Size is no excuse. You’re small, but you’re still a brand that stands for and solves a specific problem. Below are three message design lessons that business owners can learn from Apple, the #2 global brand of 2012.
It just stopped working. So I replaced it with an Apple.
First an iPod instead of my mp3 player. Then a MacBook Pro instead of my thick laptop. And finally the iPhone instead of the BlackBerry.
In fact, I never meant to leave my Blackberry behind. But I went for a jog. My cell phone died. I didn’t like the Blackberry choices in the Verizon store at the time. And after a little encouragement from the salesman, a great deal, and one big breath, I walked away from my Blackberry. Leaving the store with my first iPhone, it seemed the transition to Apple products was complete. But I think it began long before the first purchase.
Everything surrounding your business says something about your professional brand.
And that conversation carries on long after you stop talking. For Apple products and the people who love to use them, it’s something about the way their tools work and the way we feel with them in tow.
Interbrand named Apple the number two global brand in 2012. While the brand is larger than Steve Jobs, a testament to smart marketing and effective message design, it was reshaped by his thinking and the team he built to help advance those ideas.
Steve Jobs understood that a brand is uniquely capable of humanizing a business,”
says Interbrand. I wonder. What is more human than authentic conversation?
Message design is driven by
- what you want to say,
- what your audience needs to hear and
- your response to their feedback.
It’s the branding decision you make before the logo design, before the website launches, before your packaging is finished. Message design is about figuring out what needs to be said, what wants to be heard and the best way to deliver it. And Apple is a master at this.
Below are three simple descisions that all personal and professional brands have to make.
1) Figure out what matters to your audience.
What you think is great about your product or service may not be what they think is great. Or your language may not match. What if you were the one who initially created the cell phone and you knew it was awesome but referred to it as “an immediate response communication device?”
Listen to your audience and get your language from them. The cell phone is really “a way to stay connected on the go” and then some. Effective message design has to connect with your audience.
2) Design a message that your audience can feel.
Initially the tagline behind the iPod was “1000 songs in your pocket.” I can feel that. It means my life is now a musical. I can DJ the family gathering on the spot if I want to.
Instead of technical language or industry jargon use conversation that means something to your audience. The iPod tagline taps into our need to feel free and spontaneous. Those 1000 songs can solve a problem when you find yourself in an emotional bind.
3) Advance a unified and consistent message.
Message design is incomplete if it fails to tap into an emotion. But once you do understand the problem your solution addresses and the language your audience cares about, then you have to be consistent.
Your branding message canNOT conflict. Use the same language, or variations on the same ideas, in your taglines, in your company bios, in your press releases, on your packaging, in your 30 second pitch.
while we may assume it’s the products that define Apple, it’s really a certain kind of thinking.”
In gritty language, you have to get your mind right before you can design an effective message. Every business and everybody is a brand. Every brand carries a message. So, design yours on purpose.
PHOTO: Woman with tablet and coffee by BigLake via Fotolia