The GroundFloor Media team has worked with many organizations that have struggled to tell their story in a way that engages and resonates with target audiences. Building a strong brand starts with messaging. And delivering the right message at the right time is critical to an organization’s success.
I recently read an article, “Why and how you should integrate messaging into branding” by Carolyn McMaster, that talked about how messaging is now considered “verbal branding.” In the article, McMaster said, “if employees don’t understand an organization’s vision, they can’t convey it to their customers, so the organization will miss advocacy opportunities on its two most important fronts.”
She also mentions in the article that many companies, especially those with small budgets, don’t know they need messaging. And when a company doesn’t invest in developing messaging they can’t communicate effectively to key stakeholder audiences whether it is to its employees, partners, investors or the public.
So how do you develop messaging? I believe it starts by developing a message platform. A message platform should begin with a comprehensive message and positioning development process and an internal positioning statement, which clearly outlines the benefits and differentiators the organization provides to its target audiences. From there, key messages and proof points need to be developed to back up those messages, to arm an organization with sound bites for speaking opportunities, sales sheets, presentations, media interviews, website content, etc. The result should be an easy-to-use document for all communications moving forward. But just as an organization grows and changes, so should the message platform. It is a living document that needs to be updated regularly.
Ultimately, a message platform is a tool that can be used throughout an organization to get everyone on the same page to provide meaningful, consistent messages about the organization. That means it has to move out of the marketing team and leadership to all employees. Employees should tailor this tool so they may speak clearly, in their own voice, about an organization’s mission, values, services and products. It is in this real voice that will help messaging resonate inside and outside an organization.
“Done right, messaging will build esprit de corps, and your people will tell your story well everywhere. They’ll bring your brand to life,” says McMaster. I couldn’t agree more!