Every business has a point to make to each and every one of its audiences. Whether internal or external, customers or communities, your business needs to be making its message clear.
The first stage of this, and where many businesses fall down, is understanding what the message or point actually is. Before shouting from the treetops it is a good idea to know what you're shouting about, and an even better idea to have some sort of plan around making sure the people you're telling are going to hear it the way you want them to.
The message you are communicating, your point, isn't necessarily the same as the words you wrap it up in. While you might run a customer promotion or sale offer, your message can be more about value - either value for money or valuing your customers, than it is about selling. This distinction is what sets apart good campaigns from great communication.
Your business has stories to tell, no matter what stage it is at or what it does or makes. Knowing how to tell your story, when to do it and who should be told is hard to get just right. When you are in your business every day it can be especially difficult to be objective about the things you do. You can often find yourself thinking everything you do is a great story and one everyone wants to hear.
Unfortunately your story has to compete with hundreds of others your audiences hear in their day, which means you need to make it stand out. PR, advertising, marketing and any other communications strategists talk about "key messages", but what are they really? And how do you distil everything your business stands for, delivers and achieves in to a relatively small number of them?
- The first thing I look for when devising key messages is the "why". Why does the business exist, why does it do things the way it does, why do people need to care?
- The next is "what". What are the fundamental things that make this business or product what it is?
- The final one is "how". How is the business actually delivering on the why and what in the real world?
I know this is a relatively narrow assessment criteria (especially give the 5W and H rule generally used), however it is intentionally that way. By being concise and looking for only the most important parts the key messages used become the foundation for everything your business says. The rest can be built on them, always linking back to the core of what the business is about. They become the point of your business and can help you drive not only what the business says, but its culture and future development as well.
With the key messages, or point, of the business distilled they can be engrained in everything that is done. It is here that the title of this article comes in - the point can be brought home, or maybe more accurately the point can become home.
Be clinical with your assessment of your business or products, and revisit your key messages from time to time to make sure they are still as relevant as they can be.
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