When we think about what great brand messaging can do, it comes down to one thing, really. It allows us to sing the same words – alone or in unison – even if the tune changes. Your story gains strength and becomes evergreen as you tell it and as others tell it on your behalf. Craft yours carefully.
Everywhere you go online, content strategy ‘experts’ are making a lot of noise from their various corners of the web. They’re all singing a variation on a song that goes something like this.
SEO’s evolving, getting more complex
Google shifting algorithms, changing all the bets
Analytics point at bottom lines, but measurement’s a mess
Your content’s tied to all of it, so you’d better have the best
In content related professions (think writing, photography or graphic design), the devil in the craft has long been named Subjectivity. As algorithms and analytics add their filters, the devil has gained a new name. Results.
What a relief.
This may sound like a question from someone struggling with a mid-life crisis. It isn’t. (Though that’s a natural question to ask facing the back half of the hill). The question relates to your brand strategy. The answer reveals how well it represents you, your team and your efforts.
Your company is a lot like your Self. (The capitalization is purposeful. We’re talking about your whole person here, body and soul in the world.) I’m going to oversimplify the analogy, but for the purpose of making a point about your brand, hang with me just a second.
Startups are like babies. They’re new, they demand attention 24×7, and even though they don’t have a ton of deep personality yet, they’re still really interesting.
Come a little farther on the journey, and you have your mid-sized companies – the teenagers. They have proven their ability to exist, they have some pocket money, a community and a sense of what to do with their life. While they are doing interesting things, they may not generate as much attention as the fresh faced babies.
And then you have your grownups. The Fortune XXX brands. They’ve been around the block and they know who they are. So do other people. They can tell people what to do and most of the time, people listen. They’re probably pretty flush. The babies and teenagers use them as examples when they’re dreaming and scheming.
As we mature as people, we work to control what others think of us, how we look, what we do, and who we are deep down inside. Your brand is no different. It matures from the outside, on the surface and – most importantly – from within. Let’s break it down.
Last weekend, my family went camping. We hiked around waterfalls all day Saturday, camped overnight waaay back in the woods and returned Sunday seriously in need of showers and naps. (Such is camping.) It was Father’s Day and the US Open (add Free Beer Delivery and it would have been the trifecta of male excellence), so the husband was happily parked in the den. The kids were wiped out from my slight over exuberance of the days prior, so they were glad to lay around. That left me to handle basic survival elements like laundry, tidying up and hitting the grocery.
Everybody can write. Just like everybody can tell a joke or dance. It’s just that some people do it more effectively than others. Some of us should keep our acts of dancing, joke telling and writing to pure self fulfillment.