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A Brief Guide to Branding and Messaging for Business Development

Customers are necessary to any business’ success, and whether you are a small or a large business, growing your customer base is a priority. Depending on your market, business development may take many forms. Branding and messaging, while flexible and evolving, are two key components to any company’s successful growth.

We put together this short guide to help you get started with your new or repositioning brand.

Branding

If you are a newer business, you may still be process of defining and honing your brand. If you are a larger company, you may have an established brand but are concerned about its positioning in the changing market. In either instance it is important to take a solid accounting of your brand.

On a basic level this includes the creation and evaluation of logos, colors, fonts, taglines and core messaging. However, your industry sector and brand positioning could affect your inventory. Forbes gives a great example of brand success by comparing hotel chains. They demonstrate that each hotel goes beyond branded carpet and furniture and are more concerned with “the details.” Everything from coffee types, to coffee machines, toiletries, and Do Not Disturb sign designs. All of these details come together to create the larger brand. Without the detail, you lose the brand. And without consistency, a company’s brand won’t have market traction.

Focusing on the details translates differently depending on your market, but it is the first step in building an idea that is beyond a product or a service. Without a solid brand, a company won’t have a platform to stand on with prospective clients. Ask yourself and your stakeholders, what does my company stand for and what does my company offer? These probing questions begin to change your own perceptions and move towards a more robust and meaningful brand.

Seek out tried and true marketers and brand development agencies. The world of brand development is a rapid shifting environment.

Messaging

Messaging, both internal and external, is integral to the development and success of a company. The messages your company sends matter to employees, stakeholders, investors, clients, prospects, and competitors.

The Content Marking Institute has a simple tool to align your company’s messaging. It is a good place to start if you are a small business and will help give you a better idea of where your messaging supports – and does not support – your company as a whole.

Content Marking Institute breaks down strong messaging to a structural level with what they call message architecture. Architecture is broken into the structure of content but also the “what” of content including: corporate voice and core content strategy statement. They cite Margot Bloomstein’s example of a financial institution:

ART blog image supp 8-30-16

The structure of this example shows a message’s relationship and context, which can be applied to the company internally and externally.  It shows that “message architecture’s value lies in its ability to clarify, for every content creator, the organization’s most important messages.”

Part of branding is your company’s messaging. And in today’s market one only has so much control over a message once it has become publicized. Scott Cook, co-founder of Intuit, said, “A brand is no longer what we tell the consumer it is. It is what consumers tell each other it is.” By setting up the proper infrastructure that speak to the values and goals of your organization, you set the playing field for a meaningful and good reputation.

Should you have any comments, questions, or would like more information about branding and messaging, please reach out.

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