I think in brand communication, both are important. While it is important to focus on the message (“what” part), the second part (“how”) is even more important when it comes to execution. Lot of brands will deliver the same message: “I am the best available in the market”. But the real difference in perception is created when someone does a better job in “how” part of the message. Then why do so many companies do a poor job in “how” part of the communication? I believe, this is because it requires insight, creativity, and hard work.
Under Bangladesh context, examples are plenty. Take the example of two rivals in mobile phone industry: GP (Grameen Phone) and Robi. Both of their campaigns, from time to time, delivers the similar message: “we have strong network”. While GP says “Stay Close” (কাছে থাকুন), Robi says “Network like a shadow” ( ছায়ার মতো নেটওয়ার্ক) plus a self-actualization proposition- “Flare up with your power” ( জ্বলে উঠুন আপন শক্তিতে). Except for Robi’s self-actualization proposition, I do not see any major difference in meaning of their campaign message (the “what” part).
However, I believe a difference has been made by GP in “how” part of the message. If you have observed the execution of GP campaign, you will notice the emotional visualization of the story, plus notable consistency in synchronizing different media vehicles in execution. As soon as the tv commercial started about separation of loved ones and how they kept themselves close through GP network developed through 15 years of efforts, you will find all the older billboards are pulled down and the new ones are placed in synchronization of tv and press campaign. On the other hand, execution of Robi campaign seems scattered and less synchronized. Even though the campaign “network like a shadow” is no more on tv or press, you will probably find many older billboards still up in their places.