Hone your brand message with a niche offering

Can you enjoy the benefits of big business results with a small marketing budget? Absolutely! The key is to refine your brand message by following the proven principles in this article.

What we will cover

Finding your why

Most companies focus on what they do, and for as long as they do, they will be beaten on price or compete with bigger businesses and their larger advertising or marketing budgets.

So if you are getting squeezed for price by the smaller guy, and getting drowned out by bigger businesses, then how can you compete?

You have likely heard of Simon Sinek and his golden circle, in summary he says: “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.”

Finding your ‘why’ taps into issues around identity and belief which are not always comfortable to think and talk about, however they give purpose to you and demonstrate meaning or value to your clients and customers.

Clients come to Vu and ask us “how can we…?”, and in order to answer that and market you to your customers, assuming we know the how, the real question is, “why should they?” – in order to stand out from the crowd, you have to know your purpose and offering.

By discovering your ‘why’ you can connect on a very deep, primal level with your audience through your marketing stories. Only when your ‘why’ has been revealed can you create an authentic brand message.

Vision and mission

By building a vision based around your core beliefs, identity and purpose, you break free of the need to compete on price.

You also have a model you can use to guide any future business decisions, and will get great people supporting you.

Simply speaking, the vision is the big picture. It is your business projected into the future.  Your mission statement translates that vision into action. 

Why is this bit relevant? With something to support and somewhere to go, this highlights the “who” you are helping, and only by knowing your value and the person you want to speak to can you begin to speak to them effectively.

Incorporating brand message into your branding

Often this is where our clients start, coming to us with a new idea or a logo, but this is really moving into the “how”, you can see that only by discovering what is different about you, revealing your true vision and creating your mission statement, are you in a position to build or refine a brand.

That inital discovery is vital for decision making, so now we know, refine what we have, is there any aspect of your brand that is at odds with your vision? These need to be addressed to bring consistency to your brand.

Theres many areas that brand touches, from visuals to interactions, but we are going to focus on the messaging, so you can translate your offering into a compelling story.

Composing your story

Having a powerful vision, strong mission statement and consistent brand is still not enough on its own. To hone your brand message you need to know how to compose a compelling story from this foundation.

As we cover in full in our Branding Training Course, there are 6 key principles to story composition and you will see all of these at play in the marketing messages of top brands like Apple.

The first three principles are based around positioning you and your client. You need to:

  • Identify your target customer by picking a persona you know and choose one clear goal for them to achieve.
  • Identify the external and internal problems holding them back from their goal. Dig deep to discover their deep hopes and fears (e.g. to be a competent provider for their family).
  • Position your company as the guide. How can you help your customer reach their goal?

The second three principles are focused on the narrative of the story: the action.

  • Target a powerful end goal and break it down into simple steps, helping your customer to see the journey they need to take to get there.
  • State one clear call to action. What is the one thing your customer needs to do to achieve their goal?
  • Show them the reward for success and the consequences for failure.

One way to ensure you are tapping into the real value your company can provide is to take a look back at your previous success stories – your customer testimonials.

Gathering and refining testimonials

Testimonials are highly regarded as a source of social proof but many companies fail to extract maximum juice from them. If you ask the right questions, testimonials are a potent way to use your clients’ stories to develop your own.

We have found that the most effective process for extracting nuggets of gold from testimonials is to arrange a recorded interview with your most loyal customers and ask them the following 3 questions:

  • What did you originally come to us for? This prompts them to recall their initial pain points.
  • Why did you choose us? This can help to reinforce your USP or discover new ones.
  • Why do you continue to use us? Here is where you can get some intelligence on results. Make sure you ask for specific stats where possible.

Revisit your story and brand identity in light of this new information to tighten your marketing messages even further.

Spreading the word

Once you have honed your brand message using the above processes, it becomes much easier to craft the right kind of content for the marketing channel you are using. Whether you are Tweeting a company update, hosting a podcast or writing a blog post, you will be able to align the narrative and design to your brand story.

Talk to the Tribe

Although the principles of refining your message are fairly simple, the process can be a long and winding one with the need for plenty of honest soul-searching.  There’s very little chance you have all the answers to the above or the time to sit down and action it.

At Vu you can book a consultancy session to help you dig deeper into these elements and build a plan for developing your brand message, come along to training session or you can look at ongoing support with the tribe.

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