5 Tips to Strong Corporate Communications Messaging

When you begin to put together a marketing communications plan, the discussion invariably turns to messaging and positioning. These two terms can take on different meanings and the process can by quite different between practitioners, but in the context of public relations or corporate communications it comes down to what you want to say, how to say it in the context of the public discussion, and to whom you want to say it.

The following are five tips to ensure you develop the best messages for your company, products or services.

  1. Identify your category. This one isn’t rocket science, but it’s a good idea to discuss and come to a consensus of what market space is at play. Doing so helps everyone in your organization speak from the same page and will help guide the message you want to convey to your audience. However, the category is not always obvious. For example, when you think about it, what category does the NFL play in? People usually say right off the bat, “football!” But with a little thought they will then say, “entertainment.” The correct answer is sports entertainment.
  2. Identify your position in your category. This one can be a little trickier, but the discussion can lead to a better understanding of what your position is in your marketplace. Some people may call this your brand position. In our NFL example, the NFL’s position within the sports entertainment category is to provide the best possible football experience.
  3. Develop your audience. Most people in your organization may feel they understand your audience – your customers, your clients, your suppliers, your shareholders, other influencers etc. But, often there are differences of opinions or priorities in regards to the audience. Identifying your audience(s) is crucial to communicating your brand position, category and other important messages. You can’t communicate messages effectively without a proper audience. Make a list and think about vertical audiences as well as your main audiences. Note: The media is not your audience. They are a means to reach your audience. Your media targets need to be determined by the audience you’re trying to reach.
  4. Create your messages. This is the fun part. Once you’ve identified your category, brand position and audiences, brainstorm the messages you want to convey. Think about messages to communicate what your organization is all about, messages about your product and services, specialized messages to your vertical audiences. Create a long list of messages you want your audience to see or hear. Once completed, group your messages placing related messages together. Then pick the one or two strongest messages from each group. These messages become your main messages while all the others become supporting messages.
  5. Write your position statement. Write a 25-word position statement that captures your organization based upon the messaging exercise you’ve just completed. Then, using your new position statement, make s second statement adding an additional 25-words with added details and messages of your organization to make a 50-word statement. These become your elevator pitch, boilerplate and statements you can use in a variety of locations throughout your marketing work.

This simple yet well thought out exercise will provide you with the initial and basic messaging you need to communicate to your most important audiences. You can use them in your marketing materials, website, social networks and other areas. They are especially suited for use when conducting interviews with the media.