How many marketing leaders have a binder labeled “messaging,” covered in dust and buried in the corner of a shelf beneath a stack of more urgent projects? How many executives give presentations referencing vision statements or brand pillars that don’t quite fit the market assumptions or product features in place when they were written? How many content creators add notes to a Word file tracking new style rules, updated company boilerplate, and strategy decisions that aren’t formally documented elsewhere?
A B2B messaging platform unites teams with varied responsibilities around the strengths that define a company. It creates a shared language for more effective communication with prospective customers. And, done well, your messaging can make life much easier when developing content or making decisions that shape your brand.
Any organization launching a new product, evolving its business strategy, or confronting a new customer landscape can benefit by reevaluating its brand basics. Here’s how:
Do your research
Building a brand should involve more than meetings and wordsmithing. Survey your competitors’ language for commonalities to include, as well as overused, overhyped, or jargon-laden phrases to avoid. Review your customers’ websites and talk the way they do. Use interviews with your sales team for additional insight into your buyers and the messages that will attract their attention.
Because a messaging platform reflects the core elements of your business strategy, prepare for extensive feedback from leadership outside the marketing team. This often involves mediating different visions from different teams in the organization. Resolving those conflicts now will establish consensus and save time when setting the direction for marketing initiatives in the future.
Define who you are
Everyone in your office should have a consistent, meaningful answer ready when someone asks what your company does. With complex B2B products, though, that can be easier said than done. Begin crafting unified messaging for your company in broad terms and work your way down to the language you use to describe individual offerings. For most companies, this begins with a mission and/or vision statement defined by top leadership to formally define the company’s purpose in the market. Executives might also shape a brand promise as a more outward-looking statement of the usefulness and value customers can expect from your products.
Shape your narrative
From there, marketers take the lead by translating these aspirational foundations into more actionable documents. A positioning statement summarizes the company’s up-to-date market research and how the brand fits into the product landscape. Buyer personas give marketing and sales teams useful insight into the professionals who buy solutions within this market. These specifics can include firmographics based on sales data, plus demographics based on typical members of the buying committee, their personalities, positions, professional needs, and pain points. Anyone executing a marketing strategy can then look back to the positioning statement and personas to assure their work is aligned with the company’s goals
Refine these messaging components into the simplest language possible. This laser focus on the essentials of your organization will inform headlines, boilerplate for company collateral, and an elevator pitch that your colleagues in any department can remember. When messaging is stale or undefined, their response to people asking about your organization might be along the lines of, “We’re a technology company in logistics.” With an effective messaging platform, the answer is more powerful: “We make technology that lets international shipping companies find the fastest routes for deliveries”. The first is forgettable. The latter manages to describe the target market, the product, and why it’s valuable in a single sentence.
Bring it to life
Remember that dusty binder? Don’t let your messaging languish. Use it. Create or update brand pillars that outline the most important value propositions for your products and the organization as a whole. These offer another tool to help you consistently differentiate yourself and inspire customers with your content. Finally, refresh style guidelines for your copy and design to provide your team a single source of truth about your brand during content development. A messaging platform should be an actionable resource that aids day-to-day decision making for Marketing and Sales while aligning team members on the most important things your company brings to the market.
See how these pieces work together to define a brand and its value: Read PMG’s in-depth case study for Healthwise, a healthcare education organization that reimagined its branding for more effective customer engagement.