Content Marketing

What Is a Message Framework and How Do You Create One?

CopyPress

Published: January 27, 2022

Why does your brand exist? This may feel like a daunting question to answer, especially for new brands or those trying to reinvent themselves. Luckily, engaging in creating a message framework can help you discover the answer to this question, and prepare you to create larger plans for marketing and sales. In this article, we cover:

 

What Is a Message Framework?

A messaging framework is a written representation of the selling points that make your brand unique in its market. It’s also a systematic way to define the value that your company, products, or services bring to customers and clients. The messaging framework may include a collection of documents, guides, and written pieces to help your company share its main ideas across different platforms to best connect with the target audience.

A framework tells the “what,” “why,” and “how” of your business to the target audience. It gives a simple way to answer those potentially tricky questions like “what does your company do?” or “why does your business exist?” A successful message framework is easy to understand for both the creators and the public.

Why Do You Need a Messaging Framework?

If people don’t understand what you do, why should they engage with you? Going through the process of creating a messaging framework lets you better understand what value your company brings to the market. This can help you increase brand trust and loyalty. The framework lets you create a strong value proposition and a clear, enticing message to share that proposition with the public. It also serves as the foundation for your content marketing plan and strategy.

A messaging framework can allow you to present your brand consistently across channels, such as on your social media feeds, website, and mobile apps. This makes it easier for your employees and stakeholders to share information about your company with clients and customers. It can help them feel prepared and more confident when providing feedback. The framework also helps if you work with third-party employees or customers, such as freelancers or partners. It can guide them to stay in line with company values even if they’re not immersed in them full time.

purple, yellow, red, and green sticky notes thumbtacked to a blue grey board

Image via Unsplash by @patrickperkins

Who Uses Messaging Frameworks?

A successful message framework can give all your stakeholders a sense of purpose within the company. It can help them understand how their efforts contribute not just to brand value, but to the greater good of the business. Some departments that use the framework include:

  • Communications: The group may use the framework to highlight the most important points about a company, such as goals, values, and strategy, in company documents like newsletters or announcements.
  • Content creation: These creatives may use the framework to create content that accurately reflects brand goals and values, such as blog posts, video scripts, social media posts, and podcasts.
  • Human resources and recruitment: This group may use the framework to encourage people to apply for positions within the organization, create training and onboarding materials, and write job descriptions.
  • Marketing and advertising: This department may use the messaging within campaigns to share the best pieces of the company with the target audience and persuade them to understand why this brand is better than competitors.
  • Public relations: This department may use the messaging framework for talking points in interviews, writing press releases, or speaking with journalists or media representatives.
  • Sales: This team may use the framework to answer customer questions, highlight the benefits of certain products or services, and persuade people to make purchases from the company.

 

What Are the Components of a Messaging Framework?

There isn’t one specific messaging framework template or guide that fits every business. But there are certain areas to consider when you’re creating your own:

Brand promise

Your brand promise is a claim you make to your customers about your products or services. Upholding that promise can increase customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. It’s usually short and may even work as your company’s tagline or slogan.

Consider the GEICO Insurance tagline: “15 minutes or less can save you 15% or more on car insurance.” With this statement, the company promises that you can save a specific amount of money on car insurance in a defined time frame. Not every brand promise has to be this specific. But knowing what you want your customers to experience and what they should be able to expect from doing business with you falls into this category.

Value Proposition

The value proposition summarizes the important things that your company can provide to clients or customers who use your products or services. An effective one can help increase your conversions and take someone from a lead or a prospect to an actual customer. The value proposition can help you write your brand promises or other content for your marketing strategies.

Target Audience

It’s important to know exactly who your audience is and who you’re targeting with the framework so that you’re making it as clear, concise, and interesting as possible. If you already know your target audience, then you’re set, and you can simply add it to your document. If you don’t, it’s time to define who you’re trying to reach with your brand. You can do this by reviewing data about your customers, subscribers, users, and followers. Consider the following demographic and behavioral information when engaging in this process:

  • Location
  • Audience age
  • Gender identification
  • Relationship status
  • Socioeconomic status and income
  • Pain points or problems to solve
  • A customer’s preferred way to shop
  • A customer’s preferred way to receive information

 

Positioning Statement

The positioning statement tells you what makes your product or service better or different from the competition. It doesn’t just tell you why your brand is different by why that matters to your target audience. The positioning statement can answer the questions customers may have about your brand and explain how your products or services can solve their problems.

Customer Personas

Customer personas are fictional representations of members of your target audience, like characters in a book or a television show. You can use the data found when researching your target audience to create them. They often represent your ideal customers, the people who are most likely to buy from you or work with your company under the right conditions. Customer personas can be very detailed so that you learn as much about your potential audience as possible.

Mission Statement

A company mission statement helps define your brand’s purpose, not just in the market, but in the world in general. It may tell how you want to improve the world with your offerings or what exactly you do to make customers’ lives better.

Different from the brand promise, a company mission statement is often longer and contains more information about company values and goals. While you may include the brand promise in your mission statement, that’s only one line of a larger piece. Companies often use mission statements for internal and external communication, meaning they’re available both to the target audience and stakeholders.

Brand Voice Description

Your brand voice is how your company appears and sounds to the public in external communications. It’s often described by adjectives. Popular ones include “friendly” or “direct.” It’s helpful to record exactly how you want your brand voice to appear in communications within your message framework. This makes it easier for all employees and stakeholders to convey that exact persona when dealing with the public. Consider writing examples of sentences, answers, or other lines of text that may illustrate phrasing and word choice that fit your desired brand voice.

How To Create and Implement a Message Framework

Use these steps to learn how to create and implement a message framework with your company:

1. Review Your Current Messages

Unless you’re starting a brand new business, you likely already engage in marketing, advertising, content writing, and sales with your company. That means you probably already have some forms of customer-facing messaging out in the world. You can use these messages as a starting position by auditing your current materials. How are they performing? Which ones have gotten the best response and why? If you don’t have to start from scratch, this information can give you insights into your audience, display your public appeal, and show you areas in which you can improve through more research and better communication.

2. Research the Competition

Beyond reviewing your own communications, it can also be helpful to research what the competition is doing and saying with their messaging. Discovering what those companies promise customers and the value they claim to provide can help you see how your brand compares. This can help you spot areas where your brand is unique and draw on those factors for inspiration when crafting your messages.

3. Talk to the Team

Your product designers, subject matter experts, and other people involved with creating and implementing your products and services may have a lot to offer to help you explain your brand value. Hold meetings with employees and stakeholders from different groups and areas of the company. Get them to explain what they do and what your products and services do in simple terms. This can help you make sure you’re getting the most accurate information from the people who know it best.

4. Write a Thesis

Like you may do for a research paper or article, start your writing by creating a thesis, or a brief statement that summarizes the purpose of your framework. This is the main idea. What do you want people to take away from your message if they can only learn one thing about your company? A thesis can help you understand the big picture of what your messaging can achieve.

5. Add Audience Data

Summarize what you know about your target audience. If you don’t have a clear picture of the individuals that make up your target audience, now is the time to conduct that research. It’s also the time where you can craft customer personas if you don’t have them, or refine existing ones to better fit things you’ve learned about your audience during research.

6. Describe Your Benefits

List the features and factors that make your brand, product, or service unique. Some call these message pillars because they’re the foundation and support of your entire framework. These pillars include not just what makes your company different, but why.

For example, if a cell phone company lists that its products come with a built-in stand, that’s a unique feature, but not a message pillar on its own. But discussing that the brand includes the stand to make it easier to hold video conferences on your phone from anywhere could be a message pillar because it provides more detail. This section may also be where you draft your brand promise or mission statement if you haven’t done so already to further guide your message pillars.

7. Write a Value Proposition

Using your message pillars, mission statement, and brand promise as guides, create your value proposition. Keep it concise and share what makes your brand unique and why. This is one of the most important pieces of your framework, so don’t be afraid to draft and edit it multiple times before publication.

8. Create a Draft

Create a comprehensive draft document of your framework based on the information and data collected and the sections you’ve explored. You may use a template, like one of the sources listed below, or create a document of your own. The draft doesn’t have to be perfect, but make sure it includes all the elements and pieces important to your brand.

9. Add Branding Details

The messaging framework can go beyond the written word. Because it’s part of your branding, you may also choose to include additional elements to the framework that people can associate with your brand and for stakeholders and employees to access in the future. These may include the written description of your brand voice. It may also include a style guide—or a list of grammatical and syntax rules to follow when writing for your brand—your iconography, typography, and color palette.

10. Review and Edit the Drafts

After creating the draft, meet with your team again and let them review the document. This can help you make sure you’re presenting the information accurately in a way that makes sense. Ask for feedback to help polish the final copy.

11. Test the Framework

After editing and revisions, test the messaging with customers. This can come in different forms, such as updating the brand promise on your website, introducing new questions for customer services representatives, or creating new pieces of content. You may engage in A/B testing to see if certain iterations of messaging work better than others to spark interest or create more conversions.

12. Share the Framework

Once you’ve tested and completed the document, share the framework with your company at large. This is the guide everyone from multiple departments can use to run the business, so it’s helpful for all of them to have a copy. Consider making the guide and all its components available in print and digital forms to meet all preferences and needs.

Brand Message Framework Templates

If you’re looking for help to start your first messaging framework document, consider one of the following templates:

 

Crafting your message can be an important part of setting the foundation for other areas of your business. When done correctly, creating a message framework can provide strategic guidance, consistent branding across channels, and even potentially secure more conversions from customers and clients.

CopyPress

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