I have a couple of prompts for you.
I’m relatively sure your brain just filled in “Nationwide is on your side,” “Nike: Just do it,” and “Skittles: Taste the rainbow.” Am I right?
That is because those messages are so deeply ingrained in our brains–we have heard them so many times over so many years–that they take up as much real estate in our brains as our email addresses and phone numbers.
When I was in school to become a music teacher (yup, that used to be a thing) one of our assignments was to teach a folk song to our class. While we obviously only had a few weeks to choose and prepare the folk song, the professor told us that ideally, we would sing a folk song for a whole year before teaching it to anyone. Because the point wasn’t to remember the song–it was to sing it so much that we’d never be able to forget it.
That is what we are working toward with your messaging. Being able to remember who you are is great. But never being able to forget you is better.
Because of this, I use the following guideposts when working with clients.
- Keep it short and simple. Trying to say too much, or using too much complicated jargon makes it hard for a brain to absorb the essential information. You can tell them about the specifics of your offerings later! For new potential customers, less is more.
- Take advantage of repetition. I’m not talking about word echo here. I wouldn’t expect every sentence on Nationwide’s website to say, “Nationwide is an insurance company. As an insurance company we insure the things that people want to insure.” Blech. That’s memorable because it’s terrible. But reusing phrases like “on your side” or “partner” or “there for you”--those are going to subtly reinforce their overall message–that they are there to help.
- Link your message to your values, mission, vision, and fiscal priorities. You know everything about your company–so what’s the most important stuff to talk about? If you’re not sure where to start, consider what your priorities are and work backward from there. Say you own a car company. You value innovation. Your vision is to build and sell the world’s first flying car. You know that if you sell 150 SUVs by July you’ll have the funds to be able to start development. So the first thing you need to do is think about the problems that an SUV solves. Who are the people that have those problems? Start talking to them. Does that mean you’ll never talk to the people who want to buy a sedan? Of course not. But by aligning your message to the people who need a product that you have that will also help you move your company forward; you will ultimately bring in more of the business that will help you achieve your goals.
By using short, simple messaging, taking advantage of repetition, and honing in on your priorities–you can develop a message that’s not just memorable–but one that people can’t forget.
If you need help crafting a compelling message, you know where to find me.