As soon as they heard the battle cry, every Viking knew exactly what to do: gathering in two lines and overlapping their shield with the one next to them. This allowed even inexperienced soldiers to create a literal wall, impenetrable by arrows, swords and spears.
The only weakness of this wall was the need for everybody to stay in line at all cost. Even just one man stepping out would compromise the whole formation and could break the wall apart. The superior strength of the structure came from the tight alignment of the shields.
To underpin your marketing message with the same strength as a shieldwall, you have to fully align it.
How to strengthen your message with the principle of alignment
Before we look into the specifics of your message, let’s see where the principle of alignment originated and how it can be applied to marketing in general:
- Alignment in design
- Alignment in marketing: crafting your message
- How to apply Alignment in your own marketing
Let’s take a look at the origins of alignment in design.
1. Alignment in design
In design, nothing exists in isolation. One way or another, all the individual elements are connected to each other–an aligned design is all-inclusive. You can determine their relationship through their alignment. It might not be obvious but in a great design, you can always draw lines between the elements–no matter how wildly positioned or far away from each other.
That’s why all of them be should be placed purposefully on the page. Once you decided on an alignment, you should stick to it repeatedly. This way, it unifies the design and creates an impact on the viewer. Now let’s apply these visual pointers the verbal discipline of marketing.
2. Alignment in marketing: crafting your message
Impactful alignment, both in design and marketing, shares three characteristics:
It’s all-inclusive: Alignment is not about creating a smooth surface. It rather aims at inclusivity. Everything that makes up your company and products, all its quirks and oddities can become part of your message. As long as it’s aligned with your customers, the more the different you are the better your message will be. Take the Dollar Shave Club for example: it was its founder Mike’s sense of humor that put it on the map.
It’s purposeful: Since everything is connected, everything needs to have a purpose. That also means to remove everything that doesn’t, from your packaging, from your message, even from your product. In order to align their interface to the goal of finding exactly what you search, Google remove everything that didn’t have a purpose from their homepage, leaving essential just the search box.
It’s repeated: Consistently to reinforce your alignment, repeat the same elements throughout your message as well as your message itself. An example of the power of a repeated message are the slogans throughout a presidential campaign. Carefully selected and aligned with each other, they represent aspects of the same message, like the iconic “Hope”, “Change” and “Yes we can” in 2008.
Alignment doesn’t only lend itself to presidents and tech giants. Your business can benefit from an aligned message as well.
3. How to apply alignment in your own marketing message
You don’t need the war chest of a presidential candidate or the marketing chops of a billion-dollar tech company. But if you want to anything in business, you need to have a strong message. These questions will guide you towards it through the three characteristics of alignment:
- Do you have a message? (prerequisite for alignment)
- Does it emphasize who you are, with all your differences/quirks? (all-inclusive)
- Can you express it in a minute or less? (purposeful)
- Do you have it ready in various formats: verbal, written, logo, video? (repeated)
If you can answer all the questions with a yes, then your message is charged with the power of alignment. At this point, you might still have doubts if alignment will do anything for you and your business.
For a small business there’s more important things than an “aligned message”
That’s true, of course. Aligning your message surely doesn’t matter if you are fighting to keep the lights on everyday or getting at least a few hours of sleep every night. But once you seized a little bit of wiggle room, it pays off to invest it in your message. By aligning it, you not only reduce the resources you might waste by going nowhere celebrex online. But you will also increase its impact. And unless it’s a Viking shieldwall, nothing has an impact like a lean, mean marketing message.