First impressions matter. Research has found that buyers form decisions about a brand within the first two seconds of viewing them (Malcolm Gladwell, Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking). It’s this opinion that helps them to gain your trust, remember you, draw them back to your brand and, ultimately, choose your business over a competitor.
That is why it’s so important that brands get it right when it comes to their key messages.
Your key messages should be crafted to quickly communicate the core of your business and what it stands for, communicating the most critical and engaging information your audience needs to hear. It’s what helps customers know what you’re about and what value you bring to them.
The information contained within your key messages should also form the foundation of your PR and marketing activity. The most important element that you need to establish before you can start publicising your brand to your target audience is by far your Key Messges. Below, we outline the five simple steps you should take to write powerful key messages for your brand.
Understand your why
In business, it’s easy to focus on the ‘what’ (your product) and the ‘how’ (the service you provide or the production of your product), but businesses should give more focus to the ‘why’. Why are you doing what you’re doing? Why did you decide that the market needed your business in particular? Why is this important? This ‘why’ needs to encompass your businesses values and core beliefs. Only then can you inspire action.
Revisit your mission statement and vision
The next step in developing your key messages is to revisit your brand mission, value prop, strategies, goals and vision, so your key messages align with your overall business objectives. Think about what you are trying to achieve and how your key messages will inspire your audience. At this time, you should also confirm who your target audience or audiences are and what needs they have. If you have more than one, you may need a separate key message for each to ensure you are connecting with them correctly.
Define your tone of voice
Now move on to defining your brand’s tone of voice. Your tone of voice is not what you say but the way you will say it. You should consider the vocabulary you want to associate with your brand and how it aligns with your values and target audience. Is your business formal, or can you use more casual language? Is it appropriate for you to be funny, or do you need to be serious? Would your target audience resonate with slang, or do you need to stick to more traditional language? It may be helpful for you to look to your competitors during this stage to analyse any trends in your industry.
Focus on the benefits
Your customers are looking to you to solve their problem, so you should clearly define the benefits they will get from purchasing your product in your key messages. Focus on what distinguishes your product from your competitors, highlight the value that it can provide and any innovative or unique features that directly cater to your target audience (your USP). Write this in a clear, concise, positive and jargon-free statement that makes the case in a way that can be easily understood by your target audience and anyone new joining your business. You can also accompany this statement with supporting evidence that offers proof of what you are stating to add credibility, like case studies or testimonials.
Whatever you decide, these should be used consistently across all aspects of your brand, including your PR and marketing. From your internal documents to your website, press releases, social media and even the emails you send, ensure that your key messages are present at every touchpoint your customer might have with your brand.