Frequently Asked Questions on Brand Messaging

Brand messaging is critical to the health of your business. Here’s a closer look at some of the most commonly asked questions about the subject.

Every business owner wants to build deep, long-lasting relationships with customers. Brand messaging is the mechanism by which this is accomplished. Every communication an enterprise engages in should be done with proper brand messaging in mind.

When done right, it inspires, informs, persuades and catalyzes audiences. When done poorly, it can do serious reputational harm.

Now that we’ve understood the stakes involved, let’s take a closer look at some of the most common questions business owners have about brand messaging.

Brand Messaging FAQ

1. I’m a brand messaging neophyte — can you explain what it means in two sentences?

Sure. Brand messaging is the language, voice, tone, and ideas that a business uses to convey its core value proposition and company values.

2. Can you give me an example?

Absolutely. The classic Nike slogan “Just Do It” is a famous example of potent brand messaging. It distills the company’s ethos into three unforgettable words.

3. What are the qualities that make brand messaging effective?

The same qualities that make interpersonal communication effective, for the most part. Great brand messaging resonates with audiences and builds a connection. It inspires, catalyzes audiences into action and engenders a sense of personal identification with the brand. It’s how lifestyle brands are created and lifelong customers are made.

4. What happens when brand messaging goes wide of the mark?

If you’re lucky, audiences simply won’t respond to it. In situations where brands badly misjudge their voice or misunderstand their audience, poor brand messaging can alienate people, anger them, and turn them into another brand’s loyal customers.

5. So how does one create effective brand messaging?

Here’s where things get a bit more challenging. First, brands need to identify and segment their audience. If you don’t know who you’re selling to, you’re just throwing darts in the dark. Do research, identify your audience, and query them. What motivates them? What matters to them? How do they engage with brands?  By understanding the answers to these questions, brands can then draw a line between their customers’ motivations and their own products and services, their values, and their unique value proposition. 

6. What else is important?

One word: Differentiation. When you’re developing a brand messaging strategy, it’s natural to review what your competitors are doing. After all, you’re targeting the same audience, so there should be some overlap between your messaging strategy. That said, it’s critical to differentiate your product or service. Sometimes you can accomplish this through features or innovations, but in many industries, it’s the branding itself that is the primary differentiator. So while you want your messaging to be informed by what your competitors are doing, you don’t want to follow what they are doing. Develop your own unique, differentiated voice and message.

7. Any other tips?

Yes. Consumers are inundated by advertising and marketing messages, so it’s important to develop language and themes that stand out. Seek to be compelling and memorable, rather than aiming for a bland, middle of the road voice designed to appeal to the broadest possible demographic. It’s also critically important to be clear and concise — audiences will disengage immediately if you’re sending confusing messages. Place the audience at the center of the story and explain to them exactly what your brand can do for them. Make sure that your messaging comes through in every bit of content or communication you author, and always ensure your brand speaks in a unified and consistent voice.

Finding the Right Brand Messaging Agency

At BIGEYE, we’re experts when it comes to resonant brand messaging. Whether you’re looking for an innovative approach to brand video or new, tech-forward ways to reach your desired audiences, we can help.

Contact us today to learn more about what a sophisticated brand messaging strategy can do for your firm.

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How Brands are Winning Over Customers by Being Genuinely Authentic

The authentic arms race: A competitive route that can only be won by working with a branding agency to help position your messaging genuinely.

You don’t need to run a branding agency to understand that consumers crave authenticity. Given that most of us are continually bombarded with advertising and marketing, it’s natural that we seek messages that connect on something deeper than a purely commercial level.
Technology has exacerbated our impatience with inauthentic branding. We live in an age of Instagram filters, perfectly curated social media accounts, Photoshop, and even outright digital manipulation. In an environment where people are surrounded by the phony and the superficial, it’s little wonder that they desire something raw, real and unmediated.

And that’s a desire that today’s savviest brands are trying to accommodate.

Two tips for creating authentic connections

We’ve established that people crave authenticity. So now let’s talk about two strategies that brands can execute to create messaging that resonates.

1. Be human when developing your brand voice

For as long as consumer society has existed, its primary mode of communication has been a bland, neutered form of corporate-speak, designed to minimize the odds that someone, somewhere might take offense. Yet while this tone may not offend anyone, it’s also not going to challenge, engage or excite anyone, either. Time to take a risk!

Too often small to mid-sized businesses adopt this generic brand voice out of insecurity — they mistakenly believe they will be perceived as “unprofessional” if they opt for something too colorful, lively, edgy, etc.

The truth, however, is that people want to hear brands speak in human-sounding language. They want brands to interact with them the same way that people in their social networks do. This is partially because Twitter and other social platforms are absolutely overrun with bots. A recent Pew study showed that an astonishing 66% of shared links on Twitter were generated by bots, versus utilizing a branding agency.

In order to be perceived as authentic, brands must speak in a recognizably human voice. They should also be familiar with the social conventions of the platforms on which they are communicating.

Fast food companies are the masters of this kind of consumer marketing interaction. KFC, Burger King, Arby’s and other chains love to propagate clever memes on Twitter and poke sly fun at themselves. They are also highly adept at taking trending topics and relating it to their own brand — and people, of course, eat it up(no pun intended).

2. Standing up — and standing out — for a good cause

Over the last year, we’ve seen several examples of brands creating an authentic connection with consumers by taking a public stand on social issues. Patagonia’s “The President Stole Your Land” was a fierce bit of advocacy marketing. It delivered a stinging indictment of a powerful figure couched in simple language. It was also deeply authentic and perfectly in line with Patagonia’s brand identity.

Gillette’s famously polarizing “toxic masculinity” ad was a much larger gamble, as its message wasn’t guaranteed to resonate with much of the company’s customer base. Though it was criticized in some quarters, it was joyously received in others, while raising Gillette’s brand profile exponentially.

Brands will often attempt to earn goodwill and position themselves as good citizens by offering general statements of support for various social causes or donating money. These gestures, though well-intentioned, are usually forgotten almost immediately. Not so with Patagonia and Gillette, who turned their social advocacy into a deeply felt, authentic message.

Finding the right branding agency

At BIGEYE, we help our clients create deeply authentic marketing messages, while also giving them the advanced technological tools they need for effective targeting and distribution.

If you’d like to hear more about what an authentic marketing campaign can do for you, please reach out to us today.

Warning: This Blog Post May Lead to Cuteness Overload

Prepare for an emotional overload! Work with a brand development company to help craft an ad that pulls at the heartstrings and connects consumers.

Any good brand development company knows that emotional resonance is one of the keys to great advertising. If you can move someone emotionally, there’s an excellent chance you’ll be moving some product soon afterward.
Obviously, not all emotions are created equal in this sense. Brands making a habit of sending audiences into a hot rage probably wouldn’t be beneficial.

But joy? Wonder? Delight?

If you can master those feelings throughout your brand messaging the way Disney has, your brand has unlimited potential.

Disney and the science of “cute overload”

You’ve probably noticed that people are naturally drawn to cute things, with babies, puppies, and kittens serving as exhibits A, B, and C.

But baby ducks might be the cutest of them all. Small, squeaky, and equipped with adorably goofy bills and oversized webbed feet, baby ducks are certainly in the Pantheon of Cuddly Animals.

Disney’s recent ad showcasing its EuroDisney theme park exposed our collective love of baby ducks in brilliant fashion. The story plays out like this: A tiny, lonely baby duck finds an old Donald Duck comic book in a field and is instantly infatuated. The duckling mimics Donald’s poses and seems to spend all his time absorbed in the book’s pages.

Unfortunately, a change of season comes in the form of a nasty thunderstorm and some seasonal migration. The duckling has to leave his beloved comic book behind, as he flies away to parts unknown with the rest of the flock.

In a heartwarming twist, however, the flock’s new home just happens to be on the outskirts of EuroDisney. Who does the duckling see standing in front of the theme park? Donald Duck himself, resplendently clad in his customary three-sizes-too-small sailor suit.

The duckling runs to Donald, hugs him and closes his eyes in sheer bliss — striking the same pose that millions of children visiting Disneyworld have also experienced after meeting Donald, Mickey, Minnie, etc.

It’s a pretty brilliant advertisement — even for a company that specializes in creating this kind of magic. If you’re a brand or a brand development company, it also provides a good opportunity to examine just why this approach is so effective.

As it turns out, it’s all in our DNA.

Why the cuteness sells

It’s not uncommon to see someone pinch a baby’s rosy red cheeks. Or, to hear someone utter the (slightly unnerving) phrase “you’re so cute I could just eat you up” when in the presence of a baby.

So why do humans feel a compulsion to pinch and squeeze babies and puppies?

Science has an answer. According to a 2015 study conducted by Yale psychologist Oriana Aragon, the feelings that adorably cute babies and animals inspire in us are so overwhelming that we instinctively follow them up with feelings of aggression. The general idea is that humans are designed to maintain emotional equilibrium. The presence of a baby (or an adorable duckling) sparks such an emotional reaction within us that we immediately compensate by thinking or acting in a more traditionally aggressive manner.

That’s a fascinating finding — and one with interesting implications for any brand development company, as well as the advertising and marketing industry as a whole. If emotional resonance is the Holy Grail of connecting with audiences, cuteness overload might be the map that helps brands discover it.

The takeaway

At BIGEYE, we help brands create the kind of advertising and marketing campaigns that inspire and delight audiences. If you’re not getting maximum value from your current marketing approach, please contact us today to learn what we can do for you.

Warm Messages, Cold Devices: Branding Authentic Digital Connections

It is not difficult to understand why consumers respond to a personal connection, as the evidence is overwhelming. Consider the persistent power of word-of-mouth advertising, for example. Today’s companies can create an extraordinarily sophisticated and insightful marketing campaign — support this campaign with bleeding-edge technological tools — and still lose a customer, simply because she was given a different word-of-mouth recommendation.
Marketing, at its core, attempts to facilitate these kinds of personal connections between brands and their audiences, whether intellectual or emotional. When this is done well, it creates brand intimacy, a close, personal and enduring bond between people and the companies they use and love.

Yet these all-important human connections must be forged in an era where people are becoming increasingly atomized and distant. Fifty years ago, people joined fraternal organizations, participated in civic life, went bowling together and lived in relatively close proximity.

Today, popular fraternal organizations such as the Lions Club or Rotary Club have withered, civic participation is at record lows, bowling leagues are considered retro entertainment, and suburban sprawl has created unprecedented physical distance between neighbors.

These developments have created a tear in the social fabric of society, as the public commons have grown ever smaller, and people fail to socialize and form connections. Mutual trust is also at record lows, as we continue to retreat into private spaces rather than the public sphere.

All of this raises a few important questions: Is technology to blame for societal atomization? Are our devices alienating us from each other?

If so, how should marketers respond?

Technology and its distancing effect on audiences

People have always looked to technology as a means of reducing distance. The telegraph and telephone brought unimaginable change to the 19th century; television and the Internet did the same for the 20th century.

Yet while technology may offer a soldier the opportunity to speak with his children from thousands of miles away — facilitating a profound human connection in the process — that same technology can also have an alienating effect.

Walk into any restaurant today, and you’ll inevitably witness two people sitting across from each other idly scanning their smartphones rather than speaking, or even looking at each other. This scenario is now so common as to be almost the default expectation. Research has shown that when mobile devices are present in a face-to-face interaction, both empathy levels, and attention wane.

Theoretically, smartphones and social platforms have given us much greater (near total, in some cases) visibility into each other’s lives, something that should facilitate greater connections. Yet social media is often full of artifice; a hyper-curated representation that bears little relationship to lived reality, and too often inspires feelings of anxiety, envy or sadness in others. For all of its communal pretensions, social media is often an alienating experience.

The truth is simple: People change at glacial pace and technology changes at breakneck speed. The changes we’ve experienced, particularly in the last 30 years, have been extraordinary, and we still have little notion as to the long-term effect.

Whether this is ultimately for good or ill is an open question. It does, however, present a specific challenge for brands seeking to create meaningful connections with audiences in this environment: How can we forge human connections through machines that are often alienating in their effect?

How brands create human connection across machines

The correlation of a warm human connection delivered via a cold collection of hardware and software is a striking one. Humans, at our core, have always had mixed feelings about technology — one look at dystopian science fiction makes this techno-anxiety palpable.

Brands, of course, are highly motivated to create these invaluable connections, and they understand how powerfully modern technology can facilitate them. This means that brands must strike a delicate balance: Use technology to deliver compelling and emotionally resonant marketing messages without tapping into broader human anxiety about that technology.

Marketing campaigns for Charter, one of the world’s largest telecommunications firms, provide a good example of how to thread this needle. Charter’s TV commercials have a notable tendency to depict large groups of people singing and dancing while surrounded by computers, screens, and other devices. In this representation, the technology is present, but it takes a definite backseat to humans interacting together within their natural social context.

Technology firms aren’t the only organizations attempting to take a more humanistic approach to advertising and marketing. Charter’s campaigns are following a larger trend toward brand personalization and human experience.

Aviation firm JetBlue created its clever “Air on the Side of Humanity” campaign to connect with air travelers who felt alienated by the impersonal process of taking commercial flights. A generation ago, boarding a plane did not require navigating strict security protocols, and the experience was far more relaxed. JetBlue’s campaign skillfully highlights the “chicken run meets DMV” aspect of modern flying and positions the company as a more humanistic alternative, simply by acknowledging how cold and impersonal commercial flight often feels.

The banking sector has also become rapidly depersonalized in recent years, as automation and other technologies have reduced the need for tellers. Thanks to ATMs and online banking, many people may go months or even years without speaking to someone at their bank. The primary tradeoff for this efficiency is, of course, the human touch.

In order to compensate, BMO, TD Bank and other financial services firms have created advertising campaigns that emphasize the “human” angle of their business. Meanwhile, global insurer Liberty Mutual dispensed with subtlety altogether, using “Human” — the Human League’s inescapable number one single from 1986 — as background music for a high-profile ad that ran during the 2012 London Olympics.

These efforts illustrate the value of an authentically human and personal approach to marketing messaging. Today, so many of our interactions with the companies we patronize are not only mediated through technology but wholly lacking any human connection. Consider how virtual receptionists attempt to route your calls and answer your questions without the need for a person. Or consider the proliferation of A.I.-powered chatbots; most of them are programmed to sound human, and nearly all of them utterly fail in the attempt.

These approaches may be more efficient, but they are often alienating, and make those on the other end feel unimportant. As A.I. and machine learning evolve and mature, our interactions with businesses will grow ever more distant. This means that marketing messages need to be more authentic, resonant and personalized than ever before.

By making an effort to close the alienating distance created by technology, brands can create the kind of deep and meaningful connections that inspire persistent loyalty among audiences.

The takeaway

Technology is a double-edged sword in terms of fostering connections. While it removes the impediment of physical distance, it often creates a different sort of distance, more emotional or psychological in nature.

Brands that prioritize authentic human connection in their messaging will be best positioned to mitigate the distancing and alienating effect of technology — ultimately creating the kind of deep personal bonds that create brand intimacy and earn long-term loyalty.

Looking to refocus your brand messaging and campaigns to provide more human-like connections with your audience? You’ve come to the right place. Contact our team today and we’ll get started!

 

Leverage Brand Messaging Services to Increase Email Subscriptions

People who are interested enough in your products or services to sign up to receive your emails are often just one small step from becoming customers (if they aren’t already). Consequently, the size of your email subscription list is a good measure of your marketing success. Is it the only measure? No… quality counts, too. But (email list) size does matter!
How can you grow that list? One of the best ways is to take advantage of brand messaging services from an experienced agency to ensure you’re saying what prospects want to hear.

Strategies for increasing your email subscriptions

Use these seven proven brand messaging services tips to add depth to your email subscription list.

1. Be likable

Sounds like something your grade school teacher would tell you, right? But it matters in business, too. With all the marketing chatter out there, people are much more likely to read something from a company whose messaging is friendly and appealing.

2. Keep it concise

Consumers today have lots of demands on their time. The more quickly and concisely you can express yourself the better. Some companies think that as long as all the important stuff is in the first paragraph or two, it doesn’t matter how long an email is. This is not the case at all! Think about it… how often have you opened a marketing email, seen that it was multiple paragraphs of text, and immediately deleted it? (Lots of hands are going up on our side!)

3. Make the benefit of reading obvious

Again, consumers don’t have a lot of time. The more quickly you get to the specifics of “why you should read this” part, the more likely they are to sign up.

4. Tease future emails

In some cases, the information a prospect has received from you may not be of value to them. But, some of the topics you have planned for future emails will be. A “preview of coming attractions” may just be the nudge they need to add their name to your list.

5. Entice readers with subscriber-only benefits

Whether it’s helpful information like white papers and case studies, or coupons for significant savings on products and services, consumers are more eager to share their contact information if there’s something in it for them.

6. Share “social proof”

How have other subscribers benefitted from their email subscription? Sharing their stories can encourage people who are on the fence to sign up.

7. Create serial messaging

If the material you want to share is too long for one email, spread it out over two or three emails. The desire to see the next installment is a great incentive for signing up. Just be clear at the start of each email that it is “1 of 3” for example.

Not only do expert brand messaging services help you grow your email list, they help you communicate more effectively and more profitably with your audience in general. Contact our team today to get details on our full range of services, from digital to branding and more.

You Need More than a Logo, You Need a Brand Development Company

You’ve got a cool company name. You’ve got an eye-catching logo. From a branding perspective, your company is good to go, right? Not so fast! You’re only just getting started.
Brand definition is about much more than a name and a logo. In fact, at our brand development company we advise all our clients — large and small — that there are many elements to a fully defined brand. They include:

  • Brand identity: This is the unique look of the brand, and the place where many companies incorrectly feel like their work is done.
  • Brand messaging: Beyond the way your brand looks, there’s also the way it sounds. Having carefully selected brand messaging is crucial.
  • Brand positioning: What segments of the market are you after? Once you’ve answered that question, you need to align your brand with those segments.
  • Brand strategy: Creating a brand and launching a successful brand are two very different tasks. You need to have a plan for drawing attention to your new brand identity.
  • Brand style guide: Even the most well-defined brands can end up diluted if you don’t have a document your staff can refer to for rules about brand usage. That funky font the sales team wants to use in their email marketing campaign? No can do. Consistency is one of the keys to a strong brand.

 

How you benefit from the services of a brand development company

Developing and launching a successful brand takes time and effort. Is it worth it? Oh, yes… your brand matters more than you think! There are many ways to collaborate with a brand development company to help create a unique brand identity for your business. For example:

Branding increases awareness

Even if they aren’t yet ready to become a customer, just making prospects aware of who you are and what you’re offering is helpful.

Branding differentiates your company

Your brand can help set you apart from the competition. And, in an ever-more-competitive business landscape, your ability to differentiate yourself can make a huge difference in whether you succeed or… don’t succeed!

Branding creates trust

The more your prospective customers are exposed to your brand, the more they believe you’re the “real deal” and are a company they can trust.

Branding can increase company value

The evaluation place on your company by outside experts is about more than just your assets. There is tremendous value in having people know who you are and what you stand for.

Branding increases customer loyalty

“I use that company for all my ____________.” Customers who have good experiences with a company that has a strong brand are the most loyal customers anywhere. Yes, you have to have good products and services. But back them up with a memorable visual identity and you’ve hit the jackpot!

Branding inspires your team

Not all the benefits of a strong brand are external. Your strong brand can serve as a rallying point for your employees, as well.

 

The skill and experience of your brand development company matter

No disrespect to that friend of a friend who creates logos as her side gig, but you want to work with a top Florida advertising agency with a proven track record in branding. There’s too much at stake. Brand development is an art and a science, and both skill and experience are critical.

Looking to brand or rebrand your company or a product/service offering? Talk with us about how we’ve served as the brand development company for businesses of all sizes in a wide variety of markets, and how we can craft a brand for you that gives you a competitive edge.