Imagine ‘Have a Break’ without KitKat, Skittles without ‘Taste the Rainbow’ or John Lewis without ‘Never Knowingly Undersold’. Those three little words are synonymous with their brand. Yes, they have big budgets to promote their slogans. But there is a very good reason they use them. They help to tell the story of their brand.
Why are the three words (ish) so important?
Firstly, they help give your brand an identity. Secondly, they help you maintain a consistent voice. They are a nod to your ethics and promise. Internally, they are a reminder of how you want your story to be told and the type of language you use to describe your business.
Video maker software company, Biteable, use the words ‘Make better videos’ closely followed by ‘On your lunch break’. You instantly understand what they do and how their product can help you. This effective concise copywriting appears throughout their website. Whilst I was waiting for my Biteable video to render, a series of short messages appeared. These weren’t all 3-word sentences (they don’t need to be!), but they were short and engaging:
Whilst waiting, I was pleasantly entertained. It was so much better than reading ‘please wait whilst we prepare your film’.
I was in a marketing networking meeting with peers not so long ago. We discussed the three-word approach. Somebody said, another way of looking at it is “if the label got lost, would people know what was inside?”
It’s an analogy, of course, but an affective one. People would certainly know what Biteable does.
Identifying your three words
Try and focus your three key words on what makes you different. But if you can’t do it in three, four or five (at a push) is fine. Ask yourself, why would a client chose my business over any other?
When I decided to focus my business on PR and content marketing, the first thing I did was agree my unique selling point and three words. Even as a copywriter, it wasn’t easy. Being close to a brand, it’s hard to step back and think what does my business do? I could have settled for ‘content marketing consultancy’. Whilst this is an accurate description of what I do, and useful for SEO and PPC purposes, it doesn’t describe how On Point Content is different.
For me, writing and content creation is an art form. I tell the story of each business I work with. Now, when asked what I do, I say I am ‘A business storyteller’. On the homepage of my website, I use a slightly longer version ‘Storytellers in digital, social and print’. There’s a big clue in what I do in my brand name ‘On Point Content’, but visitors to my site instantly understand that I am creative.
Enough about me.
The importance of market research
If you are an established business, the best place to start is with what others think about you. Do you have access to testimonials? Read them and make a note of the key words and phrases people use to describe you. These will help give you some ideas. It will also keep you focused. You’ll want to make sure your business lives up to the promise of your three words.
Call your key clients. Those who know you well. What would they say? And once you’ve settled on a shortlist of descriptors, ask them for their honest opinion of them.
You could also try filling in the form below and leaving the headline (your three words) until last. It’s a great way of making sure your message appeals to all your target audiences.
If you are just starting out in business, ask ex-colleagues what your unique selling points are as an individual. Consider how these attributes will translate into your business. After all, an organisation always reflects the personality of those who run it.
There’s much more to the process of deciding on your brand messaging of course, but hopefully this blog will help focus your attention on the importance of being concise and creative in your messaging.