How Clear is Your Brand Message?

In Branding, Freelance by Chris Foley


Consider your message for a moment. Your brand message that you’ve got on your site, business card, and so forth. Got it in your mind’s eye? Good. Now riddle me this: how well does your message reflect what your company does in your industry?

Is it accurate? Is it clear? Easily and immediately receivable by the audience you need to reach?

Here’s another question for you: Does your brand message communicate what you do or does it communicate the value of what you do? Alright, this is a topic for another article and we’ll get into that one later, but it’s worth mentioning here albeit briefly.

Your “brand” is the practical application of how you wish to be seen in the marketplace. When an enthusiastic reception also accurately reflects your mission (and what you actually do) that’s when magic happens.

Be like Humphrey.

I want to tell you a story. I recently saw a truck on the road with a big sign on the side which read Humphrey's Rain Gutters. They spent a bit on that sign, I’ll wager. It was well-designed, used a nice font, was colorful, etc. More importantly is that I immediately understood what they do. They install and clean rain gutters. Very clear, and very memorable. When next I find myself with clogged rain gutters I will certainly Google “Humphrey Rain Gutter Santa Barbara” to get their phone number.

Now, compare how clear Humphrey’s message is to your own message.

I’ve got to be honest with you: I look at a lot of websites each week and I am continually astonished by the number of sites I see that do not provide a clear picture of what that business is about or what they can provide. Sometimes the message is there if I’m willing to read a lot or search around but we’ve got to face facts here — our visitors are not going to invest time into hunting around for value. It’s a huge ask. There are too many options out there and attentions spans aren’t what they once were. You have got to communicate quickly, clearly, and loudly enough to catch attention, slow the visitor down, and encourage them to scroll a bit.

Here’s an example of something very simple making a huge difference. Scroll up and look at the logo here on my site. I did this same exercise that I’m asking you to do now and when I did I realized that the name of my brand communicated nothing to my visitor. Nothing. Zip, zilch, nada, rien, nic, etc. At some point I got the swell idea of adding the byline “Web Strategy” to my logo and you know what? My site started converting at a 6x higher rate than it had been before. Facepalm. I felt pretty stupid for not having thought of this before. See, people might not know exactly what “Web Strategy” actually means, but it fits in well enough with what they know they’re looking for and that's enough to slow then down long enough to grab onto the next message that I’ve put into my homepage’s narrative.

It all starts with that initial hit, that first-glance message.

What’s your message? Can it be clearer? More visible? Louder?
I’ll bet it can be.


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