“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.”
– John G. Diefenbaker, former Canadian Prime Minister
Happy Canada Day! We Canadians are renowned for our articulate, diplomatic and tactful style of communication. Sure, we pronounce words like “about,” a little differently than others, but we speak up for what we believe in, while being considerate of and empathetic towards the feelings of those around us; simply put, we’re all about effective communication. It only seems apt that the topic for today’s discussion pays an ode to our culture, so let’s talk about how to get the messaging right for your business.
Gone are the days when consumers respond to aggressive sales tactics and advertisements that play on their impulses. A stellar content strategy is the centerpiece to your company’s communication and marketing campaign. These days, consumers make educated decisions and are more likely to trust a brand with a message that resonates with them; people want and seek good, high quality content—this directly results in a new user converting to a loyal customer.
But first, what do we mean by “get your messaging right?” Well, do you have a one-of-a-kind business, but don’t know how to communicate it to your target audience clearly? Or are you in a complex industry and need to simplify your language so the layman understands what you do? Either way, your message plays a crucial part in how you’re perceived; it catches the attention of your audience, highlights the value your business provides its customers, along with what sets you apart.
Think about Apple’s iconic ad in 1997: instead of competing with other computers in its campaign, Apple zeroed in on its target audience (creatives, artists, misfits, unique thinkers), directly relating to them while addressing what sets Apple apart. Apple positioned itself as a brand that’s meant for originals, unlike any other competitors in the market. Another example is Volkswagen’s “Think Small” ad: while Americans were used to purchasing big vehicles, Volkswagen owned its uniqueness and made it cool to own a smaller car. In this digital age of social media, newsletters, and websites, it’s important now more than ever to get your messaging right, especially for the right medium. Bearing this in mind, here are a few ways to help you develop your message and make your content work for you:
- Define your objectives. What do you want to accomplish through this communication? Are you looking to raise awareness? Inform? Persuade? Or do you want your audience to take action? Your message will be defined by what you want to get across to your audience, and how you choose to do that—knowing this will set the tone for your message.
- Identify and understand your target audience. It’s important to understand who you’re targeting. Have you narrowed down your target customers? Do you know the segment well, including demographic (age, gender, income), psychographic (motives, beliefs, priorities), geographic (location), behavioral (need behind purchase), and usage rate (frequency of use)? If not, draw up a buyer persona, it’ll help you understand your prospective customer well, along with their interests, beliefs, and drive behind their decisions. Identifying and understanding your target audience allows you to develop a relatable message that will hook them in and pique their interest.
- Develop your key message. Now that you have a good idea of who you’re targeting, it’s time to sit down and figure out what you want to say. This could vary from communicating your company’s USP and highlighting the benefits of your product or industry to explaining why your brand is better than the competitors. Keeping in mind your objective and audience, your key message will communicate the content of what you’re trying to see, even if it’s not in those exact words.
- Choose the right medium. So you’ve figured out what you want to say. Now you have to determine how you want to say it, which depends on your creativity and the medium. Your content/copy will vary depending on which mediums you choose. Social media includes short-form copy, along with eye-catching visuals, whereas a blog article would have long-form copy. An advertisement needs to be completely out-of-the-box and innovative to hook the readers/viewers. Keep in mind, you want to choose the medium that gives you direct access to your target audience. This means if you’re targeting millennials, choose the social media platform they’re most on like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Your content will have to be tweaked according to the medium.
- Be authentic. Lastly and most importantly, be authentic in your communications. Gone are the days when consumers were OK with aggressive marketing tactics. Now, consumers care about brands with a genuine and unique voice and an authentic representation of the brand and what it stands for. Be real and relevant when you interact with your audience and maybe take a piece out of the Canadian culture: be empathetic.
If you’re a small/medium-sized business or an entrepreneur who needs marketing and communication support without making a hole in your pocket, reach out to our team at Evolve Business Advisory. We provide a full service marketing team for a fraction of the cost as part of our business cultivation services. We may have operations internationally, but we’re Canadian at heart—this is our way of giving back to our community.