Content Inspiration

How to Craft Brand Stories that Sell with The Message Design Institute’s Tamsen Webster

By Skyword Staff on April 19, 2024

A Content Disrupted podcast with Tamsen Webster, Founder of The Message Design Institute.

Access this and more Content Disrupted episodes on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Google Podcasts.

Struggling to cut through the noise and reach your ideal audience? Your brand message might be the culprit. In this episode of Content Disrupted, Tamsen Webster, Founder and Chief Message Strategist of The Message Design Institute, shares the power of the Red Thread Method in brand marketing, revealing why traditional marketing messages fail and what you can do to craft distinctive brand narratives that your customers can't ignore.

With a background in marketing and branding, Tamsen has worked with major organizations such as Johnson & Johnson, Harvard Medical School, and Intel. She is also a global keynote speaker and has been named one of the top 30 management thinkers to watch by Thinkers 50. Tamsen is the author of the book Find Your Red Thread: Make Your Big Ideas Irresistible.

Episode Highlights:

  • [01:31] Unpacking the Red Thread Method – The Red Thread Method, as described by Tamsen, is a storytelling framework that aids in making ideas, products, or services more comprehensible and relatable to others. It emphasizes identifying the core question or problem your target audience has, and then positioning your idea, product, or service as the clear answer or solution. The "red thread" in your messaging is the line of argument that explains the purpose of why your brand or product exists and how it aligns with the goals and desires of your audience. This method utilizes the natural way our brains connect ideas through cause and effect to help individuals and businesses articulate their value proposition in a way that resonates with their audience. It emphasizes the importance of including a "moment of truth," which is an essential piece of information that bridges the gap between a problem and its solution, making the message more compelling and understandable.

  • [05:27] How to Find Your Brand's Red Thread – The Red Thread Method begins by identifying your audience's core goal or desire, which they actively and knowingly want but do not yet have. This goal is the starting point of the story and forms the basis of the core message. Next, the method introduces a two-part problem: the known problem represented by the goal and an underlying problem of perspective that the audience may not be aware of. This hidden problem must be addressed before the audience can achieve their goal. By shifting the audience's perspective and presenting your brand's solution as the key to overcoming this obstacle, the message becomes relevant and compelling, guiding the audience toward the desired conclusion.

  • [17:12] How to Tackle Differentiation – One of the key challenges in brand marketing is standing out among competitors who are solving similar problems. Tamsen emphasizes the importance of articulating the unique problem that your brand solves and explaining why your approach is the best solution. This differentiation can come from identifying the core elements that make your brand's solution different and better than others in the market. Tamsen suggests that differentiation can be achieved by focusing on two core elements that are essential to solving the audience's problem. For example, the Apple iPod differentiated itself by focusing on variety and portability. By offering a pocket-sized device that could store a large music library, Apple provided a better answer to the question of how to carry music with you.

  • [20:03] Reinforcing Your Core Story – Once the core story and messaging have been established, it is important to reinforce them across your organization. This can be challenging, especially in large enterprises with multiple teams and regional divisions. Tamsen suggests that The Red Thread Method framework can also be used to create consensus around the idea that your brand's core messaging is right and necessary to reinforce across the organization. To ensure alignment, she recommends using brand principles to establish understanding around the reason the brand needs to shift from one way of messaging to another and clearly communicating how this shift will lead to an outcome or goal that everyone agrees is important to achieve across the brand—using language that everyone relates to and understands.

  • [21:20] How to Build Buy-In – Building buy-in is fundamentally about crafting a core story, message, or argument that resonates with the beliefs and questions your audience already holds. Tamsen emphasizes the importance of clarifying the core principles that are already understood by your audience. By anchoring your message on questions they already have and explaining it through principles they agree with, you make your new ideas feel familiar and aligned with their worldview. This approach leverages the existing beliefs and narratives of your audience, making it more likely for them to buy into your idea or proposal.

Follow and subscribe to Content Disrupted on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or Google Podcasts. Every other week, we host candid conversations with pioneering CMOs and researchers on the topics most relevant to enterprise marketers, from the psychology behind today's digital buying behaviors and how to craft more relevant creative, to maximizing internal trust in the marketing team.


Skyword Staff