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Any brand can develop a marketing campaign, but some just seem to communicate with more confidence, more thoughtfulness, and more panache. What’s their secret?
How do plucky companies like Allbirds and Yeti seem to know exactly what their audience wants to hear while achieving the perfect tone and voice? The answer lies in the ultimately unsexy but crucial process that lays the foundation for all of a brand’s communications—building a messaging framework.
A comprehensive messaging framework sets brands apart from their competition, allowing them to reach consumers with clear and consistent communication. By building a brand messaging framework that resonates with your audience, you can establish credibility and excitement around your product or service while pulling in excited new customers.
What is a brand messaging framework?
Brand messaging is how you communicate with the public. However, every brand has a strategy for how and what they communicate, which is where a framework comes in. A brand messaging framework is a structured and written-out guideline of your brand’s selling points.
A framework includes multiple vital components, like your:
- Business value proposition
- Target audience
- Unique selling points over other brands
- Key messages
A brand messaging framework is essential as it guides how you communicate with potential consumers and dictates how they view your brand.
Once you have a brand messaging framework, you open up a range of possibilities. This framework can be used to craft your next ad campaign, develop meaningful content, and attract customers to your product or service.
A well-crafted message can make all the difference in pulling customers in as opposed to them turning to the competition. With a strong brand messaging framework, you can position your brand as one consumers want to work with.
How to create a brand messaging framework
The process of creating a brand messaging framework is rooted in understanding who you are selling to and why. With the insights you gather from your audience and your work, you can begin following the proper steps to create a strong brand messaging framework.
Step 1: Define your target audience
Your target audience is the audience you expect to pitch to—the people most likely to benefit from your product or service. Defining your target audience allows you to determine who you are talking to in your brand messaging and is crucial for finding the correct messaging framework.
After all, you don’t want to use Gen Z vocabulary in your marketing materials if your ideal audience consists of millennials.
When defining this audience, you should identify both demographics and psychographics. Between these two categories, valuable information to gather includes:
- Employment status
Breaking down your audience’s psychographics and demographics will help you determine how to target them appropriately. After you know who you are targeting, you can focus on creating the content of your message so it resonates.
Step 2: Clarify your unique value proposition
A value proposition highlights the value that people receive from using your product or service. This value can be either functional or emotional. For example, a SaaS brand can save you time by speeding up tasks during your workday. Meanwhile, a clothing brand will provide you with confidence in your appearance.
Both of these brands can bring value to your life—just in different ways. Regardless, these brands will center their messaging around the value they offer to consumers.
Clarifying the ideal unique value proposition starts with using audience research to determine how your customer needs and the benefits of your services align. Both qualitative and quantitative data are helpful for identifying a proposition that resonates.
Qualitative data can give you a picture of what perception people have about your brand and what features customers enjoy about your product or service. Meanwhile, quantitative data can compartmentalize your customer opinions into helpful data on brand and product performance, and provide a means to test new marketing concepts or product ideas, enabling you to identify what works the best and what your audiences want the most. which answers arise the most and from which audiences.
You can use these methodologies in the research process:
- Customer surveys
- Focus groups
- Social media polls
- Product reviews
- Customer testimonials
By using research to better understanding what your unique value proposition is, you can share it with your customers in a clear, concise, and consistent way. With this proposition developed, you highlight what consumers stand to gain from your brand and how to better communicate the products or services you offer. , reeling them into your services.
Step 3: Establish your tone of voice
Consumers often view a brand as more than just a company but an entire personality. In fact, 88% of consumers indicate that authenticity is important when deciding which brands they want to support.
Determining your tone of voice is important for developing a personality that fits your brand and establishing the authenticity that customers seek. Once you have your ideal tone of voice established, you can carry it throughout your messaging and maintain consistency to connect with and build trust amongst your audience.
Step 4: Craft key messages
Finally, identify the primary messages that demonstrate your brand’s value and differentiate it from competitors. Remember to tailor this message to your audience segments. What are the most important points you want to highlight across your messaging channels? How will you convey your message to your different audiences and consumer segments?
As you craft your key messages, think about your customers’ reason to believe (RTB). The RTB is where your customers learn why they should trust you. For example, an RTB could be a phrase that points to customer survey results or case studies from past successes. This RTB helps strengthen your key message and reinforces why consumers should choose your brand.
Key components for designing your brand messaging framework
The most effective brand messaging frameworks follow an all-inclusive format that covers everything you want to communicate to customers and how you plan to do it. Ultimately, a brand messaging framework template should consist of the elements below.
Introduction and positioning statement
The introduction and positioning statement builds context. This section is where you introduce your company and its purpose. As you provide an overview of your product and goals, this will lead you into understanding and highlighting the value you offer.
You will also use this section to identify your target audience and their specific needs. After all, to build a strong message, you need to understand who you’re talking to. All of this sets a valuable foundation for understanding the keys you want to communicate.
Value proposition statement
With a clear picture of what your brand is all about, you can boil it down to the value you offer to your customers. This statement should summarize the key benefits of your product or service and what sets it apart from your competitors. When crafting this statement, consider the pain points your brand solves and what solutions it provides to consumers.
Don’t overcomplicate this—your value proposition statement should be concise, compelling, and memorable. This statement gives you a guiding light to follow throughout your messaging and use as the centerpiece you come back to.
Tone of voice
Now, with your key messages established, you can consider how you want to deliver them. Maintain a clear tone that stays consistent throughout all of your brand materials and communications. Some examples of tones you can turn to include:
Your choice will depend on how you want consumers to perceive your brand and where in the journey you will find them. For example, if your customers seek your service in a time of need, you should strive for a more authoritative but caring tone. On the other hand, if your product is about fun and enjoyment, you can aim for a more personable and lighthearted tone.
Key messages and supporting points
Once you know the value that you want to communicate to your audience, you should boil this down to a few key messages. You want your core message to convey your brand’s value and what differentiates it from your competitors. If your customers heard nothing else from you besides this message, what would you want them to gain from it?
Your message should be clear, compelling, and easily understood by your target audience. As you would have for any argument, each of these key message points should have supporting points behind them. Your key message will demonstrate the main benefits of choosing your brand.
Keep in mind that most brands have an audience broken into segments, as they may serve a variety of demographics or personalities. Therefore, even with a brand messaging framework, you’ll need to adapt your communications slightly depending on who you’re talking to. Consider which segment you are addressing with each campaign to ensure it resonates how you want it to.
A communications matrix is a helpful tool in this process. This one-sheet diagram allows you to map out your customer base and determine which messages are relevant to which audiences at each stage of the customer journey. Altogether, this tool will provide you with a more organized approach to your marketing so you can align your communication goals without losing track of how you want to leverage your most effective messaging.
Application and consistency
Of course, in today’s age of technology, your brand is communicating across a wide range of channels, from email marketing to social media marketing. A successful brand messaging framework is all about consistency.
After establishing your brand messaging framework, make sure you apply it across communication channels. Consumers should receive the same experience no matter where and how they interact with your brand. Your messaging should be consistent across your website, social media, advertisements, and beyond.
Maintaining consistency can be difficult if you have multiple content creators who regularly put out content on your various platforms. Have brand guidelines and a style guide to share throughout your team to ensure everyone is on the same page.
If you produce content regularly, you likely already have a content strategy—this strategy and your brand messaging framework are virtually the same.
Employee training and brand ambassadors
Keeping everyone on the same page is essential for an effective brand messaging strategy. Your employees and brand ambassadors are on the frontlines between your brand and your consumers. Therefore, they should carry the brand’s personality throughout their interactions and day-to-day communications.
As you work to equip your employees with the power to share the message of your brand, you should consider:
- What talking points they should use during interactions with consumers
- What areas of the business they should highlight
- How they should pitch the product or service to consumers
This messaging should be a focus during the onboarding process in employee training, onboarding materials, and even job descriptions. Consistency is vital to creating a successful brand messaging framework.
Feedback and iteration
Once you are ready to put your message into the world, make sure you have a mechanism for gathering feedback from customers and stakeholders. Gathering feedback and performance data will allow you to continuously refine and improve your message to ensure it resonates.
Some ways to do this include:
- Holding focus groups to see how your messaging resonates
- Implementing A/B testing to evaluate the effectiveness of your brand messaging
- Establishing metrics and key performance indicators for measuring the success of marketing campaigns
Part of this process should include measuring the return on investment (ROI) so you can gauge the efficacy of each channel. Monitoring your ROI will determine where you should deploy your budget and creative assets.
Examples of brand messaging frameworks in action
Brand messaging frameworks are in place in a vast majority of the marketing and communications we see from brands. Of course, some are more successful than others. We can see how successful brand messaging frameworks can be in action by looking at some examples of companies that do it right.
Allbirds is a sustainable footwear company that markets shoes that are stylish and comfortable without a negative environmental impact. They know that their audience likely consists of people who care about the environment but also want quality, trendy footwear. With this knowledge, they emphasize the value of their shoes in providing both practical footwear and an eco-friendly focus.
Allbirds’s brand messaging framework template would look something like this:
Introduction and positioning statement: “Allbirds creates sustainable footwear using innovative materials, providing comfort without compromising on style.”
Value proposition statement: “We believe in designing products that are better for the planet and your feet, offering a natural, eco-friendly alternative.”
Tone of voice: Authentic, eco-conscious, and down-to-earth
Key messages and supporting points: “Comfort, without compromise,” which emphasizes both comfort and sustainability and “Nature’s Favorite Footwear,” which highlights the use of natural materials in their production.
With the above framework, Allbirds has a unique and consistent key message they focus on. With the clear value they provide, they can find and reel in their target audience in need of comfortable but environmentally responsible shoes.
Yeti is a brand notorious for selling high-quality and durable coolers, water bottles, and more. They know that their audience desires durable products that can withstand being outdoors while keeping their beverages at temperature, and Yeti leans into this desire with their messaging.
Yeti thrives on highlighting the real-world experience of those who use their products, demonstrating the value that they provide to outdoor enthusiasts.
Here’s an example of how their brand messaging framework would look:
Introduction and positioning statement: “Yeti builds durable and high-performance outdoor products for adventurers and enthusiasts, ensuring quality and reliability in every adventure.”
Value proposition statement: “We design products that are up to the challenge, keeping your gear and drinks cold or hot, wherever you go.”
Tone of voice: Rugged, reliable, and adventure-driven.
Key messages and supporting points: “Built for the Wild,” which highlights their durability and toughness, and “Unmatched Performance,” which emphasizes the brand’s commitment to quality.
Altogether, these points create an image of Yeti products that resonates with consumers who could benefit from their rugged outdoor gear.
How to implement and refine your brand message
After you have your brand messaging framework established, it’s time to implement and refine it. Keep in mind that your brand message is living and breathing, so the work is never truly finished. When you are ready to act on your framework, there are two things to remember.
Maintain consistency across communication channels
Consistency is crucial. Whether your brand communicates with consumers across social media, advertising, its website, or live events, your key messages, verbiage, and brand personality should remain the same. This consistent messaging will allow consumers to understand what your brand is about.
Fortunately, with the proper systems in place, you can achieve consistency. Having a continuously updated brand and style guide for your brand will help you maintain consistency in your communications throughout the customer journey map.
Emphasizing training for your employees will ensure they have the tools to implement the brand guide properly.
Gather feedback and make necessary adjustments
A strong brand messaging framework does not stop at the creation of the template. Once you have the framework in place, you must follow its progress.
You can gather feedback by listening to customer responses to surveys, monitoring customer reviews, and documenting customer concerns. At the same time, you should perform A/B testing throughout your communication channels to identify whether your messaging is bringing results. Meanwhile, you can gather data on engagement with your communications to see how your content is performing with the help of a new messaging strategy.
Use the results from this data to inform your iteration strategy and make continuous improvements to your outreach efforts. This data will also help you determine which communication channels perform best so you can invest your resources accordingly.
Put your messaging framework into action
Building brand messaging that resonates with consumers makes all the difference in building new relationships. A brand messaging framework is a valuable resource to maintain clear and consistent messaging that draws in consumers.
Here at PETERMAYER, we are committed to helping brands develop a message that works for them and reaches their target audience the right way. From strategic services and road mapping to research and analytics, we’ll help you create a messaging strategy that works.
Contact us today at PETERMAYER to schedule a discovery call and learn more about how we can support you in your branding strategy.