What Is Brand Messaging — and Why the Heck Does It Matter?
It seems like everyone is talking about messaging these days. Specifically, the need to get clear on what your messaging is and how to share it online. Which is great! But… what exactly is brand messaging, anyway? Is it the same thing as your brand voice, or your brand story? Is it your tagline? And why the heck does it matter?!
These are great questions to ask, especially if running a business built on authenticity and connection is important to you. The right brand messaging is crucial to connect with your audience, instead of just spewing word vomit at them (sorry for that mental image, but you get the picture).
Let’s figure out what brand messaging is once and for all, so you can start being more strategic with the words you use online and attract the right buyers and opportunities for your business.
First, what brand messaging isn’t
I hear a lot of people talk about how messaging is simply the way you talk to your audience… And I’m just going to come out and say it: that’s not quite right.
The truth? Messaging is more than just the words you use or the energy you bring to a conversation with leads or buyers. It’s even more than your brand voice, your values, or your niche.
Another misconception I hear a lot is that brand messaging is your slogan, tagline, or elevator pitch. And while your messaging is going to influence all of these things — and virtually everything you write for your business — they aren’t synonymous.
So… what is brand messaging?
If brand messaging had a fancy elevator pitch, it would be this: brand messaging is how you communicate your unique selling position (USP) to your key audiences.
Now, that’s just some pretty jargon-filled, marketing-textbook-type speak to say: brand messaging is the strategic part that underlines the words you choose to communicate your unique value to the people you want to serve in your business.
Okay, still kind of a mouthful. Let’s break it down, piece by piece.
“The Strategic Part”
Coming up with your brand messaging isn’t something you just do on the fly or something that changes from day-to-day. When I say your brand messaging needs to be strategic, I mean it needs to:
- Be connected to your overarching business goals
- Involve brand soul searching, including getting clear on exactly what you want out of your business
- Speak directly to the people you want to serve (aka your dream buyers, clients, or customers)
Even if you don’t realize it, having the wrong brand messaging (or, worse, not doing the brand messaging work in the first place) is standing in the way of where you are and where you want to be in your business.
If you don’t take time to do it right, it’s going to be infinitely harder for you to attract your dream buyers, establish the kind of life and business you want, and reach those big dreams keeping you motivated.
“Underlines the word you choose”
If you’re no stranger to copywriting, you already know that the words you choose to market your business are crucial. You need to make sure that you’re using words that accurately describe what your business does, who you work with, and what results you provide. And (spoiler alert) that’s where brand messaging comes in.
Brand messaging involves getting clear on the things that are driving people to look for your products or services (often referred to as “pain points” or, more simply, “problems”), and how you meet those needs. That means a whole lot of thinking about your dream buyers, what they want, what’s getting in their way, and how you bridge that gap.
And when it comes to the words you chose to communicate that value? You’ve got to prioritize clarity and consistency over cleverness.
I know, I know. *Groan* “But I WANT to be clever and creative with my copy, Megan!” To which I say, go for it, babe! But first, make sure it’s crystal clear. Your puns and Queer Eye gifs are fabulous… but they’re pointless if I can’t figure out how you can help me solve my biggest problems.
You also need to make sure that you’re using words that your target audience uses in their day-to-day lives to talk about those problems and solutions. You need to choose language they can relate to — otherwise, your website, social media feeds, and emails are just going to be filled with jargon that makes your dream buyers’ eyes glaze over.
Remember: just because you know what you’re talking about doesn’t mean that your audience does. And if they have no idea what it is you sell or how it can help them, they’re never going to hit that big shiny buy button.
Doing the brand messaging work will help you make sure you’re using the right words: words that are clear and actually used by your dream clients or customers.
“Communicate your unique value”
Finding your special niche is so important — but, no matter how much you’ve niched down in your industry, you’re never going to be the only person doing what you do. Making vegan dog treats wrapped in environmentally-friendly packaging is a pretty specific niche… but you’re still not the only one doing it!
Even Apple isn’t the only company that makes phones and computers, right? Yet as soon as we think of Apple’s products, we know what unique value they can bring to our lives. That’s because they have some pretty great brand messaging that makes their unique value crystal clear: they empower anybody to tap into their creativity and be the best version of themselves.
Sure, you don’t have Apple’s $1.8 billion marketing budget (don’t you wish you did?!). But, you do have the ability to craft magical brand messaging that communicates what makes you different from all the other options out there.
If you’re a web designer, what makes your approach to web design so different from all the other designers I could find with a quick Google search?
If you sell vegan beauty and skincare products, what can you give your buyers that Sephora can’t?
Your brand messaging needs to speak to your unique skills, talents, and ability to connect with your dream clients or customers and help them achieve the results they’re looking for.
“The people you want to serve in your business”
I used the term “serve” a lot because — let’s be honest — you got into business to do more than just make money. (Or, at least, I hope you did, because otherwise, you’re going to have a tough time growing your entrepreneurial mindset.) You’re a business owner because you want to serve a specific group of people by offering products or services that bring more joy, ease, or simplicity to their lives. Am I close?
At its core, your brand messaging is about connecting what you do with the problems your dream clients and customers are facing in their lives. Do you have a clear picture in your head of who that dream buyer is? If you don’t, you’re going to have a really hard time coming up with the messaging and language that speaks to them.
When I say ‘speak to them’, I don’t just mean words that make them understand what you’re saying. I mean the words that make them think you might be a secret mind reader, looking into your crystal ball and seeing their day-to-day struggles and desires.
When crafting brand messaging or writing copy with my clients, one of my biggest priorities is to help them get clear on their ‘One Reader’. That’s because writing becomes SO much easier when you’re writing to one specific person.
Think about how easy it is to write a quick email or text message to your BFF. That’s because you know her. You know what’s going on in her life. Heck, you probably know exactly what she’s drinking at the moment you text her. Getting clear on your ‘One Reader’ gives you that same ease because every time you go to write something for your business — whether it’s web content, a blog post, or a DM on Instagram — you have a clear idea in your head who you’re talking to.
Brand messaging helps you ensure that the language you’re using to talk about your business attracts the right people because you’re painting a picture that resonates deeply with the people you want to serve. On the flip side, it’s going to repel the wrong people for your business. This way, you’re pre-qualifying clients that can pay your worth, avoiding customers who ask for refunds, or reducing churn on your membership.
Why is brand messaging important?
I’m going to be totally blunt with you: if you don’t have the right brand messaging, you are never going to be able to connect with and convert your dream clients or customers. That is the importance of brand messaging.
Without the right messaging for your business, you’re not clearly communicating the right things to the right people. And that means you’re going to be stuck working with people who don’t vibe with the way you run your business, working your butt off on projects that fail to pay your worth, or not getting any new leads because nobody can figure out what you do, who you do it for, and why it’s so important. And if they can’t figure that out, they’re going to hand over their hard-earned cash to somebody who communicates their value more clearly.
In short, if you’re not using the right brand messaging, you’re missing out on:
- Not just more leads but better ones: the ones who allow you to work on projects that bring you excitement and joy in your business while also paying you your worth
- Opportunities for growth in your revenue, visibility, and impact
- Purposeful work: the kind of work that got you buzzing and excited to start your business in the first place
- Partnerships with the right kind of people: people with the same values and ideas as you who also want to serve your target audience
- The ability to change the world with your unique gifts skills and talents
In other words… brand messaging is pretty darn important.
How do you start creating a brand messaging framework?
Your brand messaging is something that’s going to evolve over time. As you start serving different types of clients, as your business goals and personal values change, and as your skills and abilities develop, your messaging is going to have to change too.
Does that mean you should never get started? No, absolutely not!
If you don’t have a brand messaging guide or framework for your business right now, you’re doing yourself a disservice. If you’ve ever wondered why planning your content is so difficult, you struggle to write web content, or you’re constantly wondering what the heck to post on Instagram, it probably means something’s missing in your brand messaging.
How can you get started? I recommend starting with four key elements to a brand messaging framework. Your vision statement, values, and other parts of your brand strategy can come later. Instead, focus on the four elements that help you get crystal clear on what you do, who you do it for, and why it’s important:
- Your Why (aka your story)
- Your One Reader (aka your dream client or customer)
- What makes you unique (aka your brand positioning)
- Your Inspiration
These are the specific elements that I work through with my 1:1 clients to help them come up with the best brand messaging for their business and their tribe. If you’d want more guidance, you can download my Brand Messaging Workbook, which explains why each of the four elements is so important, shows you some real-world examples, and gives you prompts and space to reflect on how these elements show up in your own business.
Whether you’re a business newbie or have been in the entrepreneur game for years, it doesn’t matter: everyone needs crystal clear clarity on their brand messaging. It’s just as important as discovering the right visual identity for your brand: while your visual brand may be the pretty face you put out into the world, your brand messaging is the personality underneath.
Once you have these four elements pinpointed, it’s going to be easier for you to do the things that have been really bugging you in your business: finally writing your elevator pitch, coming up with web content for your new service, or writing engaging social media content. Most importantly, knowing these details is going to make it easier for you to connect with the people you feel most driven to serve and sell to them with ease, without it feeling sleazy or awkward.
And man does that clarity feel good, am I right?
Have any more questions about brand messaging? Want to share your positioning statement with me, or get my feedback on other ideas? Drop me a comment below, and I’ll answer them!
Meet the Host
Welcome! I’m Megan Taylor — copywriter for online entrepreneurs, bookworm, and founder of The Copy Template Shop. I believe that anyone can write strong copy, and I’m here to teach you how to write words that sell your online offers while prioritizing real connection, serving your audience, and simply being who you are.
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