Elements of an Impactful Brand

What do you want to be known for?

This is the essential question of building — or being part of — a brand you’re proud of. One that feels good. One that ultimately does good.

And brand messaging answers that question for yourself, your team, your customers, and your partners.

Deciding what you want to be known for is a basic question that carries the weight of leaving a legacy. But your vision is able to evolve as you do.

And what’s the alternative?

If you don’t put any intention behind your brand message, you’re running your business by default.

That results in 1 of 2 things:

  1. You’re forgettable. No one thinks of you because you’re generic. You don’t stand for anything, so you don’t stand out. You don’t serve a clear audience, so there’s no perfect-fit client to match you with. It falls to you to do all the outreach, all the time. And even then, you don’t have a strong case for why you, why now.
  2. You’re misunderstood. Maybe people do think of you, but not in the way you’d want to be known. Since you lack intention behind your messaging, that absence of clarity trickles into your graphics, your website, your pitches, your sales calls. So people inject their own ideas into who you are as a brand, even if it’s totally misaligned with the vision that’s in your head and heart.

As you determine what you want to be known for, focus on how you want to make people feel. Capture that know-it-when-you-feel-it aspect of business. For example, you see an ad and immediately, the copy and visuals either connect, or they don’t. Same with a sales call. A piece of content. A workshop topic.

When it comes to building a thriving business, connection is everything.

It’s what attracts, nurtures, and retains customers. It’s what turns clients into advocates. And it’s what keeps you top of mind with partners.

So, how do we connect? It’s both super simple and pretty nuanced.

At its core, connecting comes down to honing in on that human element that considers the person on the receiving end of your business. That’s why it’s so important to stay intentional about how you make them feel and what you become known for.

When you take the time and space to have everything in your head and heart put down on paper, reflected back to you, and validated, something really special happens. You’re able to see your business decisions — both marketing and operations — in a new light.

Brand messaging strategy is about connecting with yourself and your vision in order to connect with real humans on the other side of business transactions.

And there are 2 main ways to build a brand that connects.

  1. Start with your vision, then amplify your message to reach your ideal audience.
  2. Start with the specific people you want to reach, then adapt your vision around meeting their needs.

The clients I work with absolutely want to make money. They want thriving, sustainable businesses. But they want to do it in a way that actually improves the lives of their customers. They want a business that not only feels good, but also does good.

You deserve to be seen for who you are and what you’re building.

You deserve to get invited onto stages and to establish yourself as a voice in your industry.

You deserve to make money — and an impact — with the talents and passions you’ve honed over the years.

Brand Messaging Elements

When it comes to creating an impactful brand messaging strategy, there are six essential elements:

  • Brand Statement
  • Mission Statement
  • Brand Values
  • Brand Voice
  • Target Audience
  • Core Messages

These combine to be used in your social media bios, on your boilerplate for press releases or event registration pages, in client or team onboarding documents, when you introduce yourself in person, and beyond. They can be pieced together, pulled apart, and everything in between.

Together, these elements amount to your consistent, cohesive brand. And your brand messaging strategy both reflects and informs everything you stand for. It’s a guiding force for internal and external decisions, as well as the basis for all communications.

Brand Statement

Your brand statement sums up what you do, who you do it for, and why it matters. Ideally, it also showcases what makes you different.

Mission Statement

Your mission statement encapsulates your why and articulates the reason your business exists.

Brand Values

Your brand values are how you operate, how you make decisions, how you interact with your partners, clients, and team. There are three necessary steps to living out your brand values.

First, establish the 3–5 core values that matter most to you (and ideally overlap with your target audience). Next, define what these values specifically mean to your brand. Then, actively apply your brand values to every area of your business — not just your marketing, but also your operational decisions.

Brand Voice

Your brand voice is the recognizable way you sound and the vocabulary you use. It’s consistent across contexts, even when your tone may need to change (such as when you own up to a big mistake, or celebrate an important milestone).

Target Audience

Your target audience is the group of best-case-scenario people you’re speaking to in your communications. Create an audience persona that takes into account both the demographic and psychographic factors of what makes them human. This centers your decisions on what your audience needs and wants, rather than what you’d decide based on your own lived experiences and personal biases.

Core Messages

These are the taglines, content ideas, and descriptions that can be combined and adapted and expanded upon any number of ways. They bring all the other elements of your messaging to life and anchor your pie-in-the-sky vision with soundbites that connect you to your audience.

Taking Confident, Meaningful Action

Intentional reflection is important, but it’s what you do with that introspection that actually leads to impact. Having values-aligned brand messaging in place equips you to take confident, meaningful action toward your vision.

Here’s where to start as you create an impactful brand and get visible in alignment with your values.

  1. Determine what you want to be known for. This relates to your vision, setting the tone for your messaging and high-level decisions.
  2. Figure out how you want to make people — clients, partners, team members, yourself, etc. — feel. This will inform your brand values.

About The Author

Ashlee Sang consults conscious and caring business owners so they can grow their impact and their revenue. Through Ashlee Sang Consulting and as host of the Purpose & Progress Podcast, she equips entrepreneurs to take confident, meaningful action in alignment with their values. She believes that business can feel and do good when it’s rooted in values and propelled by purpose.

Before doing brand messaging strategy and marketing consulting, she worked with a variety of nonprofit organizations, including a human rights education NGO in Senegal and a local branch of Habitat for Humanity. The common thread has been sharing messages that matter.

Based in Central Illinois, Ashlee has a background in anthropology and a penchant for travel. She’s a fan of one-liners, happy surprises, and taking walks in the sunshine. Learn more at www.ashleesang.com.