I’m sure you’ve been out at a party or an event and found yourself in the middle of a conversation with someone who suffers from diarrhea of the mouth–an overwhelming need to tell each and every useless detail about a given topic. While the person tries to relay a story in earnest, you have completely tuned out. What’s going on is that person is either over talking the subject, or not connecting the idea to you in a way that is meaningful. Either way the experience is uncomfortable and boring and can it is taking every fiber in your being to stop yourself from checking your watch.
Poor communication skills are just annoying in a social setting, but in business it can cost you. Businesses have a few seconds to draw it’s audience in, and a few moments more to deliver a brand message. So the ability to tell that brand message well is critical.
The key to speaking is to understand your listener. Every decision you make should stem from a solid understanding of what motivates and appeals to your audience. I want to give you my personal formula that I use anytime I try to convey and important brand message. It is a series of questions I ask myself each time I attempt to communicate on a business level. I even use it when crafting an email. (Feel free to take my formula and run with it!)
There are four basic elements to delivering a brand message well: 1) The Header, 2) The Sub-header, 3) The Body, and 4) The Recap or Call-to-Action. Each element is important to delivering the kind of brand message that makes an impact on your audience.
1) The Header is your opening pitch–batter up! The purpose of a title is to draw your audience in. When I craft a title I come up with whatever I know will be effective, that won’t also hurt my brand. In my neck of the woods a tax agency called ‘Liberty’ uses grown men dressed up in Styrofoam drag (as the Statue of Liberty) to flag down passing drivers. To the passing cars, that guy in a dress serves as that company’s headliner, because he is what draws in the client. It’s goofy, but it works for them. When creating a title, ask yourself these questions:
(a)-Who Is My Audience?
Lets say you’re selling an imaginary bottle of iced tea in Mississippi. You are appealing to Southerners who call is “sweet tea”, so an appropriate title
‘Bottled Sweet Tea’
Kinda boring, huh? What can you do to give it a little sex appeal? Next ask yourself:
(b)-What is Important to My Audience? What appeals to them?
Is it a Fresh Taste? Authenticity? Organic Ingredients? The Price? List your ideas, if you have to. Once you have answered that question. Choose a header that reflects the answer. At this point you might change the title:
‘Bottled Sweet Tea‘ becomes ‘The Sweetest Southern Style Tea!’
2) Your Sub-Header is the next piece of information that in your message. The purpose of this is to further draw your audience in and then ground your message. Grounding means to cement the idea that you are trying to get across. This idea works across all mediums. When I’m writing an important email I know that what I write in my subject field works as the header, so that must mean sentence in the body of your email serves as your sub-header.
Think of your audience again. What is important to them? The sub-header is a chance for you to drive home a point that you have already made in your title. Lets go back to your imaginary sweet tea drinkers, and say that the most important thing to them is authenticity. You want to play up the appeal of an authentic drink. So how about:
Title: The Sweetest Southern Style Tea!
Sub-Header: We brew ’em fresh.
The Sub-Header may not be the most obvious choice, but by using southern dialect to write your title, you have accomplished a message of both authenticity and casual approachability.
3) The Body of your message should always be sweet and to the point. Don’t cloud your message with unnecessary detail. As much as you want to convey every detail of the business that you’re passionate about, that only serves to drown out the message. Remember, this is about them not you. Decide on the effect that you want your message to have. Do you want to come across as: Fun & Approachable or Professional & Serious? Once I understand the tone of my message I just write without any concern to punctuation or clarity. After that I repeatedly review my document until what is left on the page says all that I want it to say and not an ounce more!
4) The Recap or The Call to action finalizes your message. In business there is always a reason behind your attempt to communicate. If there is no reason, please scroll up immediately and begin this article from its onset. Your finish your message by either recapping your message in a succinct way or presenting them with a call-to-action.
The Call-to-Action is the point in which you can ask or influence your audience to do something. “Buy It Now” “Give Us A Call” or ” Make an Appointment” are some of the typical phrases. After directing your reader or listener, you want to make the next step as seamless as possible. Any frustration the audience feels may result in a loss of a sale. To put the download button, email link or shopping cart in plain view. If you are speaking at an event, have your CDs or DVD available right in their walking path. Don’t miss the opportunity to have your well-crafted message pay off.
The Recap: However, if the end result of your brand message is simply to convey information, then in a closing statement, add a message that ties everything in, and restate all of your key points, as I’m about to do below:
In today’s digitally distracted world sending a message is like guerilla warfare. You want to get in and get out with as little casualty as possible. The keys to sending a productive message is to 1) be cognizant of what motivates my audience and 2) keep your message short and sweet. Never forget your purpose. You are in business and you communicate to create income. That is nothing to feel guilty or shy about. Delivering an effective message is wonderful but there is no communication in business that is more important than closing the deal!
By the way, free to find me via email or twitter. I absolutely love to communicate!
Owner / Brand Designer
The J+AM Group
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