Branding is about owning a word in the mind of the customer.
Having a simple to understand and remember position, separate and distinct from all other competition.
It’s not about saying something short, dumbing down or using sound bites. It’s about prioritising the core message which should be both simple and profound. Proverbs are the ideal in doing this, like “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you; a one sentence statement so profound that you could spend a lifetime learning to follow it.
You can build on top of schemas to leverage existing knowledge, like describing Speed as Die Hard on a bus, or being the test crash dummy of online marketing, as with Pat Flynn.
A good core message helps customers understand and remember your brand, while also helping employees decision making. As with Southwest Airlines’s core message being THE low fair airline, customers know what southwest are all about, while employees know what intent should drive their decision-making when it comes to a choice of say, putting extra filling in the sandwiches or not.
Commander intent is used in much the same way by the Army, a simple, plainly-worded statement that summarises every military order, to ensure everyone understands the underlying tactic to be accomplished.
Journalists would describe it as making sure you’re not burying the lead, but instead putting it front and centre of communication, as if you might be cut off at any time.
Doing this prevents decision paralysis caused by overload, and uncertainty. It’s harder to remember 3 things than it is one. One clear message is easier to communicate, to get across and strengthen.
Use this core message as the centerpiece of your marketing, but branding is also about driving it into the customer experience at every touch point. This means making it part of your value promise and then delivering it, consistently over and over. If you don’t deliver on your promise, your message will be undermined and diluted.
Your Core message doesn’t have to have all the information built it. Treat it like breadcrumbs. The low cost airline, doesn’t advocate saving money on airline maintenance and is not as accurate as “improving shareholder value” but is more usable and memorable, and guides employee decisions by knowing the commanders intent when making individual decisions.