What Message Does Your Brand Communicate to Consumers?

How do you know?  Have you checked lately?

I was reading an interesting article in the NY Times recently about how the Democrats turned Georgia blue.  The Democratic party in Georgia did not have a clear message to voters, whereas the Republican message was clear:  “God, Guns and Anti-government”.  The Democrats realized that they needed to have a platform.  Their challenge was 1) to find a compelling message that resonated and propelled voters and 2) to clearly and concisely communicate that message.  The result:  the Democratic senate candidates won with a clear, simple message:  “Health, Jobs, Justice”.  This article made me think about the importance of simple, clear messaging for brands and I realized that in the past six months we’ve helped clients with two very different messaging problems, neither of which was the result of carelessness or naiveté.

In one case, the client was a victim of their own success.  They were well-known for products in one category and had recently found success under a different name in another category.  They were now known for two related but different things.  The challenge was to figure out how to proceed.  Which success should they message off?  Or should they try to find a way to work off both?  The outcome of our brand equity research suggested they could support both brands.  When we last spoke with them, they were going to continue with both brands but were only going to introduce new products under the older brand name.  While that may seem like a modest response, the important thing is that they now have an understanding of the situation including a quantitative baseline study through which to monitor their progress; much better than stumbling along in the unknown.

In another case, a client had us do an employee survey to see what their team thought of their products.  That was an eye-opener.  The answer might be characterized as “not so much”.  Management was taken aback to learn that employees didn’t like or buy their products.  They also had no awareness of the corporate mission statement or the company’s unique selling points.   In this case, management learned that, in addition to not explaining their reason for being to their employees, the employees were also not picking up anything from their products, packaging, messaging, etc.  And, if employees who handle their goods every day aren’t getting the message, then target consumers aren’t either. 

If you are wondering if your message is coming across the way you want it to try this:  take a walk through your halls or factory floor or dc and ask your employees what they think your central message or selling point is.  See what they say.  See how many different things they say.  Get them beyond generics (we sell cookware, appliances) to what’s different about us, our brand?  Ask them what they tell friends and relatives about the company they work for.  Do they try to sell your products?  Do they express pride in your products? 

Messaging isn’t easy.  It’s hard to recognize what the right message is or should be (employee example) and it’s important to remember that it can be a moving target that changes over time as your business evolves (product example).  Please feel free to reach out to us today for help in pinning down both how your message is perceived and what best resonates with consumers. 

Email Rick@designres.com or call 609.896.1108