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Inspirational talks on how to send a better brand message

10 Minute Read

Lori HilContributor

Is your brand sending the right message? You know why you are in business and what you stand for, but it can take a bit of work and thought to make sure you are conveying that to your customers. What you say and how your customers and potential customers receive your message is crucial to the success of your business. That is why Cordial is dedicated to helping brands send a better message.

There are five important keys behind better messaging:

We will now explore each one with some inspiring professionals in the field doing the work.

Five mandates for sending a better brand message

Brene Brown on Empathy

1. Show empathy.

The ability to empathize — to understand what another is feeling — is taught in childhood. Although it might not come naturally, it is an important social skill that builds our emotional intelligence. Empathy can help your brand understand what customers’ true needs are.

How can a brand exercise empathy? By feeling with people and looking at what is beyond the surface level — and in essence embracing kindness in their messaging.

Feel with people.

Speaker and researcher Brené Brown talks about how empathy is different from sympathy. Sympathy says, “I feel sorry for you, but I’m not you.” So it separates. But empathy on the other hand says, “I am with you.” It brings together.

Empathy is feeling with people.” — Brene Brown

Hear the talk: Brené Brown on Empathy

In personal relationships, empathy requires vulnerability. In brand messaging, empathy will require vulnerability, too. Show the humanness behind your brand in appropriate ways. Brands can learn to recognize the emotions behind the needs of their customers and work to meet those needs with kindness, not judgment.

Hear the thing underneath.

In a world where suspicions run high, a brand that can that listen can stand out and build customer loyalty. Futur Pro member Bob Bonniol shares how selling does not have to be dirty. We do not have to seek to take advantage of customers. With empathy, selling can be genuine and in the best interest of the target market.

We have to figure out what do those people want. And to do that we have to put ourselves in their shoes.” — Bob Bonniol

Hear the talk: 4 Reasons Why You Need to Use Empathy In Business

Bonniol says that it is not always about selling a product. Sometimes it is about getting people to think differently. People want something when you resonate with them. Brands need to understand those deeper desires behind their customers’ wants and needs.

More ways brands can show empathy:

  • Care about what the customer cares about even if not directly related to products and services.
  • Donate a portion of sales to a relevant cause.
  • Ask questions and engage. Listen and make any needed changes.
  • Hear TED Talks on empathy



2. Elevate language.

The ability to express yourself through language is really remarkable, if you think about it. Words, whether spoken or written, are inventions that set humans apart from the animal kingdom. Language allows for the sharing of ideas and concepts.

In our digital world, brand messaging often needs to cross cultural lines, which can bring a range of challenges.

Think about how you think.

As cognitive scientist Lera Boroditsky explains, the order and way different things are focused on in different languages make different people from different cultures think differently.

The language that you speak shapes the way you think. And that gives you the opportunity to ask: ‘Why do I think the way I do?’ and ‘How could I think differently?’” — Lera Boroditsky

Hear the TED Talk: How Language Shapes the Way We Think

When it comes to messaging, brands can elevate their language by not assuming but by exploring. This approach goes back to the idea that the message you think you are sharing may not be what your customers and target audience are receiving.

Now, brands can’t alter their message to meet the nuances of every language in the world, of course. But, brands can begin to explore how the language that is being used in their marketing is being perceived — and if it is sharing the right message.

Simplify your language and message.

Elevating your brand language does not mean making it more complicated. Brands may think they are being clear, but you have to think about your message as if you know nothing about it. You have a background and history with your products and services that your potential customers do not have. Don’t overwhelm them with too much information.

Donald Miller, author of ‘Building a StoryBrand’, says that the marketing message that works every time focuses on just two things: 1) What is the problem that you solve? 2) And how do you solve it?

You don’t want to be cute or clever. You don’t want to be confusing. That’s not going to work. Clarity wins every single time.” — Donald Miller

Hear the talk: This Marketing Message Works Every Time

Too much information and your message is lost. People just cannot process it.

More ways to elevate your brand’s language:

  • Remove the jargon that your customers don’t know.
  • Work backward from products and services to the core message you want to express.
  • Test to see what messages land with customers and the ones that don’t.



3. Energize design.

Design is not just about making things look sleek or pretty. Design is about purpose and function and solving problems. Designer Kevin Bethune says that design unlocks solutions to the problems we have. Brands need to look for the problems their customers face and find a solution — and then design everything around that from products and services to messaging.

Keep in mind what makes us human.

The best designers keep in mind what makes us human.” — Kevin Bethune

Hear the TED Talk: The 4 Superpowers of Design

Using language well and listening well are important. But when it comes to design, you want to go beyond what people say and think they want and meet needs and desires that they don’t even know they have or don’t know how to express.

Start noticing again.

Our brains tend to block out what it considers unimportant information. There is so much happening around you that you will stop noticing many things. But great design requires that you start noticing again — that you do not look past the problems but look for them so you can solve them.

Try to see the world the way it really is. Not the way we think it is.” — Tony Fadell

Hear the TED Talk: The First Secret of Great Design

In his TED Talk, Tony Fadell talks about being challenged when he worked for Apple to see the products through the eyes of new customers, with their fears and frustrations. The tiny details matter.

More ways for brand to energize design:

  • Make great design a non-negotiable.
  • Form a great design team and support them.
  • Look for the invisible problems not just the obvious and solve them.


Hal Gregersen - Forbes Research on Innovation

4. Innovate experience.

Innovation takes creativity. With so many things already available in our world, how can brands innovate to create a better customer experience? Innovation is about active discovery. Getting out of the office and paying attention to things, brainstorming, and coming up with new ideas.

Practice innovative patterns.

Hal Gregersen with Forbes says that innovative leaders talk to people who are not like them, people that think differently from them. Brands can learn from this by listening carefully to their customers who may have a very different perspective on things. Innovative people are also willing to try new things.

Business takes risk. Sometimes it pays off and sometimes it doesn’t, but that is how brands learn.

If I’ve got someone sitting in their office just coming up with creative ideas versus someone who gets out of their office and does this active discovery work — they’re out there observing and talking and trying and experimenting — and they come up with an idea, that second person’s idea is just better and less risky than the first person’s.” — Hal Gregersen, Forbes

Hear the talk: The Four Behaviors Of Innovative Leaders | Forbes

To innovate experience:

  • Make use of your creative team and don’t force them to be the executors.
  • Diversify your team, especially at the top level.
  • Get out of the office and into the world. Explore. Ask questions.

Learn to innovate.

What if you don’t have some brilliant mind and famous innovator on your team? Can you learn to be more innovative? Alex Bruton suggests that you have what he calls “innovation literacy” as a child, but it begins to get evaluated away by other things as you grow.

We need to innovate innovation education.” — Alex Bruton

Hear the Tedx Talk: Why we need to innovate how we learn to innovate | Alex Bruton | TEDxNormal

Adults also tend to block out things because we think we already know. Innovation can be learned, but it does take work. It requires different parts of the brain. The truth is that most ideas will not be successful, and that’s ok. Keep working and some great ideas will come.

More ways for brands to innovate experience:

  • Do not get stuck on the first idea. Keep working.
  • Change the odds in your favor by coming up with more ideas.
  • Focus not just on feasibility but also on impact.



5.  Inspire action.

You can have a great product or service, but if your brand messaging does not inspire action you will not get anywhere. In his famous TED Talk, Simon Sinek introduced the golden circle. Starting at the outside is the what, then it moves into the how, and then at the center is the why. The why is what has the power to inspire action in your team and your customers.

As Simon says, people don’t buy what you do but why you do it. Your reason for being is what makes your brand stand out from another, even if you are producing the same products and services.

Start with why.

It’s those who start with ‘why’ that have the ability to inspire those around them.” — Simon Sinek

Hear the TED Talk: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

Messaging is about sharing what you believe — your why — in a way that inspires action. Then people feel like they want to be a part of whatever it is that you are doing,  building a sense of community.

Be customer-centric.

When you care about customers and put them first, you can inspire them to share your products and services, to get involved, and to be part of a community. It sounds nice to be customer-centric. But what does having a great customer experience mean?

Organizational researcher Vusi Thembekwayo says that there are four components to a great customer experience: Be relevant, reliable, responsive, and convenient.

Consistency is where cultures and systems connect.” — Vusi Thembekwayo

Hear the talk: The Formula For Great Customer Experience

If you have great products, services, technology, etc., but your company culture and the experience you present to customers are not consistent with that, you are going to fail your audience.

More ways for brands to inspire action:

  • Create a great customer experience. Not sure how? Ask customers.
  • Figure out your why and put it into an inspiring message.
  • Listen to understand and act and thus creating something useful.

At Cordial, we work to help brands like yours create a great customer experience every day, with real-time personalized messaging across your marketing channels. Join us and let’s serve your customers. Learn more from our team today.