Ask a PR Pro: How Do I Get the Most Out of My Messaging?

By Anne Briner

We regularly sit down with a member of Matter’s Precision team to ask how PR professionals can put best practices into action. This month, we asked Senior Content Writer Anne Briner how to get the most out of your messaging. Anne has led numerous value proposition and messaging development programs throughout her career at Matter as well as PwC, Haley & Aldrich and Firstsource.

What is brand messaging? Why should I prioritize it even when my marketing budget is tight?

Are you pouring what precious marketing budget you have into social media and web content that doesn’t get the clicks or engagement you need? Do you know your company offers the best product or service in the market, but you can’t get media attention? Are you finding your marketing budget get whittled away because your higher ups don’t see the value or return on investment?

We understand your frustration! With too much noise and too little time, your audiences make quick decisions on your relevance. Without strong brand messaging, you’ll have a tough time getting traction with your marketing, because you’ll have a tough time connecting with your audiences. This is why your brand messaging is not an add-on, but the foundation of your marketing efforts.

Your brand messaging sets you apart from your competitors with your key audiences. It reflects who you are and why you matter. It’s inspirational, focused, and doesn’t try to be everything to everyone. And it offers proof that what you say is true.

That all sounds good, but how do I decide what my messaging should be?

Your value proposition forms the nucleus of your brand messaging. It starts with the connection — which is about your audience, not about you! What are their challenges, what are their opportunities? What help do they need from a product or service to help them reach their goals?

You don’t want to address just their rational challenges and opportunities — “I need to find a faster/cheaper way to mow my lawn.” You need to create connection to show your audience you understand their emotional needs: “I have so little spare time, and I want to spend my weekends doing the things important to me, not mowing my lawn. Finding a dependable landscaping company is nearly impossible, and expensive.”

Don’t assume that emotional connection only applies to B2C companies. In fact, management consulting firm Bain & Company published research findings in Harvard Business Review that show appealing to the aspirational and emotional needs of a B2B customer gets – and keeps – customers.

Once you’ve established resonance with a (max three sentences) description of your audiences’ challenges, they are inclined to hear more. “You understand me. So how do you help me?” This is your opportunity to succinctly connect what you do to their challenges. Explain how you have a better (differentiated) approach to addressing those challenges — “Our RoboLawn electric robot lawnmower gives you back your weekend to do what you love. It is the answer to lawn maintenance time, effort and cost. It does the mowing for you… etc.”

So now, your audience is considering you. If they’re aware of who you are, they may decide to move forward. Chances are, though, they’ll want proof that you’ve delivered tangible results to people just like them — “Named one of the most innovative products of 2023 by Fast Company, the RoboLawn has earned a 4.8 average customer rating on Trustpilot.”

A few words about process: Don’t attempt to create your value proposition in your office or on a Zoom call with some co-workers. You want distinct voices who together give a complete picture of competition, proof points, why you win/lose business and where your company wants to be positioned in the future.

Your value proposition represents the whole company, so ultimately, everyone from the CEO to the latest hire needs to embrace it. Only then will you have a consistent, repeated brand voice in the market. And don’t forget the Voice of the Customer — you also need your audiences’ input to make sure your value proposition resonates and differentiates.

I need different messages for different audiences. How do I iterate between customers and investors without losing my main takeaways?

This is where it gets really fun (and where you get to bring the value proposition to life). From that value proposition nucleus, you can create tailored messaging for each of your audiences. You can speak to their specific challenges and show proof points that reflect what they care about.

Let’s take our RoboLawn mower company founders. They are looking to raise money from venture capital firms so they can expand operations. What do the VCs care about on an emotional and rational level? Clearly, they want a solid return for their investment. But they also want to have a connection with the companies they are investing in. They want founders and a story they believe in. And they want to look good and build their reputation for helping great ideas become blockbusters.

So, our friends with the RoboLawn might tailor their value proposition like this for VCs:

“This is a tough market for venture capitalists. The cost of capital is high and consumer spending has slowed. The stakes are higher for great ideas to become blockbuster hits. Not only is your capital on the line, but your reputation is as well.

“We get that. We want you to team up with us to help us shape the future of lawn care maintenance, to make it an irresistible value proposition for homeowners everywhere. Did you know the average American homeowner will spend over 384 hours of their lifetime mowing their lawn? Who wouldn’t want that time back?

“That’s why we developed our RoboLawn mower to cost effectively help homeowners do the things they want to do with the one thing that they don’t have enough of: time. They are working more hours to earn less money on an adjusted basis. With our programmable electric mower, they can go to their kids’ soccer games. They can play pickle ball. They can take a walk with their partner. All instead of mowing their lawn. The RoboLawn mower is truly ‘start it and forget it.’ It automatically returns to its weather-proof charging base as needed. It learns your lawn and you can set it to avoid certain areas, like your prize rose bushes.

“Is there a market for a new way to mow lawns? Indeed, there is. The U.S. lawn mower market was valued at USD 7.1 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach $9.7 billion by 2027, growing at a CAGR of 5.3%. Not only is there room for the RoboLawn mower to generate sales quickly, there’s room for it to dominate. It’s the game changer that will change homeowners’ Saturdays forever.”

We hope that gives you an idea of the importance of messaging that resonates, differentiates and speaks to what your audience cares about — along with proof to back your claims. If your brand needs help tending to your own messaging, we’ve got the lawncare messaging chops to help bring your brand to life! Reach out to our team today to learn more.