Brands can build up a lot of meaning in their messaging over time.
Establishing clarity in the brand purpose and communicating that purpose to various audiences is something that is centred in the structure and copy of a brand’s messaging.
The purpose of the messaging may be variable, for example, introductory messaging to introduce a new concept, product or idea to an audience; marketing messaging designed to communicate the essential proposition of an organisation and generate interest in products or services; or even internal messaging that is required to align internal audiences.
The messaging must also have a purpose. It should provoke a response and reaction. The organisation will have a reason for communicating the information and the messaging should serve that.
It must be relevant to the audience that will be receiving it, and appropriate to them and the context in which they engage with it. It should be written in a way that is easy to comprehend, it should avoid using acronyms or other specialist language where possible.
The channel in which messaging is used and the format in which it will be delivered are essential considerations. For example, long form copy is easier to engage with in print than online.
Our messaging work is dependent on client or brand requirements and the objectives of that business. Defining an organisation’s purpose is one of the first steps in the process because this is influential to the resulting messaging outputs.
Our messaging process
Step 1: Definition
The first step is to establish what type of messaging the client is looking for and what messaging they currently have in place, if at all. We host a kick off call to establish these details as well as any objectives for the work, the audience for the messaging, the purpose of the organisation and, if possible, the customers’ view of the business.
Key stakeholders need to be identified for this project and everyone who needs to be informed should be involved from the beginning so that any major changes can be avoided.
An audit and review of existing brand messaging is the first step. This can help shed light on any potential negative perceptions that need to be counteracted as part of the messaging updates.
An audit of the competitor landscape may also need to be conducted, looking at organisations already operating in the area and current messaging. Responses to existing messaging can be very useful, either by direct customer feedback/review sites, or in their reflection as talking points in media, industry, etc.
For sizable messaging projects, such as major new project launches, interviews should be considered. Interviews can uncover key details around why, what, and how the messaging should be communicated. Interviews should be sought with senior stakeholders and subject matter experts.
- Kick off call to clarify the type of messaging required
- Identify key stakeholders and the target audience
- Define the organisational purpose and customer expectations
- Establish the tasks, parameters and objectives for the project
- Gather existing messaging materials
- Audit existing brand messaging
- Review competitor brand messaging
Step 2: Solution
After reviewing the existing messaging, we aim to present a streamlined, improved version that fulfils the objectives and fits within the brand parameters.
Messaging is a copywriting task that is undertaken by the strategists at Make it Clear. Developing the messaging is an iterative process with time allowed for the creation of long form copy, refinement into appropriate formats and several rounds of internal review and adjustment before first drafts go to clients.
We may work on up to three conceptual directions to present to the client. One is selected and iterated until sign off. The structure of the messaging is dependent on client requirements or intention of the messaging, but it most likely includes a short statement that sums up the brand and offering and key service or product benefits.
There are three main considerations for messaging: structure and hierarchy, channel and format and frequency, breadth, audience and context.
All messaging proposals have a structural foundation. This is especially important when the messaging will guide creation by other people, or where variations will be required for specific regions, audiences or products. The hierarchy of messaging should be considered to ensure that it is adaptable for different purposes. For example, what is the essential core of the message that must be communicated, and what information is less important so it can be delivered at a secondary level where time and space allows.
The context with regards to channel and format will have a significant impact on the audience’s reception of the messaging and their willingness to invest time and effort in engaging with it.
Messaging that will be presented to audiences repeatedly, or across multiple levels – for example on the homepage and product pages of websites – must have sufficient variability in construction to avoid message fatigue. Similarly the frequency with which they encounter messaging may alter the ‘volume’ at which attention is sought or the construction/impact of statements.
Our messaging projects often include a vision statement explaining what the brand’s vision for the future looks like, a mission statement describing how they intend to work towards that vision and values that outline the set of guiding principles that shapes the way the brand functions. We may implement the chosen messaging direction by applying it to digital or physical branded assets. If not, the messaging is supplied to the client for their future use.
- Develop messaging directions
- Receive feedback and iterate one direction
Step 3: Implementation
In order to maintain consistency and future-proof the implementation of the messaging, we outline the key elements in a document that clearly articulates the structural approach that has been taken and provides a description for the purpose and approach for each element within the messaging.
This document is presented at an in-person meeting, face-to-face or via video call, to provide sufficient time for a full discussion.
Once messaging has been agreed with the clients, where appropriate, validation of the messaging should be undertaken with users to check that the assumptions behind the messaging are relevant, identify potential areas of confusion or misunderstanding and ensure there are no hidden problems in the approach.
Communications involving the new messaging need to be planned by the audience type. A roadmap for implementation can be established by determining who needs to hear what and when. We can help you to plan the release across multiple customer touchpoints and effectively reach your audience, considering print, digital, industry events or social channels.
- Implement or supply the brand messaging document to the client
- Conduct validation with users
- Launch the new messaging by audience
Step 4: Optimisation
As with many projects we propose a clarity review to take place 3-6 months after implementation. This involves a review of the results and interviews with customer-facing teams and customers as appropriate – where messaging was for internal projects then appropriate stakeholders there should be consulted.
- Clarity review