Last week we spoke about how simple logo identities can go a long way to creating an effective and adaptable brand, but we know it's not all about the logo, it's about the stories you tell, the experiences you create for your customers and the market you are targeting. So today, we thought we'd go to the next piece of the puzzle; messaging. Personally this is one of my favourite parts about branding, as while it's still challenging and head bangingly frustrating at times, it really helps solidify what a brand is all about and captures that in one sentence or phrase. People love stories, and want to see brands that have personalities, after all - branding is all about getting the personality and vision of a company across.
First, let's clarify what I'm talking about when we talk about messaging though. Messaging could be anything from a slogan, a mission statement, or just the tone of voice that you use on your communication materials. It could also just be the way you address your consumers on billboards (if your marketing budget will stretch that far) or on posters. As an example, Spotify did this excellently a couple of years ago on their billboards:
They're good right? Spotify's design is a pretty good case study in itself, but these banners address individual people, while still being effective and interesting. It shows that Spotify don't take themselves too seriously, and that they have a sense of humour - two things that in certain industries, will work really well in getting people to engage with your brand, product or service. In this case, it was also a great way to reflect on the great year that Spotify had in terms of a growing user base.
More and more in 2018 we're seeing brands talk like they're your friends and using humour to communicate. Some do it better than others - and you really have to get it right. There's also some industries where it wouldn't be suitable to use sense of humour, think of the emergency services or health companies for example. But that's the point of the post really, to help understand where messaging can engage with your audience in a way that just using a picture can't, and doing that in an appropriate way.
So, like last time, let's look at some effective examples of brand communication and promotional campaigns that adopt another approach. We're going to look a Musicbed's latest promotional campaign first:
The goal for Musicbed was to get the attention of the biggest agencies in America, in order to make them more aware of who they are; a music licensing platform. The great thing about these campaigns means that while they're directly targeting certain people, they're doing it unique way (they could have just emailed or called these people). Not only does this show consumers that Musicbed are willing to have a laugh, but it also shows that they are passionate enough about their brand to spend loads of money on billboards, and it gets people thinking about who Musicbed are themselves. So the genius of this campaign is that while it's made to look like it's only for the individuals that are named on the adverts, realistically it's going to engage anyone that walks by and see's it. These billboards also have nothing on them about what Musicbed do, because they trust that this campaign will be enough for people to research their services without putting them directly on a billboard. Sometimes, if people see the personality of a brand before they see the service, they already have a good expectation, which is when you really have to make sure you've got your product or service right, to win them over at the final stage!
I personally think this is a really good campaign. The design is very stripped back, and the full focus is on the message - there's no extra frills. Now, that approach can only work effectively when the messaging is good. While I like the tone of voice for this Musicbed campaign, it's difficult for us to say whether it's been effective or not yet, as we don't know how much new interest Musicbed have had from this, or if the people they're targeting have even got in contact, but from the outside looking in, it looks promising.
As before, we want to keep these posts bitesize, as we don't have all the time in the world to write these. But we'd encourage you to do some research yourself next time you're out and about, particularly in cities and towns, you'll see loads of different messaging techniques. Only you can decide which ones you like, and which you don't, but it really shows that messaging is everywhere and is a huge part of branding, no matter how much of a focus the messaging has. It's the difference between an engaging brand, and a boring brand in many cases.
It's hugely important for companies to get this right, and your message has to be clear. So whatever approach you adopt, whether it's short phrases like the John & Jane brand, or sentences and story based messages like Spotify and Musicbed, each has it's own value. It gives your brand a personality and something that consumers can relate to.
So we hope this has been helpful to get some thoughts flowing about how messaging can engage your audience, or how you can use it as a designer. If you feel like your brand is in need of a refresh, or if you think the way you're communicating your vision and personality isn't being done effectively, get in touch with us here at BRIX, we'd love to help you develop your messaging and style to try and get down to what makes your company so different and unique. Just head over to our contact page for details!
We don't know what part of branding we'll address next week, but they'll certainly be another post coming your way anyway, so we'll speak to you then! Thanks for reading.
The BRIX Team