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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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?
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.