations. To be effective, they need to be relevant, unique, and credible.
- Relevant – Your customers need to care about your sales messages, which is why the switch and trigger questions are supremely important. If you say quality but customers care about delivery, then your message is not relevant to them, and it will fail to get traction.
- Unique – Most companies say the same things, such as “we have quality products” and “we are experts in our industry.” To get beyond me-too marketing, you need to review your competitors’ websites and marketing materials. Understand their sales messages so you can say something different, or at least say it in a unique, quantifiable way. For one client, we discovered that they were more willing to manufacture in small quantities and able to do it much faster than larger competitors. That became their unique sales advantage.
- Credible – Don’t say you have the world’s greatest service if you don’t.
Customers can discern truth from hype. To make your messages believable, develop proof points for each sales message. The best proof points have numbers, such as, “our average delivery time is 45% faster than our leading competitor’s.”
The Value Proposition
Your value proposition, like a good elevator pitch, should be simple to recall and easy to give in a 20-second time frame. It should summarize and distill the results of your messaging research. Don’t say what you do; say what you do better.
The Promise of Success
Once you’ve done the challenging work of defining your sales messages and value proposition, it’s time to wrap them up in one bundle. Your brand promise is the value or experience your customers can expect to receive every single time they interact with your company. The more you can deliver on that promise, the stronger your brand value will be in the minds of your customers as well as your employees. Your brand promise should include the top three proof points or messaging pillars that back up your claims.
One Brand, One Promise, One Voice
It takes time and effort to build a compelling message structure that strengthens your brand equity. That’s why it’s so important that your employees fully understand the brand message and how to deliver it. Use the battle card for training and revisit it as needed. Going into a sales pitch without unity on the brand message is like going into battle without a weapon.
Preparing Our Clients for Combat
We’ve assisted many of our clients in the battle for a competitive voice in the marketplace. Our exclusive process of developing a compelling messaging platform provides them with all the tools they need to stand out among their competition.
One of our most recent success stories is with Metalcraft, a leading manufacturer of customized identification solutions for tracking needs. After expanding their presence in multiple industries with their RFID and asset tracking products, Metalcraft was looking to create a unified brand experience for their customers. Working directly with their marketing team and key customers, GGC led them through the process of tailoring their brand voice so customers would listen.
“With the help of Goldstein Group Communications, we developed a messaging platform that leverages our strengths and clearly differentiates us from the competition,” said Julia Deets, VP of marketing and customer experience. “Since the release of the new battle card, our employees are able to deliver the same message with every customer interaction. Ultimately with the messaging in place and our lead gen/digital marketing activities with GGC, we are experiencing a significant return on our marketing investment.”
What is your brand saying to your customers? Download our whitepaper to find out.