Your corporate message consists of who you are, what you are selling, and what differentiates you from your competitors. It is communicated to your target audience, the people who are going to purchase your product or service via many different avenues. They include your company name, your tagline, website, verbally in person, advertising, and signage – to mention just a few.

Is your business communicating the right message, to the right audience, in the right way that will assist in closing the sale? You may be asking yourself, “am I saying too much, too little, or even the right kind of language for my audience to understand?”

To best answer these questions, I am going to show a few examples that will hopefully assist in answering your questions or may spark new inquiries that will lead to a clearer and more effective corporate message for your company.

At first glance, there is nothing amiss about the following sign for a wholesaler of fresh and frozen poultry, meat, and seafood.

When I first saw this, I was enrolled; it was local to where I lived, and the thought of buying wholesale appealed to me. I read the rest of the sign, and suddenly I was no longer quite as enthused.

The fact this company also made dog food put the quality of the meat into question and became an instant turn off – although I was excited about photographing it for this article.

Joking aside, there is nothing wrong with the sign if it communicates effectively to their target audience. I simply know that I am not their target audience.

It is unrealistic to think that your corporate message will resonate with everyone – it won’t. Focus your time and efforts on having it communicate effectively with your target audience.

Once you have defined who your audience is, create a user profile of them. Answer the following questions: How do they sexually identify? What is their age? Nationality? Sexual orientation? Income bracket? Education? What do they do in their spare time? What do they like to wear? What vehicle do they drive? Are they married, have kids or pets? The best way to understand your target audience is to speak with them. Find out what type of language (verbal and pictorial) communicates effectively to them.

Unless you are a very skilled communicator and writer, hire a professional to help you sculpt the right messaging. I believe the person who created the “Ass Fruit” sign at the top of this article could have used some professional assistance. I am quite confident that they are not selling Ass Fruit (even though it seems like a real bargain at only a dollar per bag) and that even the clientele of this Asian grocery store wouldn’t buy this product… although I could be wrong.

This following sign successfully communicates its message effectively. It is for an electricity company, and they are warning you not to enter the designated area.

It doesn’t get much clearer than that. But what if you don’t read English? The company accompanied the wording with an image that clearly communicates the message to all non-English readers and even accentuates the message to those who understood the written message.

In summary, they are saying – Don’t. It will hurt—a lot.

As we live in a fast-paced society, you only have a few seconds to impress someone. As your company name is often the first point of contact, you want it to impress right from the start.

It is similar to being in a bookshop and looking at all the book covers, wondering which one to purchase. Does the title grab you? Does the image entice you? Have you previously heard of the author? These are all hooks to have the “potential” buyer turn the book over to read more before committing to buy or to move onto the next book. This is why it is critical to have a company name that aligns with your corporate message. If you are going to open a restaurant, you wouldn’t want an off-putting name. Like this one:

Would you like your food to have a lingering flavor in your mouth (I wonder if they charge a premium for this)?

Your message has to be truthful and honest. If you are claiming that you have the best, fastest, cheapest widget in the world, you better deliver; if you don’t, people are unlikely to be a repeat customer. Additionally, they are likely to communicate their disappointment with friends, family, and colleges, spreading a negative brand association with your company; this alone can cripple a business.

The following company is promising in its name that it sells the “best” pizza. Firstly, would you eat there? And secondly, do you think it would be the best pizza of your life?

Creating the right corporate message requires immense amounts of work. You also have to consider that once you have perfected it, the market may shift, and you may have to adapt the message and the entire communication platform. You might ask, “Where do I start?”

My suggestion is to consider the following questions:

  • Who are you, and what is your story?
  • What are you selling?
  • Who is your customer?
  • Why should they care?
  • Who is your competition?
  • How do they communicate about their product or services?
  • What differentiates you from your competition?

From your research and answers, begin to think about your corporate messaging. Hire a professional branding and communication company to help you get it right. There will be an expense for this, but if it can prevent your ass fruit from having a lingering flavour, then it may be the best investment your business will ever make.