Your brand is about one core thing. The moment you forget, you lose. Message design is challenging, but twice as hard for professional brands without a clear mission. It’s true for Google, the #4 Global brand of 2012, and it’s for you.
Every Business Has a Core.
No matter how big you get or how much attention you garner, if you forget who you are and what you really do for people, then you’ll lose yourself and the power behind your brand. It’s true for artist. It’s also true for every business regardless of size.
I remember how popular Michael Jordon was in the 90s. While he’s still a legend, untouchable in a lot of ways, there’s always a new talented athlete to take the modern role of Big Man On The Court, a position that comes with endorsement deals, cameo appearances and merchandising, to name a few. But the game is the main thing. At the end of the day you have to play to your strengths — message design is no different. Let’s consider Google for a minute.
Google’s Mission and Message
Founded in 1998, Google’s mission is to
“organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”
Their primary tool is the search engine.
As an IT company, however, Google is always testing new products. The company offers varied tools including — but not limited to— Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube and the Android cell phone.
Even though Google constantly launches a new beta product — in my mind it’s all about the search. It’s the search feature inside their email service and their broadcast platform (YouTube) that I appreciate the most.
And while it may appear that Android exists to compete with the iPhone, more than 120 million people in the US own a smartphone. And since mobile search was expected to double from 2011 to 2012 (Visual.ly), it sounds like a growing market of more people searching for information — and that’s Google’s lane all day long (at least that’s how they see it).
Effective message design is driven by the same principle
To be effective you have to be clear. And in my book clarity begins with questions.
- Who are you? and
- What do you do for people?
Your answers are the beginning of your message design process.
If you don’t know who you are and what makes you valuable to others, then it’s just about impossible to consistently communicate that information. Information that fuels your marketing.
Below are two simple lessons in message design that smaller businesses can learn from Google.
#1 — This one decision is a serious time saver.
Stop using what doesn’t work. It’s true that Google constantly launches Beta products, but they consistently shut down tools and projects that fail to produce the desired effect.
In your branding process you may create several taglines or other messages about your product. But if you discover that your audience uses different language, then let your phrases go and start using theirs.
#2 — Make moves to expand without getting lost.
The main thing doesn’t have to be a small thing. Google says,
“Our hope is to bring the power of search to previously unexplored areas.”
You can make big moves and maintain brand focus.
For the small company look for people who have never experienced, but need what you have. You could expand into another market but offer the same primary services.
Or you could offer your current target market complementing products. You sell shoes, for example. Well, what about designer socks near the register — and polish. Shoe stores have been doing this for years. Why not your brand? There is always somewhere to go and you don’t have to lose yourself to get there.
The moment Google forgets the main thing, then the brand is in danger. And the same is true for any company, product or person. Regardless of size, message design must come from a core product and core conversation.
Remember who you are and what you do for others. Make it your business to consistently design your marketing message around that core understanding. Your brand, your positioning, your business depends on it.