How to create powerful messaging that boosts your brand

Clip from messaging infographic

Powerful messaging is rocket fuel for your brand. In crisp phrases, it tells people what’s distinctive, important, even revolutionary about your enterprise. It speaks to the people you want to reach on emotional and practical levels. It makes all your communications better and easier.

But while the best messaging is simple—as well as concrete, relatable and perfectly targeted—it emerges from a multifaceted creative process. What does that look like? This infographic illustrates Thinkshift’s step-by-step path to powerful messaging. To find out why each step matters, read on.

Surveying the landscape

We start this discovery phase by assessing conversations in relevant markets, analyzing competitor positioning, and gathering stakeholder perspectives on what’s landing with people and what’s puzzling them. The phase reveals opportunities for differentiation, identifies messaging priorities, and grounds messaging in the enterprise’s business context. Without it, you can wind up with pretty words that don’t mean much.

Reading the audience

We interview or survey key audiences to suss out what they care about and understand their perceptions of the enterprise and its products, services, model or ideas. This knowledge is crucial to identifying barriers to connecting with customers, partners and others and to determining what messages need to do—which could be anything from correcting misperceptions to making complex concepts accessible.

Creating and polishing the language

This is the fun part. We engage clients in customized creative workshops that explore what their brand means and how it feels. This gives us the material to develop powerful messaging that not only reflects the enterprise’s market position and appeals to target audiences, but also feels natural to the team members who will use it.

How do we know if we’ve hit the mark? We test draft messaging with selected groups and, depending on the scope of the project, a new round of audience surveys or interviews. Our head and heart approach, blending analysis and emotional responses, allows us to develop messaging that’s both clear and memorable.

Rolling out the platform

This is the phase where new messaging easily becomes stuck rather than sticky. Using new messaging can be uncomfortable at first—even if feels authentic and captures the enterprise’s essence—simply because it’s unfamiliar. Without ample reinforcement, people will revert to the words they’ve always used, even if those words weren’t working.

We always provide a messaging handbook containing core messages, supporting points and usage guidelines, along with a new company description, talking points and an elevator speech. But documentation is easily filed and forgotten, and for messaging to succeed, everyone (not just the marketing team) needs to use it. To make sure this happens, we recommend two final steps: training for team members that communicates how the messaging solves problems and walks them through using it in real-life situations, and an outbound marketing campaign based on core messages that’s timed to the messaging’s internal launch.

This is an intensive development process, no question. But we’ve learned to trust it because of the result it delivers: powerful messaging that builds brand awareness and fuels growth.

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