Often that which is unspoken, unmarked or otherwise unheralded is what carries the strongest message. The Trader Joe's near me is packing groceries in unbranded brown paper bags. Not sure if their intention is to make a statement about an environmental issue or frugality.
Nevertheless, it sent a message that feels in line with their brand. Have you ever resisted the urge to put your logo somewhere? Or chosen subtleness over shouting?
As an aside, the flat bottomed paper bag was the brainchild of Margaret Knight in 1868. She had to fight a legal battle for a patent against a man who tried to steal her idea. Hear the story in this 11 minute podcast: https://thememorypalace.us/no-116842/
Who is it for? This is one of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself when crafting your story. Look at your offering from the perspective of your intended target. To do this well is not easy. You are going to have to make some assertions about how they think and what they believe.
I was rummaging about the pantry and found that we had two containers of olive oil. They are both the same quality (extra virgin) and from the same region of Greece. Ostensibly they are going to have very similar cooking properties and taste. But the story conveyed by the packaging of each is very different. The signals of authenticity and quality are going to be interpreted differently by two different buyers. These customers are both going to perceive that they are making the right decision based on the way you are telling the story. They will tell you that they bought the "better" one. But you can't fall into the trap of communicating that your offering is "better."
My assertion is that the customer who buys the olive oil on the left simply has different ideas about what is "better" than one who chooses the other. But here's the thing, they are both right. Just like the person who decides not to hire your organization has also made the right decision.
How is that? Because they are different people telling themselves a different story. Be intentional about the story you are telling so that you connect with the "right" person - the person that you seek to serve with your solution. The one who sees the world in the same way that your offering presents itself - the promise the marketing makes.
I have a variety of interests and enjoy sharing my reflections on them here.