How to Create Brand Messaging Guidelines (My Exact Process)

Reprogramming My Life, My Business, And My Definition Of Success
February 28, 2024

If you’re here, you’re probably interested in learning more about what goes into building Brand Messaging Guidelines. Good on you—you’re ahead of the game.

Hopefully, this will give you an idea of my approach and what it would be like to work with me

Why Every Brand Should Have a Clear Messaging Strategy 

Here’s the deal—great marketing starts with getting clear on your brand’s message, audience, and goals. 

But most companies—even big, established ones—are just winging it. According to Content Marketing Institute, only 43% of B2B brands have a documented content strategy. 

The other 57% don’t really know what they stand for or what story they want to tell. 

And it shows. 

The most successful brands (Nike, Apple, Lego, Coca-Cola) have a clear, consistent message across every platform and every campaign.

The brand messaging process is the treasure map leading you to that marketing promised land: being a brand with an actual plan.

One that knows what they want to say and why. And to whom, and how they want to say it. 

And the result of that process is the Brand Messaging Guide (mine is called a Moonshot Messaging Guide🌙💫, because I’m fun like that).

Welcome to the promised land, baby.

This simple, yet critical document provides a clear, strategic and well-defined map to:

✔ Who you are as a brand (values, what makes you special, different, better)

✔ Who you’re speaking to (your target audience)

✔ What’s the story you want to tell them (key messages, sticky stories) 

✔ How to present those messages and stories 

In other words, you get clarity on the most foundational aspects of your brand. 

And, it’s super easy to share with your team, your freelance partners, other departments— everyone.  

Brand Messaging Pairs Well With: 

Your brand message is the basis for your website copy, social copy, blog posts, email marketing…your entire content strategy. Basically everything that your brand touches can be built around it. That’s why I often pair your Moonshot Messaging Guide 🌙💫 with a Content Strategy Springboard 🤸. Or Website Copy (Oopsie, I haven’t come up with a cool name for this yet).

My Brand Messaging Process, Revealed

Without further ado, here’s the exact process I’ve used to create brand messaging guidelines + content strategy for brands like Relato, Farm.One, 7Pace, and others. My clients are often in the B2B SaaS and financial spaces, but this process will work for any industry.

Phase 1 – Research

Of course it starts with research. More accurately, this phase is research, intelligence gathering, evaluation, and discovery. 

Research is divided into two main pieces: 

  1. Brand and Customer Research
  2. Industry and Competitor Research

Brand and Customer Research 

  • Brand Questionnaire: First up, a brand questionnaire to get to know you, your brand, and your goals. Don’t worry, it’s fun! I promise. 
  • Kickoff Strategy Call: Next, we’ll have a 90-minute strategy call to dive deeper into the details, solidify the timeline, and set the right direction for our approach.
  • Customer Interviews: Yes, I’m actually going to talk to your customers. Through 3 – 5 Interviews with your past and/or current customers to find out: what they love (or don’t love) about your brand, product, customer and experience; why they came to you in the first place; and more. 
  • Customer survey: We’ll also send a quick survey to your existing email/contact list.  This allows us to cover more ground as we search for trends, sticky stories, and other juicy brand insights.

By focusing research on your actual audience, we can: 

✔ Speak to your audience in their own language

✔ Focus on what they really, really care about

✔ Get honest answers (way more honest than when talking directly) 

Industry and Competitor Research 

A brand messaging project with me goes both broad and deep. Depending on what you offer and the most relevant resources for your industry, I’ll be digging into: 

  • Social media: Social stalking—I mean listening—on IG, FB, TikTok, X, YouTube… wherever your peeps and competitors’ peeps hang out 
  • Review sites: SaaS product review sites like G2, Product Hunt, Capterra, Gartner, TrustRadius, etc. 
  • Reddit: A literal goldmine of brutally honest customer chatter
  • Podcasts 
  • Industry blogs and publications
  • Competitor websites (and their reviews too) 

Phase 2: Synthesis 

Phase two is also known as “creative conjuring” or “putting it all together”. 

This involves making it pretty (I deliver your project via PDF, but also a Google Doc—so you can adapt and build upon it as you go). 

More importantly, though, it’s about taking all the research and having a good think. It’s about pulling out the best insights, spotting patterns, deciding what to keep versus what to leave out, and basically getting to the core of what makes your brand tick. 

Finally **pause for dramatic effect** I pull it all together for a guide that defines your brand’s: 

✔ Positioning

✔ Values

✔ Audience personas 

✔ Audience pain points 

✔ Key messages

✔ Brand voice 

✔ Brand vibe

✔ Competitive edge

✔ Potential taglines and headlines 

Want to know more about the most critical elements to include in a Brand Messaging Guide? Grab my free checklist. 

The exact building blocks will change a bit depending on your brand and goals. On a high-level, though, we’re answering these 6 questions: 

1️⃣ 𝗪𝗵𝗼 are you speaking to? 

2️⃣ 𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 are the key messages and stories you want to tell? 

3️⃣ 𝗪𝗵𝗲𝗿𝗲 will you reach your audience?

4️⃣ 𝗪𝗵𝗲𝗻 will you deliver these messages to them? 

5️⃣ 𝗪𝗵𝘆 are you telling this particular story? What do you want to accomplish?

6️⃣ 𝗛𝗼𝘄 will you execute?

These are the same questions every content strategy should answer, by the way.

To wrap it all up, I send a Loom video walkthrough of your guide. I’ll explain my strategy, findings, and any other nuances or strokes of genius. We’ll also have a video call to review in real time, so you can ask any questions.

What You Come Away With

Here’s what a strategic, documented approach (instead of being random) can do for your brand: 

✔ More connection and trust with your audience

✔ Consistency on every platform (no matter who wrote it)

✔ A cheat sheet for any content you need to create 

✔ A single source of truth for everyone to reference back to 

✔ An unshakeable foundation to build your content strategy upon

But wait, there’s more: 

✔ Relief you’re on top of your messaging game 

✔ Confidence you’re doing it with purpose

✔ Your customers feel seen and understood

✔ Show up with purpose and achieve your business goals

✔ Stand the eff out because you’ll no longer sound like everyone else

I’ve talked a LOT about how important it is to get clear on the story you’re telling.

Like here: 


And here: 

Why Does Brand Messaging Take So Long?

Now that you understand the process and the incredible value of having a clear brand story, I can imagine you’re chomping at the bit to get started. 

I get that you’re rearing to go and I LOVE the enthusiasm. 

Still, the entire process takes around 5 – 6 weeks. Why? 

First off, customer research means there are other people involved. There are interviews to schedule and survey results to collect. 

Second, deep analysis takes time. Basically, the aha moments need time to simmer…and most likely come to me in the shower, or during one of my infamous “thinking walks”.  

Third, I work with multiple clients at once. I have retainer clients who I’ve already committed my time to. And just like them, I want to give your project the attention it deserves.

Annnnd that’s it! 

Ready to get started on your Moonshot Messaging Guide? Let’s do this! 

Book a call.

Send a message. 

P.S. Here’s what folks have said about my work: 

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