Have you ever been to a website or seen an advertisement that just didn’t make sense? You may have puzzled over it for a few minutes but then just moved on. Many of our clients that we have had discussions with often struggled with creating their own unique message. They got caught up in their own brand’s product or service and forgot that their audience has no background story to it. I suppose, in some way we become akin to Spielberg at the computer when we craft a message for our client’s brand. The only thing is it has to be delivered instantly while still being absorbed, digested and causing some sort of an actionable result. Seems daunting, or perhaps easy at first glance, but it is the process that’s the determining factor for success!
Here are a few checkpoints to keep in mind:
1) Simplicity – Don’t over complicate the obvious. Make the obvious desirable and a must-have! When you are telling that instant story, keep it really simple and clean. You may feel your customer is looking for something far more detailed than they really are. In many cases they are not yet that far into your product or services, so don’t make them scratch their heads trying to figure it out. You just need to provide enough info, excitement, and interest to get them to the next chapter of your story. Like bread crumbs make your first bite meaningful and appetizing. They will surely go for more.
2) Clarity – It is not enough to keep things fundamentally simple, but to also create that message with strong clarity. In this meaning of clarity we focus on being easily understood and remembered in an exact way. Don’t have people misunderstand your message because you used too many words or the incorrect ones that completely miscommunicated your sentiment. The more concisely you deliver your message the better.
3) Familiarity – Does this one surprise you? Some people try to reinvent the wheel in order to be what they feel is unique or to convey that specific differential. It is true that you do want to be unique and have a differential to offer, but don’t confuse people by taking them off-roading without a familiar path to travel on first. It makes things much easier for your audience if you express something with familiarity to their background rather than if you introduce some abstract, newly conceived concept. That one small familiar element delivers more comprehension instantaneously then all the ‘bells and whistles’ you could ever deliver without that prior emotional, accustomed identity. Why bother with it then? Just build upon their already familiar understanding.
4) Memorability – We checked into some statistics on how many messages are viewed daily by the average consumer and the numbers are all over the place. If you include every label in the grocery store or every label on each article of clothing you own, the numbers can be in the 15,000 views per day range. But since we were not able to find credible quantifiable statistics on this exact number, let’s just say for argument’s sake that it is quite a lot. Truly an immense amount really for one to digest, let alone remember, which leads into this checkpoint nicely- create a message that is memorable to your audience. If it has good visual impact or even an auditory memorable jingle, both can be effective. The important piece is to keep in mind that it has to resonate with your audience and lay unforgettable roots in their minds so you can build on that with the next chapter of your story.
5) Action – Sure your message is a statement, but as we remember in our long ago English classes, every sentence has a passive or an active component. For example, here is what a possible active message would be: “The leopard chased the antelope.” The alternative passive version of the same sentence is, “The antelope was chased by the leopard.” Two totally different feelings and sentiments that resonate completely differently yet have very similar verbiage. Your message in most cases should be in an active format, or have enough information to create action in the minds of your audience.
We relish working with brands that are looking to redefine their messaging. Most of the work is done in the analysis stage of the process, but the final creative product drives conversion, which is our primary goal. In the end that makes ALL the difference!