Clutter-Cutting Brand Message Tips That Grab Your Audience’s Attention

By: Tim Gass
holding a book with letters flowing up

At a time when there’s an ever-increasing need for companies to offer targeted and niche solutions, there’s also never been a time where more companies could more credibly say, “We can do it all.” As a consumer, you can find products tailored specifically to you, but also make just one stop somewhere and come away with a mountain bike, a 55-inch TV and bananas.

When deciding on who or what is right for them, all the options and noise out there can be dizzying to a potential client or buyer. No matter how complicated or straight-forward your company’s offerings are, the goal is same: to stand out from the crowd and make your customer’s experience with you as stress-free as possible. Simplifying your brand messaging is a crucial key to this, and can differentiate you from your competitors while drawing your desired audience directly to you.

But simplifying your message might seem tough—even counter-intuitive. If you’re offering an ever-growing list of services, diverse offerings and varied types of support, you might be afraid to leave anything out. Or you could be tempted to just say, “We do everything,” and call it a day. And hey, maybe you actually think you can do everything! (… and if you’re reading this and saying that, just wanted to say hello to you, Amazon! How were the holidays? It’s like you need a vacation from the vacation, am I right?)

Don’t take the seemingly easy route on this though. No matter what you offer, it’s imperative to cut through all the clutter distracting your audience by being crystal clear on who you are, and what your product or service can do for them.

But how? Just like your audiences, where no client or consumer is exactly the same, there can be a lot of varying factors. But, we’re talking about simplifying things here! So, in that spirit, there are a few consistent things to keep in mind.

Take a Look in the Mirror

Ask yourself the deep question: Who are we? What do we provide our audiences? You need to be able to answer in a single statement. If you say everything, you risk saying nothing. And remember, it doesn’t necessarily have to include specific products or services. At the heart of everything—why do you do what you do? What do you offer and to whom? What do you represent?

Likely, the most famous example is in 1988 when Nike unveiled their “Just Do It” slogan and marketing campaign. And it will go on being continually referenced because it’s a perfect example of simplifying a company’s brand message to its core. In three words, it represents the spirit of their company, and no matter how varied their services and products would become, they would still align with this statement and the challenge they support their audience with. Targeted ads and product campaigns would of course relay more specifics, but all following marketing still consistently related back to this direct brand message.

Tell Your Story

Audiences research more than ever these days before making their decision, but they also have precious little time. And it feels like that time shrinks by the day (or hour, or minute).

With all that’s in front of your audience, the initial impression you give your audience is the one that will get them intrigued and decide if you’re worth investing in a deeper dive.

As you simplify your brand message, think of how all the additional details you want your audience to know relates back to your core statement.

Keep in mind this “decision journey” your audience is going through as they start with your brand message and then learn more.

Think of it as a narrative. Your initial statement is like a great title or first line to a story. Make sure you’re laying out the rest of your information in an engaging, “stair-stepped” fashion that builds on it. Or much like that half-read stack of books we all have on the shelf we swear we’ll get back to sometime, your audience might bail and decide their time is better spent with another competitor’s tale.

Connect All the Dots

You may think you’ve got it nailed with a simple, clear brand message, and a beautifully laid out website where content flows and deepens in an easily understood and navigable way. But your brand messaging is not contained to a website—and your audiences didn’t just get there out of the blue.

Remember where and how your audience receives and sees brand-related messaging. Their journey into discovering or deepening the idea that you’re the right fit for them can arrive in a variety of ways. It can take time, but map out all the ways your audience comes in contact with your brand, whether direct or organically. Looking at all of this can be overwhelming, but anytime you think that, just think of how your audience feels!

After reviewing all these touchpoints, you might find really glaring examples, like marketing materials with an outdated version of your logo, but it can often be less obvious. Look for disconnects in content and positioning, like a long-time client receiving high-level, introductory messaging when they’re at a point where it should be more about positioning depth, such as services they might not yet be aware of. Or, whether the voice of your touchpoints can vary widely from informal to a very buttoned-up, professional tone.

These disconnects are easily noticeable to your audience, and can create the sense you don’t really know them or perhaps even worse, you don’t know yourself.

Review and decide if all your messaging is maintaining consistency and look for where you can improve and ensure it all connects easily for your audience, and to where they are in the story.

In the End, Just Keep It Simple

Funny to say after so many words above, right? The TL;DR version is just that—look at your brand messaging and break it down, and then break it down again. It can be a lot of work to look at everything and then streamline your message as much as possible. But, it is crucial to your success in today’s world.
Be clear. Be relevant. Be you. With all your audience has thrown at them, they’ll thank you for it, and be intrigued to know more.
Once you’ve simplified your message, it’s time to start making connections. Discover great tips for building meaningful relationships with your customers so they become brand advocates in our ebook, Brand Advocacy and the Emotionally Connected Customer.
Tim Gass
Tim Gass

Tim is a strategic, multidisciplinary creative director with over 10 years experience. While at ITA Group, he has developed and managed communication campaigns supporting engagement and incentive programs for several Fortune 500 companies. When he’s not helping ITA Group clients develop creative digital and print communications, you can find him enjoying live music with his wife, Erin or rooting for the Chicago Bears with their dog, Buckley.