“Stay on message” is a term that we hear a lot, especially in the political arena. This concept is a simple one and can have a huge impact on the way you communicate on behalf of your company. It means to keep it simple and focused. Don’t let yourself wander off course or else you risk degrading the full impact of your message.
Ensuring that your message is powerful and resonates with your target market is not the sole responsibility of your PR person. Staying on message is the responsibility of every person who plays a role in your company. When someone asks, “So, what do you do here?” everyone should be able to give a clear and consistent answer. This shows outsiders that you are truly a team who works together for a common goal.
How do you take that authentic message and make sure that it is being conveyed clearly and consistently? You need to spend the time needed to evaluate your marketing messages and come up with a playbook from which your entire team is able to convey those important messages to both the outside world and inside the walls of your business.
Here is what you need to do:
Identify strengths and weaknesses. This is not a task for you to figure out alone. Talk to your employees and your customers to find out what they see as your company’s strengths and weaknesses. What do you do really well? What needs to be improved?
Make an assessment. Once you have compiled a thorough list of the strengths and weaknesses as identified by others, take the time to comb through them and outline your top strengths and weaknesses.
Assign your team. Break the list into strengths and weaknesses. Assign a team to review the items that are categorized as weaknesses for your business and come up with plans to turn them around. Take your list of strengths and crystallize them into your key messaging document.
Start with a positioning statement. There is a simple formula that you can use to write down your positioning statement:
For [target customer] that [need/care about] [company/product/service] is a [category/solution] that [key benefit]. Unlike [competitor], [company/product/service] is a [unique differentiator].
Here’s an example:
“For busy families that want healthier convenient foods, Organics Express is a food company that provides quick, healthy options. Unlike most convenience food brands, Organics Express is a healthier, more affordable alternative for families on the go.”
Know what sets you apart. Early on, make sure that you know the unique aspects of your company and product that separate it from the competition. Put these down in a company overview, or what we call a boilerplate.
Take it to your team. Once you get your message written down, share it with your team and ask them for any feedback. Make edits as needed and polish it up so that it is ready to shine.
Go live with the message. Now that your message has been boiled down to the important parts, it’s time to share it with your team, your customers, and the world. Make it an accessible document so that it can be included in press releases, web content, brochures, PowerPoint presentations, and anything else that gets your message out there!
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