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How to create a successful corporate message

Mark Busse – 7 Comments

assfruit

Your corporate message consists of who you are, what you are selling and what differentiates you from your competitors. It is communicated to your target audience, the people who are going to purchase your product or service via many different avenues. They include your company name, your tagline, website, verbally in person, advertising and signage – to mention just a few.

Is your company communicating the right message, to the right audience in the right way that will assist in closing the sale? You may be asking your self “is what I am saying too much, too little or even the right kind of language for my audience to understand”?

To best answer these questions I am going to show a few examples that will hopefully help in answering your questions or may spark new questions that will lead to a clearer and more effective corporate message for your company.

There is nothing wrong on first look at this following sign for a wholesaler of fresh and frozen poultry, meat and seafood.

meat_1

When I first saw this sign I was excited, it was local to where I lived and the thought of buying wholesale appealed to me. Then I read the rest of the sign. Suddenly I was not too enthused.

meat_2

The fact they also make dog food put the quality of the meat into question and was an instant turn off (although I was excited about photographing it for this article).

Joking aside, there is nothing wrong with this sign if it communicates effectively to their target audience. I am obviously not their target audience.

It is unrealistic to think that your corporate message will resonate with everyone, it will not. Focus your time and efforts on having it communicate effectively with your target audience.

Once you have defined who your audience is, create a user profile of them. Are they male or female, age, sexual preference, nationality, income bracket, education, what do they do in their spare time, what do they wear, what vehicle do they drive, are they married, have kids or have pets. The best way to understand your target audience is to talk with them. Find out what type of language (verbal and pictorial) communicates effectively to them.

Unless you are a very skilled communicator and writer, hire a professional to help you sculpt the right messaging. I believe the person who created the ‘Ass Fruit’ sign at the top of this article could have used some professional assistance. I am quite confident that they are not actually selling Ass Fruit (even though it seems like a good bargain at only a dollar per bag) and that even the clientele of this Asian grocery store wouldn’t buy this product… although I may be wrong.

This following sign successfully communicates it’s message effectively. It is for an electricity company, and they are warning you not to enter the designated area.

danger

It doesn’t get much clearer than that. But, what if you don’t read English? The company accompanied the wording with an image that clearly communicates the message to all non-English readers and even accentuates the message to those who understood the written message.

electric

In summary, they are saying – Don’t. It will hurt. A lot.

As we live in a fast paced society you only have a few seconds to impress someone. As your company name is often the first point of contact you want it to impress right off the start.

It is similar to being in a book shop and looking at all the book covers, wondering which one to purchase. Does the title grab you, does the image entice you and is the author someone you have previously heard of? These are all hooks to have the ‘potential’ buyer turn the book over to read more about the book, before committing to buy or to move onto the next book.

This is why it is critical to have a company name that is aligned with your corporate message. If you are going to open a restaurant you wouldn’t want a name that is off putting. Like this one:

lingering

Would you like your food to have a lingering flavor in your mouth (I wonder if they charge a premium for this)?

Your message has to be truthful and honest. If you are claiming that you have the best, fastest, cheapest widget in the world you better deliver. Because if you don’t people are unlikely to be a return customer. Additionally, they are likely to communicate their disappointment with friends, family and colleges, spreading a negative brand association with your company. This alone can cripple a company.

The following company is promising in it’s name that it sells the ‘best’ pizza. Firstly, would you eat there and secondly, do you really think it would be the best pizza of your life?

pizza

There is a lot of work that has to be undertaken in creating the right corporate message. Also, once you have perfected it, the market may shift and you may have to adapt your message and your whole communication platform. But where do you start?

My suggestion is to consider the following questions:

• Who are you and what is your story?
• What are you selling?
• Who are you selling it to?
• Why should they care?
• Who is your competition?
• How do they communicate about their product or services?
• What differentiates you from your competition?

From your research and answers start to think about your corporate messaging. Hire a professional branding and communication company to help you get it right. There will obviously be an expense for this. But, if it can prevent your ass fruit from having a lingering flavour, then it may be the best investment your business will ever make.

7 Responses to “How to create a successful corporate message”

  1. Alberto

    Thanks for your site.

    To me, the fact that someone that offers meat also says they also make dog-food suggests that they will have less of a reason to try to sell me things that are not optimal. They “sell” meat and they “make” dog food. That, to me, conveys the idea that they trim the meat and are not sorry about it, because they can then retain the value, instead of having to throw it away.

    I get your idea, but just wanted to show how the same sign might ellicit a different response in a “cynical” person like me.

    Furhter, the idea of a “lingering flavor” sounds good to me, provided the flavor was good to start with.

    As to the pizza, I might think that what they save in renewing their canopy they can spend in the best pizza ingredients. When I see expensive looking publicity, merchandise, etc. for inexpensive products I tend to think I’ll have to pay for the publicity (take Pizza Hut, for example) either in money or in quality. I would rather eat in a “family” looking pizza place, provided it is clean and smells good inside.

    Now, completely off-topic: I had a situation very similar to “the case of the missing 20$ bill…”

    When making a claim at an insurance company, I was sitting at the desk of a “front line” employee and had some minor disagreement. I politely asked him his name, and he only gave me his first name, which was, obviously, not what I wanted, given that we were having a disagreement and I had just told him that I felt he was not treating me correctly, so I asked him to write down his full name, including surnames (in Spain we have two). Instead, he chose to call a “senior” employee, who entered the room, did not acknowledge my presence (not to mention saying hello or introducing himself), remained standing, only listened to the junior employee’s story, without ever looking at me, and then leaned over me and, pointing his finger to the door, ORDERED that I leave the room and seat in the alley to wait to be seen by the Manager (by the way, the word used in Spanish was “el Director” the same name given to a “Principal” in school and the phrase was formulated as it would have been in a school if I had been a child waiting to be reprimanded by “el Director”). I did not move my chair back to stand up, as I normally would when having somebody in front: Instead just leaned forward to center my weight on my feet (which he was almost stepping on), looked down at him from my 10 cm. extra of height at the very small distance HE had forced on me, and asked him in a soft voice whether he was asking or ordering me to do so, so that I could decide whether I needed to call the police to tell them I was being coerced (there is such a crime in our criminal system: “delito de coacciones”). He stepped back and said he was asking, so I replied that, since he was asking, I would answer, and my answer was “No, I am not going to wait anywhere for anybody. I am going to the toilet, and when I come back I expect “Cesar” (the junior) will have finished the paper work for my claim, following the usual procedure. Then, I will walk out of this office and consider whether I will use the phone to cancel all my policies with your company, and when “customer service” calls to ask why, I will explain. I also would like you and Cesar to write down your names in a piece of paper so that I can take them with me when I leave, but it will not be necessary, if you choose not to. Thanks”.

    When I returned, my claim had been processed, and the manager was waiting for me. He introduced himself and politely asked me if I would mind going with him to his office, where he listened to me, apologized, praised his fellow employees’ usual attitude but acknowledged that they had not acted correctly in this case, and said he was to blame for not having shown them how to act in such cases, and if I wanted to file a complaint, he would be very happy to help me with all the paper work. I said: “No. I am sattisfied. I will see what happens next time I have to come here”.

    What a difference. Instead of leaving with a horrid impression of the company, I left with an excellent impression: they were smart enough to have managers that act correctly, upholding both the company’s reputation and their fellow employee’s. I was sure (I have been “managed” and been a manager myself) that, same as he had shielded them from me, he, being a good manager, would now be reprimanding them for their stupid behaviour, but not in front of customers.

    Next time I visited them (I had to every 2 weeks during my illness), Cesar was extremely polite, he appologised and I have never seen the pushy fellow again.

    As you will notice, English is not my mother tongue and I write “loooong” comments, so please accept my appologies if this was boring or not clearly expressed.

    Regards,

    Alberto.

    Reply
  2. ted letvinchuk

    Greetings Matt, the Best Pizza really inspired me to partake in their product offering.

    Regards, Ted.

    Reply
  3. Matt SamyciaWood

    Hey Alberto

    Thank you for your response.

    In reference to your comments on the meat and dog food sign, I don’t relate to your comments as cynical, the sign obviously appeals to you and therefore you are more likely their target audience than I am.

    As far as your comment on the pizza restaurant: “I would rather eat in a “family” looking pizza place, provided it is clean and smells good inside”. Looking at the exterior of the restaurant, does it give you confidence that it will be clean on the inside and that the food will be made from the best ingredients? It doesn’t for me.

    Reply
  4. Dolores

    Love this article. As a business owner, I have always wondered: “What were they thinking??!” when I see signs like “Risky Business” as the name of a supposedly fresh seafood shop. I don’t know how good the seafood is there — never tried it — I didn’t want to “risk” it!

    Reply
  5. chris morrow

    Excellent post. I have to admit, the “Ass. Fruit” picture had me laughing for a good minute or so 🙂

    Growing brand awareness and a good image is a difficult thing to do, for sure, and this is a great article. I find that beating out the competition is the hardest part of this process, simply because (unless you’re in a very unique market) there are always a million other guys trying to do the same thing you do, but cheaper.

    Reply

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