Are You Saying What You Think You’re Saying?
You spent valuable time and money preparing. You created your website, business cards, brochures, social pages … and somehow, you aren’t getting the results you want and need. Why?
There are several key factors that go into successful marketing materials and campaigns that can influence outcome, but a crucial factor is your brand messaging. Among other things, it defines your audience. It’s essential that your brand messaging is clear because if it’s not, your ideal audience won’t receive what you’re sharing.
The question to ask is: Are you, your brand messaging, and your marketing materials truly saying what you mean to say? Or could your materials be Vizzini in disguise?
How To Determine If Your Messaging is On Target
Clarify Your Brand Message
If you’re just starting out in business and are trying to figure out how to spend your limited marketing dollars, the first item on your action plan should be creating and clarifying your brand message. This can be done by working with someone like myself who will help you identify, structure, and articulate all the aspects of your core business messaging. Do this FIRST. Everything else (websites, visual branding, etc) follows from there so you’ll ultimately save time and money by getting it right the first time.
Get Trusted Feedback
If you’ve already created some materials but are unsure about your results, it’s worth taking some time and asking colleagues, peers, and clients for some feedback. Outside perspective can be enormously eye-opening.
When I was starting my rebrand project (Wellness Scribe to Message Artist), I went through the same process I take my clients through — but I also took the time to get outside perspective and that saved me money (not to mention avoiding the backlash and backpedaling RI went through with its 2016 tourism campaign and botched visual branding!) My response to the first logo comps was, “Oh my gosh, I love it!” It was exciting to see Message Artist get started visually, but I needed to be sure it was right — unfortunately, it wasn’t.
Outside Perspective Saved Me Money
I shared those first logo ideas with some key people, but everyone interpreted it in a way I never even contemplated! My designer and I fell in love with lovely colors and the “artsy” aspect of those first ideas which only reflected a small piece of my overall brand messaging — those first logos didn’t serve my business or correctly represent the entirety of my business. So we started over using the valuable feedback I received.
Who To Ask for Feedback?
Don’t ask just anyone. Consider these factors before you reach out:
- Ask someone who will take time to give it real thought and be willing to provide the “why” behind their feedback.
- Approach someone you trust to be honest with you — constructive criticism is way more valuable than an empty compliment.
- Professional colleagues who understand your market and field of expertise can provide the business perspective you need. They don’t need to necessarily be IN your field of business, but they do need to understand what you’re trying to do and with whom you’re trying to do it.
- Don’t disregard those friends who know you well. If they know what your plans are for a business, or are familiar with your existing business, they should also be able to tell if your messaging is authentic or if it doesn’t seem to align with the person they know, which could create client/customer problems for you later on down the road.
- And finally, and perhaps most importantly, ask those who you think could represent your ideal clients and customers. Ultimately, if these people look at whatever marketing material you’re sharing and they don’t understand who you are, what you offer, and why you’re unique, then the messaging is off target and it’s time to shift gears.
If you’re ready to hone your brand message and/or create on-target marketing materials, schedule a call with me. I will make sure your brand messaging — and your products and services — reach your ideal clients and customers and spur them to take action.