How would you explain the term “Messaging”?

This question, How would you explain the term “Messaging” to someone very new to digital marketing? was posted in a Facebook group recently and it got me thinking.

After perusing it for a few minutes while watching over “Bad Ass” Bobbins on one of her exercise breaks (she’d been quarantined from the other dogs due to long lasting coronavirus – the canine, not global pandemic, type), I shared my thoughts.

I’ve copied my reply below in case it helps and I’d be interested to hear how you’d answer the same question.

Let’s say a company sells chainsaws and they post a billboard that simply says, in a big, bold font, “Our chainsaws are the dogs bollocks!”

Do I need a chainsaw?

No.

Do I want a chainsaw?

I’m a fella. Yes, I want a chainsaw.

Now the same text is superimposed on a photo of the great outdoors with a big bearded and tattooed fella in the foreground punching out a black bear while a stunning blonde swoons at his feet.

Do I need a chainsaw?

Yes! Yes, I need a chainsaw. Every man needs a chainsaw and probably two in case one breaks!

The message is still the same, but the messaging is now much more compelling for simple little me.

Now the font is changed to something like Curlz or Brusher, the background becomes pastel pinks and textured gold highlights and the bear becomes a fluffy soft toy with pink bows in its hair.

Do I need a chainsaw?

No.

Do I want a chainsaw?

Are you mental? Of course I don’t want a chainsaw. Chainsaws are for girls!

I think a message is what a brand says, while messaging is a much broader amalgamation of things that a brand says and does, both intentional and unintentional, that can all affect how the message is understood.