Message Layering : 3 Steps to Breakthrough

How many messages does your target need to see before your brand makes an impact?

In traditional print advertising, the rule of thumb was that it took at least 3 insertions in a magazine. In television, it required many more 30-second “hits” just to create a basic brand identity. Now, with the whopping growth of media messages scurrying around social networks, the problem is not message quantity, but its ability to breakthrough.

The second problem for today’s marketers is that simply building a brand image isn’t good enough anymore. Now buyers want to hear your whole story before they’ll commit.

So, with the soaring cost of traditional advertising, how can you build big brand awareness on a small business budget?

The simple answer is: Break it down into a few simple messages and spread it out over as many social media channels as you can manage. Then, ask your fans and repeat customers to help spread the word.

1. Image: How many ways can your brand identity work harder as a messaging tool? What does your logo say about your company? Does it place it in context of what you sell? Is it identifiable in a small, website size? Can it be easily turned into a click-through button? If it can’t answer these needs, change it. Don’t be scared about walking away from a poorly-designed logo for one that works harder. Scores of big companies do it all the time. It will serve you better in the long run.

2. Philosophy: Consumers want to feel connected to the brands they buy. They want to “like” them in more ways than one. Fans are willing to wear your brand like a badge of honor if you give them good reasons.

This is an area that Apple Computer excelled at. First, they amassed scores of believers in Steve Jobs’ personal vision of a Mac religion. Then, they started producing iproduct after iproduct and soaring iprofits followed. How did they do it?  By doing three things really well:

a. Remembering that product design is all about the user, not the technology
b. Keeping their customer base – not margins –  top of mind
c. Staying true to the philosophy that built the business and the brand – empowering the individual

What are the core tenets of your business that consumers can identify with and rally behind? Make sure these are a part of your story.

3. Product: The best marketing campaign aside, it always boils down to the product or service you are selling. Will it live up to the story you are crafting through your campaign? Most people will remember three things about you. After your brand name, what are the other two unique points of difference you want your customer to know? Figure out what they should be and repeat, repeat, repeat.


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