I recently did a very short talk at The Network of Entrepreneurial Women monthly meeting on ways to power up your Essential Brand Message. I only had five minutes (yes – ANOTHER five minute talk opportunity/stressor) to bring real value to this group. So many people sought me out to tell me how much the appreciated the three tips I shared that I decided to share them with you all, too. Maybe you'll also find them handy.

Here's the audio, in case you prefer to listen to my five minute talk instead of read this post.

Your Brand Message is THE most essential part of your marketing program. It is even more essential than your logo (gasp! How can that be?!) because it DRIVES your whole logo creation process, as well as all other marketing efforts. Unfortunately, the actual brand message is often overlooked by small businesses who don't have a marketing team to handle that process. Not so for you now! Here is your Quick Guide to building a great brand message, broken down into two parts: Dig Deep and Say It.

I'm always talking about digging deep. That's because a soulful inquiry brings about the most powerful message. You simply can't get to really powerful messaging without a deep inquiry (the intensity can vary, depending on your “deep digging” prowess.)

Digging Deep involves three essential questions: 1. What do you stand for?, 2. What do you solve? and 3. What is your brilliance? If you can answer all three of those questions in your brand message (the internal version and your external version), you will absolutely magnetize your target market.

Let's explore them a bit.

1. What do you stand for?

Are you committed to leaving a minimal carbon footprint? How can you show this commitment in your messaging and business decisions? Are you all about family? How can you make it easier for me to bring my kids into your restaurant – and infuse that value into your marketing messages?

2. What do you solve?

Your customers don't care nearly as much about what you do as they do about how you make their life better. It's simply true (and as a consumer, that's true for you, too, I am certain) and you'll craft a way better message if you focus on telling them directly how their life will improve by doing business with you.

A local printer business where I live has the tagline, “Anger management for printers”. Brilliant.

3. What is your brilliance?

I am positive that you have excellent customer service and a high quality product. I am so sure of this that you can leave those phrases out of your marketing materials altogether. Use that freed up messaging space to tell me what makes you distinctive from all the other [fill in your business/title here] out there. If you are the home staging professional who knows how to use Feng Shui principles to improve home sales, make sure you let us know that!

Once you articulate to yourself what you stand for, what you solve and state your specific brilliance, craft yourself a very clear message. At this point, think of this as “for internal business use only” brand message. Use this message as a reference for everything you do in your  marketing planning. Then, once you have it refined by using that message in planning, craft yourself a clever brand message made for your target market (much to say about defining your target market – for another post) letting them know the answer to these questions.

“We are your neighborhood grocery store.” (Trader Joe's)

“Injury recovery treatment as part of your health care team” (Professional Massage Therapy)

“Creating positive change in people's lives through simple shifts in their space.” (Eco-Deco Designs)

Right now, buyers want to know they are getting two high-level things from the companies they support: Value and Values. Don't make them have to think too hard to see those things in your business. When I go to Trader Joe's, I am hit over the head every time with their Value and Values. I get good food – often gourmet food – at really good prices (Value.) Plus, my daughters get stickers, balloons, little tiny super-cute shopping carts and a kid-size bench for coloring pictures while I stand in line (Clearly, TJ's Values a family shopping experience – and boy, so do I!)

How can you revise your brand message to reflect your Value and Values more powerfully?