You may have the best creative artwork on the planet, design a beautiful website, and post multiple times a day on social media. However, if your message doesn’t resonate with customers, your marketing efforts will have little-to-no impact. We firmly believe that good messaging is the key to good marketing.
What is Messaging?
Messaging is the core communications your organization must impart to prospects, customers, and other stakeholders. What do your key audiences need to know about your company, your values, the benefits of your products or services, and how do you stand out in the market?
Your corporate message must be:
- GENUINE: Reflect your core values and business objectives
- BENEFICIAL: Answer “What’s in it for me?” for your customer
- UNIQUE: Speak to your differentiators
- CONSISTENT: Be consistent over time through repetition
- UNDERSTANDABLE: Reach your customers on their level
Many companies fly by the seat of their pants when it comes to messaging. They write the language from scratch each time they are creating a client presentation, social media post, RFP, press release, or direct mail campaign.
This is not only inefficient, it’s ineffective.
In the beginning, ThinkWell only conducted messaging sessions — what we now call our Core Values & Messaging Sessions (CVMs) — for start-ups and companies that were experiencing a major change or internal realignment. We quickly realized how many companies:
- Did not have consistent messaging
- Wasted too much time and resources re-creating language
- Were missing out on the benefits of thoughtful messaging
Sometimes during our CVM sessions there is an “aha! moment” when together we discover new ways to differentiate our clients’ organizations or even a new revenue stream. Other times, the session may not initially appear to reveal anything new, but it reinforces an existing understanding of the company’s goals, purpose, message, and style. The CVM is an extremely valuable communication and organizational tool because it:
- Accelerates the understanding of what makes your organization tick
- Helps impart your core values and differentiators to the market
- Creates an opportunity to remind your team of your core values — we know that a team who works with purpose builds a more effective organization
Components of a Messaging Document
We encourage all companies to create a formal messaging document. We deliver one after each of our CVM sessions.
Why a messaging document? Having a formal messaging document allows you to:
- Better adhere to the high standards that reflect your company’s brand values
- Be consistent across all communications — client, marketing, and internal communications
- Educate your team — make it simple for your team to understand and follow the organization’s objectives and values
The key components of a messaging document will depend on your organization’s particular needs (we customize each document per client). Here are a few of the most important elements:
- Core values
- Value proposition
- Client/customer benefits
- Keywords (and negative keywords)
- Key personas (audiences)
- Key messages
- Mission statement
- Vision statements
- And more
Creating clear messaging in a way that is accessible for your team and customers will create efficiencies in your organization that you hadn’t imagined AND it will make your communications more consistent and effective.
Lauren Yates is a principal and co-founder of ThinkWell Consulting, LLC. Here, she writes about consulting, entrepreneurship, and digital marketing.