It’s tempting to focus on traditional tactics like advertising or public relations to hit marketing goals and drive sales. But without connection to a broader brand strategy, these investments tend to fall flat. You experience much greater value when you start with your core brand narrative – what you do, how you do it and why. At Muse, we call this approach “message-first marketing.”
Start with your message and build around it.
Just like you can’t illustrate a novel without writing the book first, you can’t create strong campaigns and ads without a powerful message. Message-first marketing captures your purpose and competitive advantages and positions you to create captivating brand stories that fuel your marketing efforts.
The approach aligns with Simon Sinek’s Start with Why mantra, “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” If your marketing only emphasizes your WHAT (your products and services), people won’t understand your WHY (your core purpose). You capture their attention and interest with an authentic, inspirational message that connects with them at an emotional level. The concept is especially important for crowded industries where products, pricing and innovation look the same.
Strengthen your marketing
There are many more reasons to practice the message-first approach. Here are a few more advantages to keep in mind.
1. Make objective decisions
When all parties, including the marketing team, executive team and board of directors, buy in to the central messaging strategy, you can remove subjectivity from the brainstorming and decision-making process.
2. Anchor content in the true north
If you build a program that’s exclusively based on what you think your audience wants to hear, you’re headed for a brand identity crisis. Message-first marketing helps you choose topics that underscore your values and align them with buyer interests.
3. Build brand equity
Muse clients generally start with a brand positioning engagement to bring clarity around their WHY. For clients who are confident in their position, we fine tune their advantages and build a content strategy around it. You achieve authority status when your brand stories align customer interests with your brand position, effectively demonstrating the claims you make in the sell.
4. Amplify brand recall with repetition
The message-first approach doesn’t always drive immediate results – it takes time to build audience trust and confidence. But, if you continue to stay true to your message and repeat it, your prospects are willing to pay a premium for your products. Customers return to buy because you share their values. Press knocks down your door because you live, breathe and consistently communicate your unique perspective.
About the Author
Jackie Bebenroth is Founder and Chief Brand Advisor of Muse. She works alongside leading brands and executives to develop strategic positioning and messaging strategies that set the stage for long-term success. Her work, from local restaurant branding to six-figure global initiatives, has flown her around the country to speak on the art of content marketing. Jackie has earned a number of accolades, most notably a SXSW Interactive finalist award, the American Advertising Federation’s 40 under 40 award and Content Marketing Institute’s Content Marketing Leader of the Year.
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