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What is Brand Messaging, and Why Does it Matter?

What is Brand Messaging, and Why Does it Matter?

Brand messaging refers to a company's specific messages to consumers about its brand, products, and services. Effective brand messaging is critical for companies to reduce noise in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Why Brand Messaging Matters

Brand messaging matters because it shapes consumer perceptions and influences purchase decisions. Let's explore some key reasons why brand messaging is so important:

  • Builds awareness and recognition. Distinct, consistent branding in messaging helps consumers recognise and recall your brand. This drives growth through improved visibility.
  • Communicate your purpose. Messaging conveys what your brand stands for and why consumers should care. It’s how you spark interest in what you offer.
  • Differentiates your brand. Messaging establishes what makes you unique compared to alternatives. This centres your competitive advantage in consumers' minds.
  • Generates engagement and loyalty. Compelling messaging forges emotional connections with your audience, turning them into passionate brand advocates.
  • Provides clarity. Brand messaging minimises customer confusion about your offerings through clear, focused communication.

In essence, brand messaging fuels brand equity – one of the most valuable assets for any business. When done right, it becomes a key driver of sustainable success.

Core Elements of Impactful Brand Messaging

Consistent Brand Message

Crafting on-target brand messaging means incorporating several key elements:

Simplicity

Keep it simple. Basic, easy-to-grasp messaging has more stopping power than complex branding full of industry jargon. Avoid information overload.

Relevance

Messaging must directly address target consumers' needs, pains, and desires. Fully understand your audience and what matters to them.

Consistency

Stick to core messages consistently across touchpoints like ads, websites, social posts, emails, etc. Consistent repetition cements brand recognition.

Emotional Appeal

Tap into emotions – messaging focused solely on functional traits falls flat. Spark feelings to make your brand relatable.

Distinctiveness

Cut through the noise with unique, differentiated messaging. Prevent blending into the sea of sameness with a distinct brand identity.

Values and Purpose

Infuse messaging with your brand values, personality, and purpose. Consumers increasingly support brands that are aligned with their beliefs.

Now, let's explore some leading brands doing an exceptional job with messaging.

Top Brand Messaging Examples and What You Can Learn

Apple Marketing Strategy

Certain brands stand out from the pack with extremely compelling messaging that perfectly encapsulates their mission and ethos. Let's break down some stellar examples and critical takeaways for improving your brand messaging:

1. Apple

The famed maker of MacBooks, iPhones, and other sleek electronics has crafted masterful branding focused on nonconformity, creative thinking, and innovation.

Key messages:

  • Think different. Apple positions itself as a challenger brand for the visionaries and early adopters who value innovation and pushing boundaries.
  • Seamless integration. Apple's messaging touts how its products work fluidly together for convenience and productivity.
  • Creativity unleashed. Branding empowers people to maximise creativity, self-expression, and big ideas.

Takeaways:

  • Celebrate your brand personality. Apple's messaging oozes its identity as sophisticated, avant-garde, and empowering.
  • Spotlight emotional benefits. Messaging targets people's passion for creativity over tech specs.

2. Nike

The athletic brand builds messaging around being the fuel for human potential and athletic greatness.

Key messages:

  • Just do it. Aspirational messaging inspires action and Self-betterment.
  • Potential unlocked. Branding centres on being the gear to push athletic performance further.
  • Hard work and determination. Messaging targets the grit and resilience needed to achieve dreams.

Takeaways:

  • Lofty aspirations. Soar beyond physical products towards the higher purpose you fulfil.
  • Consumer-centric. Spotlight what your brand does for people over what you simply sell.

3. Coca-Cola

The sweet soda giant couples its beloved taste with branding focused on joy, refreshment and authentic Americana.

Key messages:

  • Open happiness. Messaging links Coke to uplifted feelings of joy and optimism.
  • Taste the feeling. Branding emphasises enjoying Coke itself over mere thirst-quenching.
  • It's an American story. Messaging taps into sentimental notions of home, family, and national nostalgia.

Takeaways:

  • Sensory details. Incorporate specific textures, smells, and sounds that match your product.
  • Feel-good vibes. Messaging high in emotional imagery forges stronger connections.

As you can see, impactful messaging flows from a crystal-clear brand identity. When you nail these core facets, communicating your purpose and value becomes more straightforward.

How to Audit and Improve Your Current Brand Messaging

Clear Brand Message Lush Branding

Ready to analyse and enhance your brand messaging? Here is a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Review Current Brand Messaging

Start by thoroughly assessing current messaging across channels like your website, ads, product packaging, emails, etc. Document the following attributes:

  • Existing taglines or slogans
  • Keyword phrases and messaging employed
  • General themes and brand personality are conveyed

Compare messaging usage across channels – is it fragmented or consistent? Compile examples of all messaging into an audit document.

Step 2: Extract Consumer Insights

Next, gather both qualitative and quantitative consumer insights into:

  • Motivations for purchasing your product category
  • Desires, problems, and priorities your target audience has
  • Perceptions of your brand compared to competitors

Leverage data sources like online reviews, support tickets, surveys, interviews and brand tracking studies—document key findings.

Step 3: Define Your Core Brand Identity

Analyse research learnings to crystallise precisely what your brand represents at its very core by asking:

  • What does our brand ultimately offer consumers at a fundamental emotional level?
  • What core human needs, desires or problems do we fulfil?
  • What should our brand personality embody?

Synthesise consumer learning into a concise brand identity statement to guide messaging.

Step 4: Craft Updated Core Messages

With your brand identity clarified, craft or refine 3-5 core brand messages conveying what you offer target consumers and why they should care.

Ensure messaging checks the following boxes:

  • Focused – directly reflects brand identity
  • Emotional – appeals to motivations and desires
  • Simple – easily understandable
  • Distinctive – separates you from competitors
  • Consistent – aligns across channels

Test messaging internally and externally to identify the most compelling options.

Step 5: Audit and Update All Branded Assets

With finalised core brand messaging in hand, conduct an expansive audit of every consumer-facing branded asset, including:

  • Website copy
  • Product packaging
  • Printed collateral
  • Email templates
  • Advertisements
  • Sales collateral
  • Social media profiles
  • External presentations

Adjust all messaging to reflect updated core brand messaging – consistency drives effectiveness tightly.

This five-step approach allows you to hone brand messaging that genuinely resonates with target consumers and fuels sustainable business growth. But brand messaging refinement continues beyond here – regularly revisit messaging as your brand evolves.

Now, dive deeper into specific messaging strategies and formats you can leverage.

Key Brand Messaging Strategies and Tactics

Personal Branding Examples Messaging

Many techniques exist for imbuing messaging with maximum influence. Walk through both broader strategies and specific message formats you can mix and match:

Emotional Messaging

As explored earlier, rational facts alone don’t change minds – emotion does. However, choosing the right emotional triggers requires A/B testing messages for impact.

First, consider potential emotional frames like:

  • Achievement – progress, determination
  • Enjoyment – fun, excitement
  • Security – safety, trust
  • Fear – uncertainty, anxiety
  • Nostalgia – fond memories
  • Belonging – relationships, acceptance

Then, test message variants focused on different emotions to see which engages your audience most. Track conversions to quantify messaging performance.

Emotional messaging also intersects strongly with storytelling…

Storytelling

Stories humanise brands on an intimate level. To weave compelling stories into messaging:

  • Spotlight specific people, not just your brand. Bring personas like customer profiles to life.
  • Show authentic experiences that readers relate to on a human level.
  • Share the journey people go through with your brand for the entire narrative arc.
  • Embrace multimedia formats – video, images, audio – for immersive stories.

Story-led messaging builds empathy and connection on new levels.

User-Generated Content

User-generated reviews, testimonials and visuals like social posts showcase authentic experiences with your brand. Pull out compelling examples for messaging, with permission.

Based on fundamental interactions, this tactic leverages others to speak on your brand’s behalf. Pull quotes highlight specific benefits voiced first-hand by past customers.

User content weaves vital social proof into messaging.

Now, let’s explore some standout message formats to employ:

FAQs

The familiar FAQ format phrased as questions directly from consumers lower barriers to engagement. Lead with users' most common questions about your offerings to address them intuitively.

FAQs speak right to the consumer in their voice. Include these across your site, as well as in ads and other assets.

Social Proof Statistics

Did you know social proof can boost conversions by over 300%? That explains why brands prominently flaunt metrics backing claims in messaging like:

  • “Join over 5 million users who trust us.”
  • “Rated 4.8 stars by over 8,000 customers.”
  • “Used by over 75% of Fortune 500 companies.”
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Staggering stats act as peer endorsements for your brand’s validity and quality.

Comparison Charts

Position your brand against alternatives through at-a-glance comparison charts. Use visuals to spotlight the unique strengths you offer compared to competitors.

Drive competitive differentiation home via clear summary tables explicitly focused on areas your excel in.

Infographics

Blend visual storytelling and bite-sized data into engaging infographic formats perfect for social media and messaging reuse.

Fun graphics that creatively incorporate statistics make messages infinitely more shareable. They also improve comprehension of crucial details at a glance.

As covered, numerous options exist for crafting brand messaging that truly performs. Let’s walk through bringing key messaging to life across critical channels.

Executing Brand Messaging by Consumer Touchpoint

Brand Promise Example

While core messaging should remain consistent, adaptation tailored to the unique nature of each consumer touchpoint drives effectiveness.

Walk through opportunities with core platforms:

Website

Your website often provides the first impression for consumers when they discover your brand. Ensure home page messaging immediately answers their burning questions:

  • What exactly do you offer?
  • What core problems do you solve?
  • Why choose you over alternatives?

Emphasise scannability through succinct paragraphs, bold subheads, bulleted lists, embedded video summaries, and ample white space.

Reinforce messaging via FAQs, customer testimonials and comparison charts. Create tailored pages elaborating on your brand purpose and values behind products.

Product Packaging

Product packaging pulls double duty – selling consumers at the point of transaction while tangibly representing your brand.

Condense top brand differentiators, consumer benefits and emotional appeals into succinct key messages on packaging. Support claims through an explanation of proprietary technologies and ingredients.

Evocative branding and photography should align seamlessly with the messaging tone and personality. Include links to video summaries and landing pages for additional details.

Advertisements

Ads must accomplish the monumental task of capturing wandering attention and communicating branded value – all within seconds.

Hook consumers instantly by leading with your most compelling emotional benefit or brand differentiator. Support through concise explanation and social proof.

Experiment across ad formats mixing messaging elements like:

  • Punchy statistics
  • Aspirational captions
  • Customer testimonials
  • Comparison visuals
  • Prominent branding

Continuously test ad variants against brand KPIs.

Email Marketing

Email provides a crucial direct channel for reinforcing brand messaging post-purchase. However, consumers face overflowing inboxes, so subject lines make or break the engagement.

Pull readers in with subject line previews speaking right to their needs. Continue relationship-building through messaging that aligns with your brand personality and focuses on customer value.

Curate a mix of announcements, special offers, industry insights, new services, and seasonal content while keeping your brand at the forefront of your mind. Cut verbosity – mobile-friendliness is critical.

Social Media

Social platforms present a massive opportunity for brands if leveraged strategically, but organic competition for attention is fierce.

Stand out by tailoring messaging to each platform’s unique style, strengths and audience mix. Adopt the conversational tone native to social environments.

Spotlight brand purpose and values are as important as products. Generate engagement through multimedia content, real-time interaction, user polls and emotional storytelling over pure selling.

Monitor metrics like shares, comments and clicks that reveal content resonation. Talk with, not just with, followers.

As shown, interpreting core brand messaging for specific mediums amplifies impact dramatically. Align inward and outward-facing teams on centralised messaging to maintain consistency.

Now, let’s tackle the critical exercise of measuring messaging effectiveness.

Measuring Brand Messaging Performance

With messaging live across channels, brands must quantify results to pinpoint what's working, what’s not, and where to take things next.

However, brands often make the crucial mistake of measuring vanity metrics like social media followers and website visitors rather than actual business impact.

Instead, tie messaging performance directly to these core metrics using appropriate analytics platforms:

Paid Advertising

  • Click through rates
  • Cost per conversion
  • Conversion rates
  • ROI

Email Marketing

  • Open rates
  • Click through rates
  • Bounce rates
  • List growth

Web Traffic

  • Bounce rates
  • Time on site
  • Pages per session

Online Reviews & Surveys

  • Brand sentiment
  • NPS Scores

Sales

  • Revenue growth
  • Average order value
  • Repeat purchasers

Proper brand messaging measurement provides actionable insights for continuous optimisation. Run A/B message tests to guide future improvements.

With frameworks for developing, executing and measuring messaging explored, let’s tackle some lingering brand messaging questions.

Refreshing Brand Messaging Over Time

Apple Brand Messaging Example

Brand messaging is not a one-and-done task. To stay relevant, messaging should evolve in tune with shifting consumer perspectives, new competitive forces, and changes within your organisation.

Treat messaging as a dynamic asset requiring ongoing tune-ups. Here are best practices for refreshing messaging over time:

Keep Core Identity Intact

While messaging executions may pivot, anchors like your central brand purpose and personality should remain relatively fixed. Major overhauls risk confusing audiences. Build upon proven messaging that underscores enduring differentiators.

Update Based on Campaign Learnings

Run regular A/B messaging tests via advertising channels to see what resonates best with current consumers. Let data guide edits – double down on highest performing messages.

Validate with Qualitative Research

Quantify messaging reactions through systematic consumer research. Use focus groups and interviews to gauge the resonance of prospective messages. Ask probing questions to spur reimagining.

Match to New Product Directions

Evolving business strategies call for messaging realignment. Introducing new products or retreating from others necessitates messaging shifts explaining expansion while maintaining continuity.

Stay on the Pulse of Competitor Messaging

Frequently analyse competitors’ evolving messaging approaches to spot gaps where your current messaging falls flat. Pursue areas others neglect through targeted messaging pivots.

Connect Campaigns Holistically

Design integrated campaigns, making channel-spanning messaging feel cohesive vs disjointed. Unify messaging architectures across initiatives instead of operating in silos.

With vigilance towards the above best practices, brands can keep messaging feeling timely rather than dated. Next, let’s explore potential messaging refresh triggers in more detail.

Key Triggers to Reassess Brand Messaging

Changing market dynamics and business needs should signal when existing messaging stalls and requires an upgrade through the informed strategies above.

Watch for these critical triggers as cues to reexamine messaging:

1. Missing sales targets: Consistent failure to hit revenue goals over multiple quarters hints that messaging no longer convinces customers. Declining profits necessitate messaging rework.

2. Negative customer feedback: Surveys, interviews, and online reviews spotlight pain points and desires messaging fail to satisfy. Pay attention to constructive criticism.

3. Poor campaign performance: Low open rates, clicks, recall, and conversions suggest out-of-touch messaging, limiting channel engagement.

4. Competitor advancements: Rivals launching improved offerings backed by differentiated messaging should prompt self-reflection on current messaging gaps.

5. Major internal changes: Entering new markets, introducing revamped products, restructuring business units, or leadership changes represent pivotal times to reposition messaging.

Conclusion & Next Steps

Brand messaging sits at the very core of consumer relationships and commercial success. When crafted thoughtfully through nuanced strategies covered here – distilling emotional resonance, narrative framing, and channel personalisation – messaging evolves into a valuable asset that pays dividends across the entire customer lifecycle.

Now, it’s time to make branding breakthroughs happen for your organisation. Start by:

  • Auditing current messaging – Map out everything in-market across mediums. Look objectively at how well messaging aligns with core brand identity today.
  • Quantifying performance – Connect messaging to concrete business KPIs like sales volume or email clickthrough rates. Establish clear benchmarks to upgrade.
  • Testing message variants – Brainstorm fresh message alternatives informed by consumer insights. A/B test new variants against existing messaging through campaigns. Refine based on impact.
  • Work cross-functionally – Pull colleagues across teams into a workshop to define ideal brand messaging moving forward based on individual expertise.

FAQs on Brand Messaging

Still have some lingering questions about crafting compelling brand messaging? Here, I answer some frequently asked questions:

How often should brand messaging be updated?

Brand messaging shouldn’t change dramatically from year to year. But aim to make minor refreshes every 6-12 months based on:
Consumer research: Evolving needs and preferences
Competitor messaging: Gaps or differentiation opportunities
Campaign results: Top performing message themes to amplify and test further
Business strategy: New products, features or target segments to address

What’s better – emotional or functional messaging?

It’s not either/or – the most persuasive messaging artfully blends both emotional and functional elements aligned with audience needs.
Lead with the emotional benefits of fulfilling target audience desires, problems and identities. Support these through logical reinforcement of helpful features and concrete value gained.
Layer the rational “proof points” into emotional messaging for maximum motivation and believability.

Should brand messaging change by region or audience?

While core identity should remain globally consistent, nuanced tactical adaptations help resonate better across geographies and cultures.

How can I make messaging more inclusive?

Reflect all your target consumers by ensuring messaging and visuals feature diversity across gender, race, age, ability level, family status and cultural background.
Use inclusive language free from stereotypes. Feature a mosaic of communities relevant to your consumers without tokenisation or exploitation.
Highlight accessibility accommodations and how you facilitate participation for all. This welcoming tone helps foster a greater sense of belonging.

What brand messaging metrics indicate poor performance?

Falling sales or website conversions
Declining open/click rates for emails
Dropping ad recall or likeability
The lower website time spent/pages per visit
Worsening online sentiment or NPS
Fading social followers and engagement

Photo of author

Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is an award-winning creative director and brand strategist with over 15 years of experience building memorable and influential brands. As Creative Director at Inkbot Design, a leading branding agency, Stuart oversees all creative projects and ensures each client receives a customised brand strategy and visual identity.

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