I recently joined Trekk’s New York team to conduct a Trekk Brand Workshop in our Brooklyn offices. Marketing teams from a diverse set of organizations — from seedlings and startups to established companies — participated in a hands-on application of proven branding principles to their own unique situations.
Based on our post-workshop discussions with the participants, the experience inspired them and gave them some valuable tools to establish or solidify their organizational brands. They walked away with a new vocabulary to describe their brand’s vision and voice, as well as valuable feedback from their fellow workshop participants.
A successful event? Absolutely! But the toughest part, the true hard work for these attendees, is yet to come. It’s the never-ending process of keeping all of their companies’ communications on message with their new brand guidelines.
Enter the two branding tools we use with all our clients: the Brand Model and the Message Map.
A Brand Model is a powerful tool that captures the essence of your brand and helps you communicate it across your organization. For an organization to be successful, there should be one vision, one voice, one personality, and one set of values. They must be stated, understood, and practiced, both internally and externally. The Brand Model captures in one concise document the persona that your organization will take on to communicate its value proposition. To see what I mean, take a look at Trekk’s:
Once you’ve modeled your brand, the next step is to figure out how you will communicate it. Impactful messaging involves first understanding the unique challenges of your various audience segments and then articulating how your product or service can solve those challenges. Unlike your brand, your messages and communication channels will change depending on who you’re talking to. We use a tool called a Message Map to develop powerful messaging that resonates with each distinct audience segment.
The Message Map is comprised of five parts — cover these bases and you'll have a solid roadmap for communication of your brand.
- Customer Needs. We break down customer needs by audience, industry, and/or market. Part of the value in mapping these needs out is that it helps you to put yourself in different customers’ shoes and formalize statements they would use to describe their primary pain point(s). If you’re an established organization, use real conversations with your customers to craft these statements.
- Customer Benefits. Here’s where you’ll clearly describe the benefits your brand offers. Your benefits should relate directly to solving your audiences’ pain points.
- What We Deliver. From your list of customer benefits, you should be able to formulate a one-sentence value proposition that matches your customers’ needs to the benefits you provide.
- Proof Points. The messaging process up to this point has been about the words. If we agree on the words and write them down, they must be true, right? The real magic of a Message Map is that it forces your organization to prove it. Proof points are objective validations that you can deliver on your value proposition. Awards, certifications, testimonials, ROI examples, and case studies are proof that your value is more than a set of promises.
- Net Impression. When your Brand Model and Message Map work together, then your audience will be left with one powerful key idea about your brand… one that will live long past any single communication touchpoint.
Our goal with every branding client is to take the hands-on work that happens in our Brand Workshop and turn it into an experience that’s lived and felt by the customer. These tools help everyone within an organization align around a brand so that, working together, they can bring it to life.