Your brand message should show, not tell

A consistent brand message goes a long way. But you can consistently miss the point, too.

“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion,” Dale Carnegie once said. “We, even the most logical of us, are creatures of emotion. Yes, we have our logical moments, but under all that calm lurks the chaos of emotion.”

A brand message has to be appeal to people’s logic, but it also must be compelling enough to get their attention. To do this, you have to understand how your audience connects to your brand emotionally.

Never treat your message as a one-way conversation. An essential part of any message strategy should be how you listen to your audience.

That means learning more about your audience’s emotions has to become a part of your organization’s DNA.

Take time to discuss what people dislike and like about your organization in team meetings. Create surveys where appropriate that seek insight. You will need a sustainable mix of ways to listen to your audiences. Decide what works best for your organization and stick to it.

This is why writing your brand message down is so important. It’s easy to get confused and forget your message when work is busy or an unexpected change has complicated your path.

But, once you write your brand down, you have to prove it.

A great way to do this is to show your brand in action. Get specific and get human. The more your audience relates to you, the more likely they are to evaluate you positively and listen to the specifics of your message.

Create opportunities for people to share their personal stories. Be willing to learn from difficult audience members (so long as they are not rude or abusive). These practices are not just good for your message, they are good for your organization.

A message is only as good as it can be communicated. The first place to start is with what people are already saying about you. It’s not for you to create a brand. It’s for you to manage it.

Want to read more about brand message? Here are some resources:

When Your Customers Are Talking, Quiet Your Brand Voice and Listen
The Principles Of Brand Simplicity — Siegelvision
Looking Good | Philanthropy Journal | NC State University

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Watch: What's at the heart of your brand? | Client Conversations | Barnabas Center