Refining Your Business Marketing Message

Define yourself before somebody else does it for you.

If you don’t make it clear in your first impression how your business is differentiated, someone else will be glad to fill in the gap for you and it might not be flattering.

Imagine you are watching someone’s elevator pitch and they are just sputtering. For all you know, they are brilliant at their craft. But it’s not showing.

A friend opened a business and people came streaming in, including another friend. When I asked for her feedback, she was dismissive. Unfairly so, I think. Her beef was that the business owner did not make time for her (did I mention the big crowd?), from which she incorrectly deduced he must not be an expert in his field. Wrong. Surely, had he been able to tell her about his background and approach, she would have appreciated his expertise.

Same goes for digital and print marketing. Be sure that the way you present yourself in these media are how you present yourself in person.

In addition, only present in social media the core focus of your business. For example, if your corporate softball team wins a tournament or participates in a charity game, by all means post a photo of this to the company Facebook page. But leave it off LinkedIn. And, for the love of Pete, do not post party pictures of the softball team at the bar.

stay on point with branding

Just yesterday a major news organization took to Facebook Live with a pie eating contest in honor of National Pi(e) Day (3/14, get it?). As of this writing, it had 107,000 views and 505 comments. The reaction was mixed, with some commenters enjoying the fun and others annoyed that they received a Facebook Live notification for The Washington Post, but the content was not breaking news. Not even close. Or, as one commenter put it: “Yep. The people who send me notifications about the most important, urgent things going on in the world did not need to notify me this was going on. Choose your spots more carefully, WaPo.”

My personal favorite among the comments: “What a wonderful filling to watch these pietiful newspeople get below the crust of the story.” Others wondered if journalism school was worth it.

I myself suggested that this content not be shared with the same audience who most likely followed the Facebook page to get actual news. It may be that the company is trying to be hip or aspiring to go viral with pie eating. Or, as some commenters noted, everyone needs a break, especially in Washington these days. Still, some comments derided this as fiddling while Rome burns. Remember, this is the paper that broke Watergate. Maybe younger folks don’t identify it that way. One commenter said the contest was fun and better than the political [expletive]. Why, may I ask is she looking at a political newspaper?

In fact, my comment drew derision from a man with a spelling problem. Or, a man who likes to ironically misspell. My comment: “Why or how is this relevant to maintaining quality journalism and protecting democracy? Sorry to be a crank, but you probably should have left this as an internal team building event.” Again, like the others negative commenters, I dropped what I was doing to check on what I thought was news with a Facebook Live event breaking through.

“Wow. From someone who blogs about repurposed grits. Get a sense of hermour,” my derider wrote.

Grits? That’s right, I have a lifestyle blog about cooking, the great outdoors and reclaiming quality time. But “The Sage Leopard” is a separate website from Adroit Narratives, LLC. See what I’m getting at here? If I have a client who say, practices law or builds houses, I would never recommend they post about their personal hobbies on their business websites and social media accounts. My response to snarky misspelling man:

“That’s a lifestyle blog for fun. My other webpage is about business communications. Sorry, I used to do news and now I consult clients on digital marketing. This is not something I’d recommend for someone wanting to maintain seriousness in their business profile. And I used to be a grouchy news desk editor so I know about news room shenanigans. It doesn’t really belong in the same outlet as your primary business.”

Again, whatever you are selling, do not go off on a random tangent in that brand’s space. Are you selling pies from a bakery? Then, do not post about politics on your bakery website and bakery social media accounts.

Always stay consistent in your business profile and messaging.

For more information on business marketing and communications, contact consultant Katharine Fraser.