Published on April 18th, 2018
So with the internet being the
After all, we live in a time where strategy, positioning, and messaging are almost more important than the very product or service you offer.
Dollar Shave Club is the best example of this we’ve probably seen in recent. It was not the first company to sell razors, and they are not the best razors in the world -- but the company is worth billions of dollars and people love it. So, what gives?
It did something special.
It delighted customers with its messaging in a way that got you (yes, you!) involved in their mission.
It identified its unique value proposition and sticks with it through everything it does.
I know what you’re thinking, “Can I do that?”
Of course, you can!
If you want to make it beyond the “tipping point,” you must have this ironed out, nailed down, and any other analogy you can come up with for making sure we have our $h!t together.
But where to start...
Take a 30,000ft View of Your Company
Start by taking a look at how you’re operating today:
- How do you generate leads?
- How do your customers educate themselves on you and the product or service you offer?
- How are you building trust with your customers, before they become customers?
It’s ok if you don’t know the answers to some of these questions right now.
The idea here is that if you don’t know how your customer's follow-through with these basic purchasing habits, they probably aren’t.
As you start to answer these questions, you will, in turn, start to build the foundation of your messaging strategy.
What’s your position?
Your brand position is your ultimate goal as an organization. It’s your destination in the market, amongst your competitors.
There are 4 popular styles of brand positioning to choose from. Most businesses will fit into one category, some may feel like a hybrid of two, this is normal.
It doesn’t take long to decide on a positioning strategy to keep you moving along this journey.
Once this destination is defined you’re ready to take the next step in your messaging strategy planning -- your value proposition.
Narrowing Down Your Value Proposition
A solid value proposition is going to take all of the following items (your background, position, and buyer’s journey) and put it in a blender, so you get a delicious, digestible, value proposition smoothie.
The key here is digestible - make sure it actually communicates something of value to anyone who reads it and that it inspires them to engage with your brand.
Okay, no pressure, but you’re about to put together the single most important sentence your business has ever written.
To help you uncover the root of the literal value you offer the world, we’ve broken this process down into 3 sections.
What do you do?
- Why do your products/services matter?
- What problem(s) are you trying to solve?
- What is it that you do to solve that problem?
- How do you do it?
- How do you differ from your competitors?
The point of these questions is for your team to find the truth behind your very existence. If this sounds super existential, that’s because it is. These truths are important because if you don’t know the answer to them, how will your customers? If you don’t know why your product exists, how can you explain why others need it?
Who do you do it for?
Next, be honest about who your customer(s) is/are, their opinions of you, and the other players in your category.
Identify any preexisting notions and what it will take to change their minds using questions like those below.
- Who are you trying to reach?
- What do they currently think about you?
- What would you like them to think?
- What is the most persuasive idea we can convey?
- Why should they believe it?
With this insight into your customer’s head, you can then figure out how to re-shape into what you want. As Don Draper always says “If you don’t like what they’re saying, change the conversation.”
Why do you do it?
Finally, we get to “why.” It’s the reason you get out of bed every morning and drive to work; It’s the reason you started this company or took this job. It drives everything we do as humans.
- What do you believe?
- Why do you do what you do?
- What are you passionate about?
Being honest here is going to make this exercise a lot more beneficial for your entire organization whether they’re involved in marketing and sales or not. These differentiators will really dig into why you do what you do, and really set the foundation of the culture of how you do business.
Once you’re done answering these questions, you’re ready for the final phase -- Actually writing the one sentence that will change your business.
*PRO TIP: Make a value proposition for each of your service lines or personas*
It is extremely rare that one statement will effectively appeal to all of your audience or reflect the differentiators if you have several offerings.
Here’s a jumping off point we suggest using for creating a killer value proposition.
[My firm] is the only [noun, competitive category] that provides [plural noun, your target audience] with [plural noun, emotional benefit] by/through/with [adjective, your unique differentiator].
Here’s an example of what a completed value proposition and executed messaging strategy
It tells you exactly what they’ll do for you and why their product exists (to help you see more patients, collect money, generate revenue) and who it is for (medical billing companies).
Get the Message?
That wasn’t so bad, was it? Now go pat yourself on the back and feel accomplished. You just changed your business forever.
Ok, not entirely, but you’ve taken the first step.
Above, I’ve offered a snack-sized portion of what it takes to develop a fully actionable messaging strategy.
If you want the whole kitchen, it’s yours for the taking in The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Brand Messaging Strategy.