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Marketing Design Dispatch

I'm a little out of my depth on this task...

Issue #117

How often do you tackle a project that's out of your comfort zone, Reader?

Last week I started tackling a project I don't have much experience in: Creating a messaging guide.

In this issue I'm sharing:

  • How I'm approaching this messaging project from a brand perspective
  • A real look at how it went the first time I tried Figma's variables feature
  • A podcast episode for you to listen to this week
  • A poll about meetings...

Let's jump in!

Creating a messaging guide

When I became Creative Director at ConvertKit, it was a new role for the company (as well as to me) so my scope of responsibility has always been somewhat in flux as we figure out what ConvertKit needs from a CD.

Recently I realised that I needed to be having more input into our positioning and messaging. This is a totally new area of responsibility for me so I wanted to share how I'm thinking about it (and maybe get your advice if you have any words of wisdom to share!)

The way I see it from a brand perspective, there's two sides to messaging:

  1. What do we need to say about our product/features?
  2. How do we say it to communicate clearly and best represent our brand?

To more clearly define ownership we've settled on our Product Marketing Manager owning the 'what', and me as Creative Director owning the 'how'. That doesn't mean I'll be writing it myself, but that I'm ultimately responsible for our messaging clarity and alignment with brand voice and tone. If something isn't working, it's on me to fix it.

Makes sense, right? (Though I would love to hear how this ownership breaks down at your company! Reply and let me know)

Forming a system

We've been on a systems-kick lately at ConvertKit as we scale up our output, so of course instead of tackling this as an adhoc project I wanted to create a system around it.

We've settled on needing the following written for each feature:

  • A brief value proposition statement
  • An 'elevator pitch' that explains what it is and why it's valuable in a sentence or two
  • A short description that shares more details
  • A short how-to in a few steps that explains briefly how to use and get value from the feature

Just like having a set of visual design assets in a library helps make design production faster, having access to these 4 pieces of copy for each feature and product will allow us to easily grab what we need to add to a landing page or a promotional asset. And it should make it clearer to every team member how they should be speaking about the various parts of our app.

Here's a couple of screenshots from the FigJam where we explored what we needed from this system so you can see how we're thinking about applying each piece of messaging:

Our overall goal is clarity and consistency.

As we create the copy for the system we'll focus on communicating clearly first and foremost, while weaving in as much brand personality as we can. When we have our set of messaging for each feature completed, we'll get to work on updating pages and assets to make use of it so that there's more consistency in the way we're talking about our product.

Of course, this messaging guide will need to be adapted and improved on an ongoing basis as we ship new features and learn more about what resonates with creators. But my hope is that having a system we improve upon rather than making adhoc changes to individual marketing site pages will lead to more meaningful and more consistent updates.

How is messaging and copy handled at your company? Do you have a system in place for a messaging guide? If so, how is yours set up?

If you'd be interested in hearing about it, I'd love to share more about our messaging guide in the coming months as we work on developing it. Feel free reply with any questions you have or details you'd like to hear about!

Did your first time trying Figma variables go like this?

I finally tried using Figma variables (aka: design tokens) for the first time! I managed to cut down an illutration component from having 18 variants to just THREE through the use of variables and modes. 😱

To see how I did it, watch the video! But please be aware this is not a tutorial, rather me bringing you along for the process of figuring it out.

video preview

This comment sums it up well I think 😅

A multi-disciplinary brand team with cross-functional 'astropods' for problem solving

It's no secret that I started my show Inside Marketing Design to learn from my peers, so I get especially excited when I discover someone in a similar situation to me: leading a multidisciplinary brand team.

The Brand Studio team at ConvertKit features:

  • A designer
  • A developer
  • A filmmaker
  • A storyteller

And I hadn't come across another team with quite as many varied roles until I spoke to Piotr Śmietana from Superside! In S04E05 we discuss the work his team does, how he stays on top of it all and how they expand from multidisciplinary to ✨cross-functional✨ as they work together with folks from other teams on 'astropods' to collaborate on solving a problem.

video preview

Search "Inside Marketing Design" in your favourite podcast app to listen to the audio version or get the links here

I have a question for you: How much of your average work day do you spend in meetings? Share your answer by clicking the relevant link below and I'll report on the results in the next issue.

I've been struggling to find enough time for deep strategic work recently and I know I need to make some changes! Curious to hear how much time you're spending in meetings.

See you in the next issue,

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