Brand messaging might feel kind of nebulous, especially depending on who is doing the work — or who is asking for it. But at Edgar Allan, we have a pretty strong opinion about what it is and how it should function. Let’s dive in.
First, what is brand messaging?
A component of brand design, brand messaging is the externalization of how your brand is positioned, and is more about the main ideas your brand uses to express itself and the words it uses to communicate than elements of visual design.
Different strategists think about this in different ways, but at Edgar Allan, we see brand strategy less as a typical pyramid of blocks that build one on top of the other (positioning as a foundation supported by brand values, with elements like promise and messaging stacked on top), and more like a club you build around a product, service or entity.
With that metaphor in mind, you can think of messaging this way:
- Brand position is the type of club you’re building. Are you a heavy metal dive bar? A horror book club? A running club for art lovers? Each has a different raison d’etre, vibe, and audience that it’s targeting to connect with it.
- Brand messaging is the sign you’ll hang out front. One week your book club might be reading Stephen King, and you’ll want to entice people to join you with that information, conveyed in a way that honors your brand’s position and entices them to pop on by for a simple but gory storyline. The next, it might be Cormac McCarthy, which would require a whole different message.
A brand position should be able to include a multitude of coordinating brand messages. They should sound and feel like your brand, but introduce different information depending on the need.
Further, brand messaging focuses more on the intersection of a few things: the main idea your brand will convey, and the personality it will embody while conveying it. The first has to do with what we just discussed above. The second has to do with character development.
Things you might ask to nail down the tone of voice, word choice and cadence in which your messaging will speak:
- Is your brand more friendly, or more authoritative?
- Does it sound more professional, or relaxed?
- Is it more of a rule-breaker, or a conformist?
By answering questions like these, you can start to get at the root of how your brand expresses itself and how it might say what it needs to say in various different situations. (And, by the way, these are also great questions to ask when approaching visual identity — these kind of questions also apply to things like logos, fonts, and mood boards).
Why does brand messaging matter?
Going through these kinds of exercises might seem tedious, but they’re necessary for creating a cohesive brand. Think about it: We devoted a lot of thought to settling on just the right shade of blue for our Edgar Allan logo, and just as much (if not more) time to finding the perfect font.
That work is vitally important, but so is the oft-overlooked messaging side. How do we sound? How do we present ourselves, and the work we do? When done properly, brand messaging works in perfect harmony with all the visual identity stuff, weaving together to create a story that resonates.
How can brand messaging fall flat?
Simply doing the work of creating an overarching brand message doesn’t mean that it will actually make your brand have a great story and consistent character — you first have to make sure that message is pulled through to the final product, whether as a part of your website or other marketing materials.
Having a mission statement, list of core values, and a bunch of adjectives that describe your tone doesn’t give you great brand messaging — it’s all the work that comes after that makes the difference. But without all that initial work, it’s really hard (if not impossible) to nail into that multitude of resonant messages, so it’s a necessary part of the process.
How can Webflow be leveraged to improve brand messaging?
It’s no secret that we love Webflow, but it’s not just because it makes development easier. It’s also because it makes all the work that we do go smoother, from initial branding conversations through development. As a Webflow agency, we employ the platform because it pairs perfectly with our mission of empowering our clients to own their stories. And since the platform is so easy to use, it’s simple to make updates to elements like brand messaging, making it easier to have an ownable story that can grow and change over time.
Edgar Allan is a content- and brand-focused Webflow agency. Interested in learning more about brand, content design, project management, and Webflow? Check out our blog.