6 IN 60 // SIX INSIGHTS IN SIXTY SECONDS: BRAND MESSAGING GUIDELINEMay 22, 2019
1. Messaging equals three things
Messaging is about creating clarity around the brand’s positioning to key audience stakeholders. Messaging is usually comprised of three things: messaging matrix, tone of voice guidelines and writing style.
2. Start at the top
Brand messaging starts with a strong brand positioning. It’s the tip of the iceberg from which motivating and compelling messaging flows. Without a strong, unique positioning, messaging will be unfocused and lack clarity and coherence.
3. Go inside the matrix
Think of brand messaging as a matrix, on the ‘x’ axis are your different audiences to whom the brand should speak, and on the ‘y’ axis are the 4-6 core benefits which amplify the brand’s positioning.
Using this matrix, you can then create and populate each individual brand message (benefit x audience) in usually 25-50 words.
4. Watch your tone
Just as a brand strives to have a consistent look and feel across all ‘touchpoints,’ a consistent tone of voice should be created when communicating with key audiences. The tone of voice guidelines include recommendations on three tone of voice characteristics.
For instance, Sprint has three tone of voice characteristics: Pioneering/Genuine/Clarity. These words are clarified, codified, and articulated so these traits can be incorporated into copy and brand communications.
5. Style, consistency, and flexibility
All communications should sound like they’re coming from the same source to ensure that messaging always complements the brand and works together to build a brand’s reputation and underscore its values.
Flexibility is critical – communication to warn/say sorry/inform should be different from messages that aim to thank/sell/inspire and motivate.
6. Communicate & educate
Workshops and education on brand messaging can help internal brand stakeholders not only understand what ‘on brand’ communications are, but also give them a sense of ownership in the brand. Understanding creates alignment which leads to a stronger, more consistent brand communications.