Expert Tips: How to stay on message

Have you ever visited a trade show, and, looking at the array of stand banners and panels, been at a complete loss as to what some of the exhibitors do? Or visited the website of a prospective supplier and had to wade through case studies to understand why you should do business with them? The chances are that these companies have neglected their messaging.

Your key messages should underpin all your communications. They are what you want your stakeholders to hear, understand, remember, and respond to. Having a clear and concise set of messages gives you the best chance of conveying exactly what you stand for, whether that’s in a press release, web copy or exhibition stand graphics. Your messages should make your visitors stop, look, listen – and engage, whether online or face-to-face. Messaging is a vital first step before embarking on any marketing campaign.

Developing your key messages

To get the best from your stakeholder communications, follow these tips to develop a strong set of key messages.

Involve others

You need the ideas and buy-in from others in the business to ensure the messages you come up with accurately reflect the whole business and are relevant to your stakeholders.

Define what you do

Ensure you remember to include a concise message that explains your key offering – whether that’s a product, service or solution.

Focus on benefits

Your messages should be benefits-led and directly address the problems that your customers are seeking to address.

Position against your competitors

Analyse your key competitive differences, whether those come from your products and services or your business approach, and ensure you reflect your competitive advantage in your messaging.

Think about your audiences

Most of your messaging will apply to all your stakeholders, but you may want to tailor separate messages for specific audience groups.

Aim for longevity

Your core messages should be enduring; if you feel you need to frequently change them, they will lose impact and you risk confusing stakeholders.

Prove them

Your messages must have a basis in fact and not just wishful thinking. If you can’t back up a message with a valid proof point, then remove it from your list.

Get an outside view

An outside perspective can provide a valuable check on whether you’ve developed a set of messages that are credible, differentiated, memorable and relevant.

Use them

Once you’ve captured your key messages, which should be on no more than a couple of sides of A4, share them widely. Your receptionists, salespeople and CEO should be able to articulate your organisation’s key messages. Your PR and marketing agency should ensure that key messages come through in press announcements, interviews, and articles. Your content team should weave them into case studies and web content. And your graphics agency should capture them on stand graphics, advertising and infographics.

Investing time and effort to develop and document a strong set of messages will give you a foundation for clear and compelling business communications. That’s why we insist on having a client’s messages available at the start of any campaign, or else work with them to put a strong set of messages in place. Get in touch.