Optimize My Brand

Strategy, tactics, ideas and tips from Creative Company.

Brand messaging — more powerful than design

Brand messaging is the verbal brand

Brand identity design is important. We all recognize the Starbucks or Apple logo, the UPS symbol and FedEx. But once you achieve recognition, what’s next? Brand messaging.

Think about it. Design first, then story. And a call to action.

Today we all want to know “what’s in it for me?” Why the brand offers those goods and services. What the brand stands for. Who’s behind it. What we can expect and count on. In fact, Simon Sinek has done an amazing job of telling us how to be more effective in our marketing–start with “why.” Check out his Ted Talk.

In food products, once the package design and label draw us in, 76% of us check ingredients, while 51% look for place of origin. And we want to know about the ingredients, about the farmers, about the recipe and who makes what we eat. We want the story.

In today’s splintered, information-saturated and communication thick world, it’s even more important to narrow down the brand’s story with brand messaging. Specific ideas crafted into key statements to set the stage for the story and the background.

Brand identity fly salemBrand messaging fly salemVisual brand/Brand identity:

Logo, color palette, visual style, imagery, support elements

Verbal brand/Brand messaging:

Brand promise, positioning statement, value proposition, value description, three key messages each with three proof points

As brands extend across more media …

The brand identity and design elements must be flexible to work in print, online, for a website or in social while still remaining cohesive and recognizable. A series of design elements that create a look and feel will become the visual vocabulary.

brand identity mbo connectBrand identity guidelines set the stage and guide use and application. Guidelines are a reference for how to treat the logo in different situations, and what not to do with the design’s applications. Colors ares defined for RGB, CMYK, HTML. Visual elements—a photo library, icons or illustrations all build out the system. The brand promise can also be a design element, to lend extra recognition and flexibility.

Core messages link up with the brand identity to introduce essential ideas and engage different audiences.

Brand messaging phrases can be interchangeable but also require a hierarchy … what’s the most important thing audiences need to know? What’s first? What supports? Messaging usually begins with the brand promise.

brand messaging mbo connectIt’s a promise, not a tagline.

The brand promise is what your audiences can expect and count on from you and what you offer. The positioning statement expands on that brand promise with more detail from the audience’s point of view. Succinct, to the point, simple and direct is best. Less description about what is offered, more detail about outcomes and results.

Value description and value proposition support and add context—defining what’s offered and who benefits most. Brand messaging describes value and outcomes. Create phrases and ideas that can be edited and linked for different uses. Three key messages supported by proof points summarize the essential topics that differentiate the brand from others in the category. All based on positioning–communicating quickly who you are and what you stand for. And separating your brand from others who offer the same goods and services.

brand messaging foodguysBRAND identity foodguysWith succinct messaging, a website will quickly state what’s offered and why a visitor should choose. Essential messages can become posters to help staff live the brand.

Descriptive phrases entice and inform and set the stage for more details. Messaging on a social media page, on a newsletter or in other customer communications builds the brand and the story.

For examples of brand messaging for other clients, including a messaging hierarchy chart, visit our website. 

Brand messaging and brand identity begin with positioning.

Defining who you are and what you stand for. Learn more about positioning here, or download our positioning worksheet below.


About the author

Jennifer Larsen Morrow

Jennifer's four decades of work in the industry, starting as a designer and adding marketing, copywriting and digital marketing, has generated response for clients since 1978.

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  1. Choose your marketing positioning statement well - Optimize My Brand | Creative Company’s Blog - […] Your positioning is expressed in your visual and verbal brand, your identity system and messaging. The marketing positioning statement supports…

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