Are you messaging by the seat of your pants? Have you taken the time to ensure that the content you produce is built around a clearly crafted message to a clearly defined audience profile, or are you making up your content as you go along? If you relate more with the latter, you are not alone; many businesses are in the same situation. Still the fact remains: You will get the most out of your communications when every ounce of marketing effort, whether it is a new website, collateral, direct marketing, advertisement or press release, is aligned with your company’s core corporate messaging platform.
But first, you need to establish your core message.
Defining a Core Message
Your core message is going to be the hallmark of your corporate messaging and its importance is paramount. This will be the actual message your company intends to convey to the public and its employees. It’s not uncommon to have different messages for different markets, but it is important to focus on specific attributes from the start and be consistent. Apple is an example of how a company has developed a memorable brand and implemented it consistently throughout every aspect of their business. Their messaging has defined them as a company that makes high-end, innovative products geared towards a hip, tech-savvy consumer. Apple’s advertising, packaging, product design and store layout all work together to reinforce this idea.
Here are some targeted questions that can provide clarity around your business and help you define your message.
1. What problem do you solve? Arguably, this is the reason your company exists. Your business started because of a need you could fill in the marketplace. What is that need or problem that you can solve better than the competition?
2. What drives your business? As individuals, we all have certain things that we stand for. What do you want your business to stand for? Is it quality? Convenience? Price? Ease-of-use? Try to narrow it down to a couple of words or phrases that you could use to define your business. Keeping it simple will help you communicate effectively and help your audience to identify.
3. Who is your target market and why do they care? Understanding your audience and what is important to them will help you develop an effective message for attracting them. What motivates or triggers your audience to make certain decisions? For example, do your customers want value or quality? There is a huge difference between Walmart and Nordstrom. You’ll need to determine where your customers are on the spectrum in order to create the proper message. You can’t be all things to all people, so make sure your brand focuses on your target audience.
4. What sets you apart and makes you truly unique? Part of this messaging exercise is determining how your business stands apart from your competition. Your unique value proposition should be an important part of your marketing message. Otherwise, you are just adding to the noise in your market. Stand out from the crowd and give people a reason to do business with you instead of the competition.
Be Consistent. Changing your message frequently will only confuse your audience. A consistent message is easier to remember. Make your message resonate by repeating the same message time and time again.
Deliver on your promises. Never guarantee something in writing unless you are absolutely positive you can deliver on that promise every time. Setting expectations and then not living up to them can cause irreparable damage to your reputation. Bad news travels fast, especially within social media.
Walk the talk. Make sure that your actions match your messaging. This is otherwise known as brand integrity. Don’t make the terrible mistake of saying one thing within your marketing and doing something else when it comes to delivering your product or services. If you launch marketing campaigns that stress the importance of your customer service but have people in your organization that ignore complaints or don’t respond to customer inquiries, you are minimizing the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. Always do what you say.
Communication Another crucial aspect of corporate messaging involves sharing your message with every employee. Why is it important for employees to understand the central corporate message? Messages, just like structures, require integrity to be effective and successful. The core message needs to be consistent and felt all the way through the company, down to individual employees.
When employees equally own the core message of their company, there is a powerful synergy that can propel the reach and strength of that message. If you do not extend the communication to every single employee, the effectiveness of your core message will be in jeopardy.
How you deliver the core message makes as much of a statement as the content itself. Email, newsletters and conference calls will always be effective ways to communicate with employees but also consider ways that may be unexpected. Post your core message in the bathroom or stairwell. Also consider getting the word out by incorporating it in to a game or useful promotional item branded with the message.
Once everyone within your company understands what they should be communicating to the outside world, it is time to share and distribute your message. This is where your messaging strategy comes in. You must decide which channels will be most effective in getting your message in front of the right people. Researching when and where certain audiences prefer to receive information will help you determine the appropriate messaging vehicles.
Revisiting Your Corporate Messaging
Complacency and indifference are the enemies of business growth. Existing and potential customers and others, want to feel excited and believe that what you have to offer is refreshing and valuable to them.
Is it a necessity to keep things fresh? Absolutely! But, as mentioned earlier, it is also very important to have a consistent overarching message for a strong business brand. If you haven’t received much of a response from your current messaging, perhaps it’s time to adjust your tactics. Consider new and exciting ways to communicate the central message to your intended audience. At times, it’s not what you say that makes the greatest impact, it’s how you say it.
What are the current B2B communication trends? Perhaps it’s time to switch from messages being delivered via print ad campaigns to digital media like videos on your website or YouTube channel. Also, if you haven’t harnessed the power of social media, now may be a good time. Change, no matter how minor, is still movement away from complacency and toward the goal of building a strong business brand around your corporate messaging.
Need help with your corporate messaging or overall messaging strategy? Contact Launch Marketing today! Be sure to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook to keep up with the latest B2B marketing tips and trends.
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