2/25/2006

Think your company's key messages really sing? So what. Over the past few weeks, since I joined Edelman, I've had the opportunity to conduct some key message development sessions. Essentially, these are information gathering meetings in which we attempt to uncover the most relevant messages about a company and its products/services so that we can create an appropriate PR campaign. We always focus on three specific audiences: Influencers, Recommenders, and Decision Makers. Why? Because if you can identify the messages you want to communicate and which methods work for reaching these three groups, then developing everything from press releases to marketing collateral to case studies becomes a breeze. It never ceases to amaze me how difficult it can be to get a group of people from the same company to agree on what the key messages are. Each person sees the company's strengths and weaknesses from a different perspective. They love to talk about what their area of the business does well. What I like to do is ignite their passion (and sometimes ire) by responding with "so what." That's how you get the relevance of a message. "So what" requires the person making a declaration to back it up with facts and anecdotes, as well as consider - one more time - how what they're saying is relevant to the Influencer, Recommender or Decision Maker. Once the messages are defined, we get to start the fun part, brainstorming. My friend and colleague, Sam Horn is absolutely masterful at brainstorming. Her upcoming book, POP! (How to Stand Out In Any Crowd) includes several valuable tactics and techniques that are guaranteed to yield results. (POP is an acronym for Purposeful, Original and Pithy.) Sam argues that to be one of of a kind instead of one of many, a message has to POP! I couldn't agree more. I also agree with her that brainstorming is a process that, when followed properly, brings a focus you may not get otherwise. How about you? Are you absolutely certain your company has the right messages and that those messages are being delivered in the right way? If not, now is as good a time as any to POP! to it. Just remember, no matter what the answer, the response should be "So what" Let me know how you do.

1 Comments:

At July 03, 2006 10:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can certainly empathise with you as I am stuck in the same predicament. In my company we have been "ding-donging" about our key messages for a few months now. That is why I am seaching the Internet for ideas and best practices for benchmarking. Perhaps Edelman would like to post some samples for benchmarking purposes.

 

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