We’re walking through five of the nine pillars of creating a consistent and cohesive brand message for your service based business.
Writing a post about brand messaging has been on my list for at least the last year. But I’ve always pushed it back because I was still trying to articulate the topic in my own brain. I first wanted to understand what a brand message was clearly enough to explain it to others, before I really started sharing.
I can happily say that after three-plus years, I have so much more clarity around this often-ambiguous idea of brand messaging. However, clearly articulating this idea in a simple and easy-to-understand way is something I’m constantly improving. That being said, I believe there are nine main components that go into creating an overarching message for your brand. And today, we’re going to cover the first five elements – Ready to dig in? Let’s go!
No. 01: Who You Serve
Are you surprised that this is on the list? If you’ve been here any length of time, you shouldn’t be 😛 Who you’re serving plays a HUGE role in your overarching brand message. Why? Because if it opens the door to everything else that goes into your messaging. When you identify who you’re serving, every other subsequent component will be affected by that Who.
For example, if you decide new moms are who you’re serving as a personal trainer, every other piece to your brand message will be framed up from the perspective of best serving this new mom. Or, if you decide to pivot into working with high achieving executives that don’t have any kiddos, your message will be vastly different. One or the other isn’t better, it’s just different. And that’s the importance of first identifying The Who.
We can often get stuck on making the decision but here’s what I want you to remember: You can change your mind. It’s not forever. It’s not written in stone. You can pivot, adjust, change if your ‘Who’ isn’t resonating with you. The point is to decide so that every other piece of your brand messaging can tie together and align. It’s like The Who is the key that clicks everything else into place.
No. 02: The Problem You Solve
Now that you know who you’re serving, you can take a deeper look at what you’re helping them with. The key is to focus on the problem that is relevant to your service or offering. Because of course, you’re a business owner and the point of having a brand message in the first place is to have a framework for talking about your brand, so that you can connect with the right people.
So, circling back to this element – what is the main problem that your ideal client (The Who) is struggling with, as it relates to what you have to offer?
Let’s continue with our new mom – more than likely, there are a lot of things she’s struggling with. Lack of sleep, a child that won’t get on a schedule, trying to find balance between new baby and her partner. The possibilities are endless. But, as the personal trainer, you’re interested in the problem that she’s struggling with that’s directly related to how you can support her. So, the answer then could be something like: The new mom’s number one problem is finding time to exercise in between taking care of this new baby and supporting the rest of her family.
The goal is to be as clear as possible. The more you can learn about your ideal client’s problem, the easier it will be to talk about from a brand message standpoint.
Now, more than likely your ideal client will have more than one problem as it relates to your service and/or offering. In a perfect world, you would identify the MAIN struggle that your Who is facing. That allows your brand message to be consistent – because you’re talking about the same challenge again and again, increasing the chances of the message really hammering home for the receiver.
No. 03: The Transformation You Provide
The problem you solve is Point A. It’s where the ideal client is starting from, prior to working with you. Now, the next pillar of your brand’s message is to communicate the Point B, the transformation you’re providing to clients because of the work they do with you. Said another way, the transformation is what success looks like, it’s the main solution to their number one problem.
More often than not, there will be lots of pieces to the transformation but for simplicity’s sake, I recommend having your transformation be in direct relation to the problem. That way, there’s no confusion from the receiver AND it helps create a cohesive message for your brand.
Think of each potential client as if they’re following a treasure map and you supply the checkpoints that lead them to the buried treasure. The easier you can make the map, the easier to understand whether or not they are a good fit for your offering.
For example, if the main problem of the new mom is finding time to exercise while taking care of new baby and the rest of the family, the transformation could be something like 15 minute workouts and weekly meal planning with a custom grocery list. Yes, other ‘successes’ are weight loss, more energy or healthier eating, but they’re not in direct response to the number one problem.
Sidebar note: Do you talk about the other problems/solutions in your brand message? Of course you can! The goal here is to help you create a brand message framework or foundation, so we’re only focusing on one key message. One problem, one solution, etc. As I mentioned in the intro, brand messaging is a BIG topic and often ambiguous. So, my goal today is to simplify the pieces that fit into your brand’s message and the best way I know how to do that is to focus on ONE thing.
No. 04: What You Believe About the Work
I’m going to go out on a limb and assume some part of you has a strong belief/opinion/idea about the work and/or service(s) you provide. That belief is what makes up pillar number four of your brand’s message.
Clarifying what that belief is can be a challenge but the answer is a great way to connect with your community from an emotional perspective – beliefs are strong sources of connection-building and by owning your belief about why the work matters, you inadvertently give your audience permission to do the same.
Continuing with our personal trainer example. She believes that moms deserve to feel confident about their body after baby and that it doesn’t have to take hours a day to get there.
Now, moms who identify with this belief and/or agree with it, will be more apt to forge a connection with the personal trainer. Beliefs are STRONG emotional connection points and by identifying your own and communicating them with your community, you’re essentially throwing out a connection point to your audience.
To help identify your own beliefs around the work, ask yourself: Why does this work matter? Or, why is this work important?
No. 05: How You’re Unique
Last, but not least (for today anyways), is your key differentiator. It goes without saying but is worth repeating: there are a lot of ways you are different than your competitor, but from a brand messaging standpoint, pick the number one point and run with that.
I see three overarching ways to differentiate yourself from others in the market/space/industry/category:
- Serving a unique market or ideal client
- Providing a unique framework or process to solve their problem
- Providing a unique solution or success for the ideal client
Now, the first step is to do a little research (I know, the horror!) and see how your competitors are positioning themselves in the space. Compare that to how you’re showing up OR how you want to show up, and then, clarify the gap.
There ya have it, folks. Part one of how to create your brand’s message. It’s not rocket science but these brand message pillars do force you to make decisions and put your stake in the ground. It can be an uncomfortable process BUT the result is a clear message that enables you to show up consistently and cohesively.
Be sure to pop back in next week – we’ll dig into the last four brand message pillars.
All my best,
Pin for later!