How to stand out in a crowded market

Stop trying to say too much. We are all inundated with relentless messaging: “Buy this,” or “We do this better than anyone,” or “We do this and this and this, too.” We get it; every company provides an array of products and/or services, but that doesn’t mean you need to talk about all of them at once in every interaction. You don’t. And if you do, you are doing yourself a disservice because you will get tuned out and forgotten.

Instead, focus. I’m going to say it again for the folks in the back: focus, focus, focus. Homing in on a specific and succinct primary message will help you be memorable and stand out in the crowd.

Define your target

Before jumping to messaging, first define your target audience(s). Your audiences should include both current and prospective ones, defined by more than just demographics. Once all audiences are defined, narrow them down further and choose the one(s) you are most strongly targeting because you’ll need them for the items that follow. And if you can, create a buying journey for each audience — more info on that in my Smart Business article from April 2022.

Now, on to messaging.

Tell your brand story

Your brand story is a summary of your brand. It encapsulates your brand and, in short form, explains who you are, why you exist, how you got there and what’s it’s like to work with and experience your brand. An authentic brand story resonates with your audience on an emotional level and helps them understand the values and purpose driving your organization. If you haven’t revisited your brand story recently, or need to create one, now is an ideal time to refresh it, ensuring it accurately reflects your current brand. The story lays a critical foundation for your other messaging.

Create a messaging matrix

A messaging matrix is a crucial tool that ensures consistent, meaningful and relevant messaging across audiences and channels. It houses the messaging objective, overall message and primary, secondary and tertiary messages for each target audience (e.g., customers, employees, potential employees, investors, donors, specific personas). The matrix should include both the messaging concepts and examples of how to turn them into usable content for ads, posts, or internal communications. This tool aligns your messaging with objectives while allowing tailoring for different audiences and channels.

Write an elevator speech

Team members are talking about your company every day. Are they saying the same thing? Are they saying what you want them to say? For most companies that I’ve worked with, the answer is no. That is where the elevator speech comes in. The goal is to give a quick description of what the company does in an effort to continue the conversation. The ideal answer from the other party is, “Tell me more.” Does your elevator speech get that reaction? Is it memorable? A helpful trick here is to test it out with someone and ask them to tell you what your company does. Refine it based on the feedback.

Pick an element from here or do them all. Laser focus on your messaging to cut through the noise — the time invested will ensure your value resonates. Crafting a clear and compelling message takes effort, but it’s effort well spent to captivate your audience and drive your point home.

Sue Stabe is Co-founder of Long & Short of It

Sue Stabe



Connect On Social Media