Developing a
Clear Message

By Martin Steinhobel

Content
Branding
Design

Now that you have a good understanding of the factors that impact your brand, and a good understanding of your target market, it is time to develop a clear and concise message.

Going through this process is valuable in-and-of itself and will help you and your team internalize and own the message you develop together. The more time you put into this exercise the more you will get out of it. It is also an iterative process which produces improvements over time; once you have this down, the ongoing adjustments will be much easier, and take a lot less time.

Remember, this is the time for you to rethink how you describe your business. Based on your research, you should have a clear understanding of the problem you are solving for your target market from their perspective. Let this inform how you move forward:

Company Description

Take the time to review how your competition and your hero companies describe themselves. Remember, this is an internal document at this stage so write the bare truth. What do you stand for? What do you believe as a business?

Target Market

Describe your target market at its simplest level. Distill the results of the previous step (Understanding Your Audience) into a concise summary of your target market.

Benefits

Next, develop a list of the benefits you provide based on what your customers have told you is important to them. Can this list be prioritized in some way? Can items be grouped? What benefits would you most want would-be customers to know about?

Capabilities

What do you think your capabilities are? What do your customers see as your capabilities? Are there any mismatches? Can these be ranked in any way?

Remarkable difference

Spend the time needed to clearly define your remarkable difference. That thing or set of things that sets you apart from everyone else.

Value Proposition

Based on what you have learned and been able to distill down by going through the process above, write an ‘About [your company]’ statement for use on brochures and other related marketing materials.

Take your time and get this right: you will not want to be constantly changing this if you are serious about getting a consistent message out there.

Elevator pitch

Develop a 60 second elevator pitch (to be spoken). This should be short and to the point.

Both your value proposition and your elevator pitch should tell us about your company, what you do, and why what you do is valuable. Both should highlight why you are different. Review your competitions about statements and make sure you are saying something truly different, and not just the same thing with different words!

Developing your message will take time. Put some real thought into this process. Regard the development of your description, target market, capabilities and benefits as internal at this point. You will use these later as the basis for external messaging – for now you just want to be sure about getting this right. The remarkable difference, value proposition, and elevator pitch you develop should be fit for external consumption, though. Download this outline of a Message Brief to capture this information.

Now the work is in getting this message out there, consistently and authentically! To do this you need your brand identity to work for you – so let’s move on to the next step.

 

Want to learn more about brand identity?

Check out our Complete Brand Guide!

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