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What To Do If Your Brand Message Isn't Landing

Updated: Jul 8, 2021

By Robyn Young & Co.

Effective Leadership at a Distance

“Ideas don't matter if you don't communicate them effectively.”- Morgan Housel

This quote stood out to me from an interview with Morgan Housel, partner at Collaborative Fund, with The Hustle this week. Mr. Housel may not have been referring to brand messaging here, but the statement holds more true in marketing and business than anywhere else. The reason is because the limited amount of time that you have with a potential customer’s attention is narrowing the more brands are competing for the same real estate. Customers aren’t just buying products anymore. A smart product without a sticky message is just an opportunity lost. You could have the greatest idea or product in the world, but it doesn’t matter if your brand isn’t resonating. The right message, delivered to the right audience, at the right time can mean the difference between making a sale or not. It’s why even politicians hire marketing and PR teams to simplify their POV into easily digestible tags, memorable posters, emotive speeches, etc (think Obama and the now infamous poster of hope from the 2008 election that’s ingrained in all of our brains).

A strong brand message is built from a foundation of strategic positioning and identity (read: not just an iconic logo, color palette or snappy website). Brands are a bit like fine art - what it looks like matters, but not as much as what it says. Creating those sticky, memorable brand moments is a concerted effort on visuals, voice, and vibe. Effective marketing then is when your company intention aligns with your customer’s perception. The more brain cells they have to use to understand your value, the less likely they are to buy-in to your message and ultimately buy from you.

One of the main reasons I got into branding in the first place was because, working in the startup and tech industries, I saw brilliant ideas go under because their message wasn’t clear or didn’t land with customers. Somewhere along my path of brand management, copywriting, creating and directing content, I realized that my superpower was helping brands to define and communicate their ideas to the world through brand strategy. Leveraging our creative agency, I could then work with a team to build (or refine) the brand around that positioning via design, copy, photography, videography, web, etc. - ensuring that the message is weaved into every piece of the brand experience. Think of it as firing on all cylinders.

Since launching in 2016, we’ve helped over 60 brands to create and refine their ideas and communicate them effectively. In that experience, I’ve learned a thing or two on why brands are getting this wrong and how to fix it. So what do you do if your brand message isn’t landing?


Interview past customers or brand loyalists you trust to give you honest insight and find out what’s on their mind right now. Never assume you know what’s important to them - especially in these times. You must go to the source. This is also a great way to ensure that people are actually seeing your message.


Make sure that you are clear on the message. Why does your brand exist? Who are you DIE HARD fans? Would you recognize them if they were walking down the street? Why should they care about your brand? These are some of the fundamental questions you should be asking yourself all the time, and they should evolve as your brand (and the world) evolve. Strategy is not a one and done task to be checked off a list.


Consider every aspect of your brand as a single tool - your logo is one tool, your website is another and so on. Is your brand firing on all cylinders to communicate your message? If not, you’re likely spending more on marketing and sales than you need to and could effectively market your product by redistributing some investment into a tighter strategy & identity. Not sure? Let’s talk!


If your customers’ needs or goals have changed, if new players have disrupted your market, or if - for whatever reason - your message just doesn’t have the desired response it once did, you need a fresh approach. Consider new go-to market tactics that address emerging needs. For example, if you’re an eyewear brand, could you be addressing the excess time people are spending on digital devices by speaking to the amount of blue light your lenses filter.


Having Trouble Getting to New Customers?

Schedule a Brandstorm - our free strategy mapping session - and we’ll assess how well your current brand communicates your intended message.

Article originally posted August 17, 2020 here.

Robyn Young & Co. is an in-kind services sponsor for Women Founders Network. This information is being presented solely for educational purposes for our community.

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