Is your core message out of step with your audience?

Communicating a brand or campaign’s core message is one of those concepts that often sounds easy, but few firms achieve this successfully. If we know our brands inside out, why do so many of us struggle to convey a clear organising thought?

One reason for this may be that most of us tend to focus on our own brand message first, without due regard for who we are talking to. For a very long time, marketers and communicators have been encouraged to – first and foremost – understand their brand and the way in which it is different from its competitors. From here it becomes a race as to who can shout the loudest – or flaunt the biggest advertising spend muscle – to get this message out to their audience.

However, the one big flaw in this approach is that it assumes the audience will listen, instead of giving the audience a reason to listen.

In a world where our target market has the option to disengage from advertising, marketers have to work much harder to ensure we keep people’s attention.

The ability to correctly identify a core message may be the answer to this. This means stepping away from the more traditional method of finding messages and spending more time to incorporate our audiences into what we want to say.

While every message should still have the brand or campaign key attributes as a focal point, this should be used more to inform what your brand would like to convey, as opposed to the finished message that will be shared.

As effective marketers, we need to make the audience an equally important part of our core message discovery. During our messaging process, we need to ask ourselves why the audience should care about the message our brand deems important. Once we have determined this, we can be far more efficient when talking to our market.

If we are able to work out what matters to our audience, it is much easier to get them to listen to our message. For example, an investment management business may want to showcase their team’s ability to generate superior performance. However, long-term investors and younger investors are increasingly concerned about sustainable investments, as opposed to earnings returns at any cost.

This means messages need to be tailored to incorporate ESG angles – if this is a priority for your audience – aligning a brand much more with their audience. This does not mean a brand cannot communicate their core message anymore – rather, they have to adapt the way in which they articulate and evidence the message to the relevant audience.

This may be easier said than done, especially in bigger firms with established communications and marketing channels, but marketers nonetheless need to instil this discipline into their process to ensure their message resonates with the target audience.

Communicating a brand or campaign’s core message is one of those concepts that often sounds easy, but few firms achieve this successfully. If we know our businesses inside out, why do so many of us struggle to convey a clear organising thought?

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