What’s a Message Map? (And Other Brand Lingo)

Brand strategy glossary

Have you ever wondered what all that brand lingo means? Branding can be tricky when you first start out. I mean, what’s a message map? What’s a value proposition?! And what does it mean to position my business effectively?!?!?!

Wouldn’t it be amazing if someone made like, I don’t know… a glossary or something to refer to?

Never fear Hey Now! is here! And we’ve got you covered. Here’s your brand strategy glossary:

Strategy Overview

The overarching tactics we will use throughout the brand to achieve specific goals (internal)

Core Values

What the customers see and feel during their contact with the company (external)


The plan or intention of the brand (internal)


Says who your company is, what you do, what you stand for, and why you do it (external)


A description of the business, as you want it to be.  It involves seeing the optimal future for your business, and vividly describing this vision (exteral)

Target Audience

The market segment or group of customers that a company has decided to serve, and at which it consequently aims its marketing activities.  Focus on “attitudinal market segmentation”.  Asking why do people care about your product and what is their motivation to buy it will help you create a more accurate portrait of who your target audience is and what they are all about (internal)


The distinctive position that a brand adopts in its competitive environment to ensure that individuals in its target market can tell the brand apart from others (external)

Reasons to Believe

Provides proof that the brand delivers the benefits that it promises to deliver, and that the benefits are true and credible. Each benefit will not necessarily have a separate and distinct reason to believe, but the reason to believe collectively should prove to the consumer that the brand does, indeed, deliver its benefits as claimed (external)

Message Map

A framework used to create compelling, relevant messages for various audience segments and for organizational alignment (internal)


The completed message map will be leveraged across multiple marketing activities, such as press releases, articles, direct marketing, advertising, and presentations.  It will also be distributed to sales to gain full alignment behind message (external)

Key Messages

Strong statements about an organization’s belief about itself. It can also be strong statements about particular issues the organization takes a stand on (external)

Brand Voice

How the brand speaks to its audiences (internal)

How to Write (in the brand voice)

Specific guidance on how to execute the voice of the brand (internal)


The means by which a brand is created in the mind of a stakeholder. Some experiences are controlled such as retail environments, advertising, products/services, websites, etc. Some are uncontrolled like journalistic comment and word of mouth. Strong brands arise from consistent experiences which combine to form a clear, differentiated overall brand experience (internal)

Value Proposition

A promise of value to be delivered and acknowledged and a belief from the customer that value will be delivered and experienced. A value proposition can apply to an entire organization, or parts thereof, or customer accounts, or products or services (external)

Remember, your brand is one of the most important (if not THE most important) aspects of your business. If you don’t start with a solid brand as your foundation, you’re pretty much asking to ride a train that derailing.

Happy branding!

Once you have your brand, it’s time to start your first marketing campaign! Download our free checklist and receive your step-by-step guide to running a better inbound marketing campaign.


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