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Posted by Thera on February 19, 2014

Do you want your brand messaging to cut through the clutter and stand out in the mind of the consumer? Here are some of our tips on how to avoid having your message fall into the background.

1. Be On The Same Page From The Beginning
Many times design becomes a game of broken telephone, where certain key players present a brief to the design team and, over the process of revisions going back and forth between various key players, the message gets slowly changed until it is completely different from the initial concept. This can lead to ineffective final messaging. A great way to avoid this problem and ensure that the message you desire gets conveyed to consumers, is to make sure that all key players are on the same page right from the brief. If the message and concept is agreed upon from the beginning it will make sure that the message is still there at the end.

2. Make All Decisions Strategic
So often in design it is easy to let personal opinion trump strategy. Making a design decision simply because it looks nice can take away from the strategic intent of the graphic. If you have a brand colour make sure you use it, and if you don’t like how your brand colours translates onto ads, then maybe it is time to change your brand colours. Remember that personal feelings, won’t necessarily translate to the general public. So when you make decisions, think about how most people will interpret it; for example, a font may looks nice, but does it convey your brand message of luxury? Finally, think about how your choices can translate into other campaigns; a logo may look great, but does it translate well into headers, wearables, print ads, and online? Is it easily recognizable? Don’t let personal opinion override strategic intent.

3. Think Like The Target Consumer
When composing your message, make sure that you are speaking to the needs of the consumer. Take a step back from your position, and think as if you are not within the industry. This means avoid jargon and very technical terms in your communication; the consumers may not understand what those terms do to improve your product. You may have improved the inner workings of your product greatly, but unless you can explain how that will improve its use, there is no point advertising it. A great example of this was in 2006, when the NBA introduced a new micro-fiber basketball that they claimed was a great improvement over the traditional basketball. This ball, however, lacked what the players were looking for; proper ball handle. After numerous complaints about the difficulty of use, and cuts from the material the league returned to the traditional ball. Do proper market research, and find out what benefits consumers are looking for in your products. This will improve your marketing, messaging, and help keep you one step ahead of the competition.

4. Less Is More
Your company has a lot going on, but don’t let your ad be as busy as you are. Always make sure that your message is very focused, so as to not overwhelm the consumer. Having too much information is as good as having none at all, because the ad will be ignored. Instead, by focusing your message it will become simpler for a consumer to read, remember, and convey. If you have a lot to say, consider breaking it up into various ads, with well planned and targeted placements. Once you have a simple message make sure that the graphics are very clean and simplified, to make it easy to read, simple to memorize, and visually appealing.

5. Don’t Let The Logo Overwhelm The Message
Logos are important, and it is important for the customer to remember your logo. However, when your brand has an important message about the product, a promotion, or how you differentiate, then the brand logo is not the most important element on the page. Yes, it should be large enough for the customers to quickly recognize your brand, but the message should remain in the foreground.

6. Use Clear Brand Positioning
The first message that consumers remember about a brand is its positioning. They may not know exactly what features that they are looking for, but know whether they are looking for a luxury product or a value product; this will give them a place to start. If your brand positioning doesn’t clearly jump out at the consumers then you are losing this opportunity to get their business, when they aren’t quite sure what they are looking for. Ensure that all your brand messaging is consistent in its positioning, so that consumers will associate your brand with that position.

7. Quality Should Match Brand Claims
Making larger than life claims can be great for getting your product off the shelf, but once the consumer takes it home, if you don’t meet expectations you will not get repeat purchases and will receive plenty of bad publicity. Seeing as repeat customers make up 70% of a company’s revenue, you won’t be in business for long without repeat purchases. Though it can be tempting to hype up your claims to generate excitement, you must be true to yourself and make real claims; though it is cliché, you must find consumers who like your brand for who you really are. Avis is a great example, they didn’t claim to be the biggest or best rental car service, for 50 years their slogan was “we try harder” because they were trying to compete with the big companies. They found consumers who came to them because they were the “little guy” and trusted that they would try harder to meet their needs.

8. Targeting Is More Important Than Frequency
Putting your ad everywhere will help you reach consumers more frequently but can also get extremely pricey, and decrease your return on marketing investments. A well targeted message can be used far less frequently while still having a lasting impression on the target consumers minds. This will reduce the cost of reaching the consumer, and increase your return on investment. For example, a frequent ad may reach 1000 to get 10 sales, where as a well targeted ad may only need to reach 100 to get equivalent sales.

9. Build Loyalty
Messaging from many companies is constantly bombarding consumers, so it is very difficult to make your message stick in the minds of potential consumers. Word of mouth is a much better way to get potential customers to try your product. By building customer loyalty you are nurturing those consumers who have experienced your product and who are more likely to notice and remember your messaging, and spread the word of mouth. Remember the Pareto principal, that 80% of profits come from 20% of customers, so make sure that those critical 20% of customers are receiving your brand message clearly, through mediums such as loyalty programs and newsletters.

10. Think Beyond The Written Message
The message that the consumer receives goes far beyond just what is written in front of them; think about the subtle cues that you can convey. If you are conveying the message that you have a premium product, then make sure that it is printed on a premium stock. If you advertise that your product is unique and different, then use less traditional elements to communicate that. Also, think about how your elements are being delivered and how to maintain your message in that process; how will it look after going through the mail and how can you prevent it from looking crushed and discoloured in that process? If on a stand, does the quality of the stand match your message? It’s not just about what your say, it is how you present yourself.

11. Set And Follow Brand Standards
Brand standards, which define your brand colours, messaging, use of logo, and positioning, are a great way to make sure that consumers get a clear message of who you are as a company. Set clear and specific brand standards, and follow them closely, so that the consumer gets a consistent message and image from your brand each and every time, making it easier for them to remember who you are and what you do.

12. Listen To Consumer Feedback
Once your messaging is out there, your job is not yet done. You must hear and respond to consumer feedback. The best way to do this is via social media, where consumers tend to be most honest. Create Facebook and Twitter accounts so your fans can connect with your brand, but more importantly for those who have complaints to express them to you. If a consumer complains about your product, it means that they had expectations that were not met. This is a great opportunity for you to respond and apologize to these consumers and show that you care. You can then use this information to improve your product to match your messaging or change your messaging to manage expectations.

Are you looking to execute an effective campaign, complete with messaging that gets results? BTI is here to help!