Key Message, Branding and Target Market
Your key message is an essential part of your positioning. It is the single idea that you are trying to get across – the one thing that will encourage customers to buy your product instead of someone else’s. It’s not necessarily about what you do, but how you do it.
To really understand how this whole concept works, turn it around. Listen to, read or watch one of the major company’s key message. Television commercials are probably the best medium to illustrate this point. Have you ever watched a commercial and thought to yourself “I don’t get it”? You can pretty much guarantee that if a key message does nothing for you, it’s because it was never intended to. Now, pick a commercial that really appeals to you. Take it apart. Why does it appeal to you? Can you, as part of a target market, pick out the key message? What is the one thing that they are appealing to and how did they send the message so you would receive it?
Let’s try taking a key message apart. One of my favorites is “Have It Your Way”. There’s a whole bunch of you out there that are singing the jingle right? That’s a powerful key message. But does it make you buy? Well, if having choices ranks high on your list of priorities, yes, it will have an impact when you go out to buy fast food. This particular message doesn’t appeal to me because speed and convenience rank much higher on my priority list. And you know what? That fast food chain doesn’t care if I like their key message or not because I am not part of their identified main target market. Even without me and the rest of the people that fall into my market group, they have sold billions of meals.
That fast food chain may have better tasting food. They may be able to serve a meal just as fast as everyone else and they may be even more conveniently located than their competitors. But, their target market wants customized fast food. That was the customer’s number one want and need, and so that one thing is what the fast food chain concentrated on getting across in their key message.
Think about what is most important to your customer. If you’ve done your research this will be easy. Make a list of everything your research has told you that your customers absolutely require. This could be anything from affordability to exclusivity, from custom-made to off-the-shelf. Rank the requirements from most important to least important. Your key message must speak to the number one need or want identified by your target. Every target market will have a different list that is very specific to their wants and needs. When you develop your key message, keep asking yourself if what you are saying tells your best potential customer that you can meet that need or want.
The way you get your key message out to potential customers is another story. You will use your key message as a headline in a news story, as an advertising header, as a jingle in radio or television advertising, as part of your introduction in your personal selling introduction, as a tag line on your promotional materials and as a slogan. Keep your key message brief and clear, and use it consistently. Your target market will thank you.
This article is courtesy of Katherine Huck. Visit her website: Keystone Design
August 9, 2005