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On Message

What is message?

Message is anything and everything that a company and its people does or says and how a product functions and behaves, and how all of that combined is received by the market. The sum total of all these ‘moving parts’ culminates into your brand.

So, a message is the total dynamics of a product or business. If for instance, we're looking at the dynamics of a product, we need to consider how it looks, how it smells, its price point is, its colours, down to how people talk about it.

A message is built up of so many tiny little things. I mean, when you talk about rebranding, people often think that just means they’re getting new colours, new logos and ‘modernising’ for want of a better term.

There are even particular language styles you can use to look ‘modern’ and current in your market, so you have to be specific in terms of the message you need to create.

So it's all about how you define how you need to look and behave to compete in a particular way that's profitable in your market.

A common problem that companies can have is where there's no clear idea of the value they offer. They look at themselves in terms of the transaction rather than the outcome for the customer.

What you sell versus why someone is buying it are vastly different concepts. I was just talking to a colleague who is moving house. He received quotes from around nineteen removalist firms.

They ‘put my mind at ease, the thought of moving whilst trying to run my business was beginning to stress me out’.

He made a point of saying he didn’t choose the cheapest option. He selected a firm who made the effort to ask questions and took an interest in finding out what his requirements were.

The transaction is a removal team with a truck, the outcome was his peace of mind.

This is why the problem with message for a lot of businesses doesn’t become apparent until they go to the market to seek new customers.

Established businesses that have enjoyed a stable client base over many years can find they have quite low perceived value when they decide to proactively find new revenue.

If they haven’t bothered to adjust their message over time, what they can encounter is a market that has matured and a client base that has different demands. What worked for them in the past no longer resonates with the market. The likelihood of that business now having to compete on price is high.

What they thought were features and benefits are no longer a differentiator.

Message has more to do with what you make the customer focus on. Every business can carefully construct a powerful message by excluding most if not all of the ‘features and benefits’ and instead of creating a narrow focus on the themes that matter to the customer.

Effective messaging is the result of how well you can direct attention away from market averages.

Understanding what your customer assumes about what you do and offer is the starting point, because, why draw attention to something that isn’t remarkable to them? There’s no point stating the obvious.

Decision-makers who underestimate the importance of messaging will result in marketing being left in the hands of people who often don’t appreciate the various competitive pressures that exist in the marketplace.

Pretty pictures, vague language and other marketing ‘fluff’ is produced that diminishes the brand and impedes revenue growth.

If you have the ability or the responsibility to make these important decisions then you need to make your message a priority. If you don’t, your competition will.

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