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Welcome to Branding Bootcamp !. Maria Ross. July 2012. WEEK 3: MESSAGING & CONTENT. LEARN what a messaging platform is and how to build one for clarity and consistency CRAFT a winning elevator pitch for the media, networking or business development

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week 3 messaging content
  • LEARN what a messaging platform is and how to build one for clarity and consistency
  • CRAFT a winning elevator pitch for the media, networking or business development
  • LEARN how a Key Messages document ensures consistency
  • DISCOVER strategies for easily managing content marketing, blogging and social media
what are your benefits

Your prospects want to immediately know: “What’s in it for me?”

Take the customer point of view: Talk benefits first, not just features.

  • Features: What you do/provide/sell/offer
  • Benefits: Why that matters to the customer

Think about what customers ultimately gain by using your products or services. Do you increase their profits, lower their costs, or improve their efficiency? Will you make them more beautiful, boost self-confidence, preserve precious memories, or reduce stress?

If you can’t clearly verbalize the benefits you provide, you won’t be able to build a brand that resonates both consciously and subconsciously with customers. The lack of benefits will leave all your marketing messages flat. Ideally, the features you cite will serve as proof for why you can make a certain benefit claim.

Develop a messaging platform by audience to drive the brand and inform all communications (copy, presentations, elevator pitch)

messaging platform vs copy

Your messaging platform is an internal “outline” to ensure all communications are on track and consistent

You always want to control your message!

Copy is the external face of your messaging platform, shown in various channels (website, brochures, speeches)

messaging platform structure

CORE POSITIONING STATEMENT______ offers __(products/services)_____ for ____(target audience)_______so they can _______________(benefits)________________________.

Core positioning statement rolls up by combining the three main benefits you provide. Determine the benefits first!

car company example

“Tell me about your organization?”

adapt for your elevator pitch
  • Begin with core positioning statement
  • ______ offers __(products/services)_____ for ____(target audience)_______so they can _______________(benefits)________________________.
  • Bottom line: Add a memorable “tag” or flair to the end: tagline, mission statement, or analogy.
  • Wrap up by repeating your company name and URL
  • An elevator pitch is meant to be spoken, so ensure you use words you feel comfortable saying! Once you learn it, you can adapt it by event/situation to whatever feels right.
sample messaging platform law firm

XX is a local law firm that uniquely combines legal advice and real-world business experience to give its clients the information they need to make decisions that increase company value while mitigating risk. With XX, not only do you get the advantages of a big firm at a predictable cost, you also get the responsiveness and value of a local partner, so you never have to worry about missing an important business opportunity.

Positioning Statement

Make the right decisions for your business with all the right information(BALANCE)

  • Get the advantages of a big firm at a predictable cost

Team with a law firm thatmoves at YOUR pace


Value Propositions

Take advantage of time-sensitive business opportunities with accessible and responsive local counsel.

Understand your options from all angles so you can confidently make the right moves to increase company value while mitigating risk.

Access personalized, quality legal counsel for your small to mid-size company.

Key Messages

  • Leverage our team’s unique combination of business and legal qualifications and real-world experience to find the right balance of business opportunity and risk before you make a decision.
  • We give the legal perspective a voice on the executive management team, so you can increase company value while mitigating risk.
  • We know how important leading-edge technologies are and we understand their value to your business.
  • Know that your legal counsel is a always just a phone call away, with 24-hour turnaround on all your pressing questions.
  • With a one-week or less commitment on deliverables, you always know that your legal needs are keeping pace with your business requirements.
  • Our unique ability to explain legal risks and implications in plain English helps you make better, more informed decisions.
  • We leverage the latest technologies to serve, engage and promote our clients in today’s fast-paced business environment.
  • Integrate legal counsel into your management team in a flexible, cost-effective manner, no matter the size of your company or your particular legal needs.
  • Your business is dynamic, which means your legal needs are always changing too. With XX on your team, you don’t have to worry about billable hours and unexpected fees—so you can pick up the phone anytime, anywhere.
  • Take advantage of flat-fee services, so you can factor the legal perspective into every decision, without worrying about an ‘uh-oh’ at the end of the month.

Key Proof Points / Differentiators

adapt for your elevator pitch1
  • Begin with core positioning statement
  • ______ offers __(products/services)_____ for ____(target audience)_______so they can _______________(benefits)________________________.
  • Bottom line: Add a memorable “tag” or flair to the end: tagline, mission statement, analogy.
  • Wrap up by repeating your company name and URL
  • An elevator pitch is meant to be spoken, so ensure you use words you feel comfortable saying! Once you learn it, you can adapt it by event/situation to whatever feels right.
elevator pitch example

“Alinga Bodywork provides massage and energy work for discerning clients who want to shift themselves out of neutral and get unstuck physically, creatively or emotionally. My clients leave feeling less pain, and more emotional balance, confidence and clarity. I like to say Alinga offers “pampering with purpose” so that clients physically feel refreshed but are also aligned in heart, body and intention. Take a look at www.alingabodywork.com”

what is your greatest asset

What is your “hook?”

What is the one thing that sets your business apart from others? Go back to your strengths and weaknesses, or your competitive differentiators to find the one thing that uniquely defines your business above all others. If you can’t boil your single greatest asset down to one thing that no other business can claim, you need to put more thought into your positioning, your product/services mix, or the audience you serve.

Review your strengths and your competitive differentiators, and your benefits from the previous questions. Write down the single greatest asset of your business.

What is the top item that will put your offerings in a unique market position? What is the one claim no one else can make in your market space? What unique asset benefits your customers the most and helps you stand out?

My greatest asset or differentiator is: _____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

brand deliverables architecture

Guide for all brand activities, it’s your “story narrative” telling Who you are, What you do and Why it matters

Positioning Statement

“Your headlines”: 3 lead messages which back up your story & demonstrate unique claims

Messaging Platform

Company & product names embodying the Positioning Statement


Visual representation of your brand including typefaces, logos, icons, graphics, colors

Style Guide

Visual Identity

Standardized “About Us” text for external use to ensure consistency and efficiency

Company Descriptors


Informal & formal responses to “What do you do?”

Elevator Pitch

Mission & Vision

Short emotional claim reflecting the positioning and creative advertising execution

Advertising Tagline

For Internal Use

For External Use

maintain messaging consistency

Consistency = Brand Memorability

A Key Messages Document includes:

  • Messaging Platform
  • Mission and Vision Statements
  • 30- second elevator pitch
    • Meant to be spoken, concise, describes you and your value
  • 25, 50 and 100 word company descriptors
    • to use when asked to put up a website link, at the end of a proposal document, etc.
  • Press boilerplate
    • for use at the end of press releases
  • Executive Biographies
  • Tagline
    • to accompany logo, creative, evokes emotion or goal (not necessary, but nice)
copywriting truths

Being a good writer and being a good copy writer are not necessarily the same thing. If you can craft a good story or cobble together an interesting metaphor, you’re halfway there. But copy writing is more about creating effective, engaging, non-trite text that makes people want to buy things. And hopefully also makes them feel like they know, like, and trust the person who is selling these things.

You probably won’t write great copy the first time you try. Or even the first 100 times you try; just like anything worth doing it takes lots and lots of practice.


Copyblogger // Thesaurus.com // Rhyme zone rhyming dictionary

Content courtesy of Sarah Von Bargen, www.yesandyes.org

copywriting tips

Create two folders: Writing I Like, Writing I Don’t Like

  • Every time you encounter writing you react strongly to - be it an article, a blog post, sales copy - save that URL into one of these folders. Part of being a good copy writer is honing in on your writing voice. You’ll get closer to that when you recognize other voices you like or dislike.

Practice, practice, practice

  • Write three sample taglines and then ask your friends or coworkers which they like best. Try the same with email subject lines, blog titles, product names. If you’re really ambitious you can split testthese.

Consider how you like to be talked to

  • How do you feel when you receive a traditionally written press release? Or when you read sales copy that asks you three questions about problems in your life and the offers you a solution? If these formats work for you - then you should write like that! But if you prefer copy with humor and spunk, or you appreciate the art of the “soft sell,” then maybe that’s how you should be writing.

Content courtesy of Sarah Von Bargen, www.yesandyes.org

communications required

Branding is about two-way communication with your customers. If you have no way to talk to them, and more importantly, listen to them, your brand will never grab their loyalty. Go back to your ideal audience profile and compare notes. How should you be communicating with them? Where are they, what information do they need, and which vehicles do they prefer? Which communication avenues will they actually pay attention to? Are they online, offline, etc.? What is the bare minimum?

Most, but not every business these days, needs a newsletter, for example….depends on your market.

Also, your current customers have a different relationship with your brand than new prospects who have no experience with you. Those two groups have different communication needs.

content marketing

A messaging platform will help you in your content marketing efforts

Content marketing is an umbrella term encompassing all marketing formats that involve the creation and sharing of content in order to engage current and potential consumer bases. Content marketing subscribes to the notion that delivering high-quality, relevant and valuable information to prospects and customers drives profitable consumer action. Content marketing has benefits in terms of retaining reader attention and improving brand loyalty. (Wikipedia)

why you should consider a blog

Blogging will:

  • help establish you as an expert in your field
  • help you make connections and network like cah-razy
  • give you a platform to talk about your talents, skills, products
  • consume a semi-significant amount of time

Blogging will not:

  • make you rich quickly
  • make you famous on the internet quickly

Content courtesy of Sarah Von Bargen, www.yesandyes.org

blogging tips

How often should I blog?

  • You don’t need to blog every day, but you should blog at least once a week, preferably at the same time, on the same day. Showing your readers that you’re reliable translates to everything else in your business - why would they want to work with someone who’s so disorganized they can’t even blog regularly?

What do I write about?

  • Your area of expertise! The internet loves nothing so much as lists and how-to’s. If you’re a headhunter, write about how applicants can give good interview. If you’re a therapist, write about how someone can get past disappointment. If you’re a doctor, write about five ways to increase energy. Keep blog posts under 500 words (300 words is about the perfect length) and use headings, bolding, and bullet points to make posts easily scannable for the short attention span of most blog readers.

Content courtesy of Sarah Von Bargen, www.yesandyes.org

leveraging your blog

Networking with your blog

  • Your blog is also a great way to meet people and cross promote. Interview experts in your field, exchange guest posts with other bloggers in your niche, create link round up posts in which you highlight other bloggers’ posts that you think your readers would like. Make sure these experts, interviewees and highlighted bloggers know you’re talking about then - @mention them on Twitter when their post goes up.

Blogging and community

  • Take time to leave comments on other blogs in your niche and respond to comment on your own blog. Interact with your followers and readers on Twitter and Facebook. End posts with an engaging question or a request for input. Don’t be afraid to be yourself when you write - readers love to feel like they know bloggers.

Resources! Problogger(seriously, that’s pretty much the only resource you need)

Content courtesy of Sarah Von Bargen, www.yesandyes.org

week 3 homeplay
  • Identify your three main benefits and start populating your Messaging Platform
  • Roll up the three benefits into a Core Positioning Statement
  • Transform your Core Positioning Statement into an elevator pitch you would easily say.
  • Identify 7-10 major themes to create content around for your blog or possible reports/downloads
  • Start creating an editorial calendar by month around topics for the blog, newsletter, social media, etc. Come up with 3-4 Twitter or FB posts for each topic.
week 4 putting it all together
  • DISCUSS the role of mission and vision in brand, hiring, customer inspiration, partners
  • LEARN how to create a Marketing Plan
  • DISCOVER how typeface, color and imagery impact brand perception
  • EXPLORE how to work with designers, writers and consultants
  • DETERMINE how and when to pitch the media