Message Maps: A Key Step In Effective Branding

One of the initial steps in the branding process is creating a message map. Recently, we’ve been frequently turning to a rather simple mapping document that has proven to be invaluable for steering messaging discussions in the right direction.

What’s key about this map is its ability to keep everyone focused on the task at hand; identifying the key messages that need to be communicated to a target audience about a brand. Grounded on the Rule of Three (a principle that suggests things that come in threes are inherently more effective than other numbers), the map features three key messages, three supporting facts and three customer benefits.

So what’s the best way to develop this map? Usually, it starts with a brainstorming session among internal and external people affiliated with the brand. Once everyone has shared their thoughts, three key messages that truly differentiate the brand from the competition are generated. Realizing that these messages will typically be communicated in quick sound bites, the more direct and to-the-point the messages are the better.

Validation of the messages comes when the supporting facts are determined. Again, only three facts are needed, but ideally there would be more than three from which to choose. If it’s difficult to come up with the supporting facts, then the message may not be as strong as you first thought.

Finally, and in many cases, most importantly, the benefits to the customer are defined. If there’s no benefit to the customer then there’s no reason for the message!

We’ve attached a copy of the message map we’ve been using if you would like to use it as a guide.

Message Map.pdf23.74 KB


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