October 12, 2016
Messaging platforms contain sound bites of critical information that spokespeople repeatedly convey to both differentiate and cement facts. They consist of key points to be repeated in every interview, speech and conversation so that those points are united with the brand name in the minds of all who listen.
But how does one create a messaging platform and what is its purpose for organizations that wish to leverage one? To create a messaging platform, we offer a handful of tips to kick-start the process.
- Focus on what you do well. What does your business do and how are you better than your competitors? Whom do you do it for and how do those people benefit? If you own a bakery and you’re backed by a well-known investor, saying so helps set you apart from every other bakery. Similar to communicating what you do well, messaging platforms contain specific points about your goods or services and deliver the value proposition – the inherent, tangible value of your product or service.
- Tell your story in 10 seconds. Defined as an “elevator pitch,” this element of your messaging platform is a one- to three-sentence description of what you do and contains unique differentiators that you can deliver in 10 seconds or less – typically the time it takes to go a few floors in an elevator. The purpose is to simplify and highlight key points about your business. This ensures that whenever anyone asks you what you do – in an elevator, at a networking event, at the gym, etc. – you can answer quickly, confidently and, most importantly, efficiently.
- Messaging platforms are different from tag lines. Though often conflated, messaging platforms are different from tag lines such as Nike’s “Just do it.” Tag lines are a form of advertising that crystallizes a brand story or promise and are often strategically used alongside company identification. Messaging platforms are lengthier definitions that touch on a company’s products, brand, mission statement, value proposition and history. “Just do it” may not make sense if consumers aren’t educated about Nike’s messaging platform as a globally recognized athletic apparel company supporting sustainability and a sense of community. The tag line strategically and broadly extends a messaging platform for easy identification.
- Create a digestible About Us. Frequently placed at the close of all press releases, an About Us or boilerplate statement is a one-paragraph outline of an entire messaging platform. It contains the official name of the business, value proposition, differentiation, awards/recognition, founding information and mission. It is a comprehensive yet digestible snapshot of the organization. For example, Paul Newman’s Newman’s Own, Inc. boilerplate reads as follows:
Newman’s Own, Inc., founded by Paul Newman in 1982 (its founding/history), offers great tasting, high-quality food and beverage products including salad dressings, pasta sauces, frozen pizza, salsa, frozen skillet meals, refrigerated lemonades, cookies, snacks and pet food (what the company does and what it delivers). Newman’s Own Foundation continues Paul Newman’s commitment to use all royalties and profits that it receives from the sale of its food products for charitable purposes (its mission). More than $450 million has been given to thousands of charities since 1982 (its value proposition). For more information, visit www.newmansown.com.
- Develop talking points and supportive statements. This is a valuable exercise in deciphering three to five key messages you want to convey to every external audience. At Axia Public Relations, our advice is to create one to two statements about the company or individual, one to two about the product or service and one all-encompassing value proposition, mission and strategic purpose. Once defined, with supportive bullet points for each, use these points across all business positions (sales, customer service, front office, leadership, etc.).
For example, a talking point may be, “Taza Chocolate was created to make and share stone-ground chocolate that is seriously good and fair for all.” Supportive statements would include:
- Taza was the first U.S. chocolate maker to achieve third-party certification for a Direct Trade cacao program. (supports “fair”)
- Taza Chocolate’s stone-ground process is inspired by centuries-old Mexican chocolate traditions using authentic Oaxacan stone mills that capture vibrant flavors and allow tiny bits of cacao and organic cane sugar to remain in the finished chocolate. (supports “stone-ground chocolate”)
If you are ready to tackle the task of building this important tool, Axia can guide you through the process of brainstorming, selecting, designing and delivering an optimal messaging platform. Call us today at 888-PR-FIRM-8.
Wendy Bulawa Agudelo has more than 15 years of experience in technology, business, consumer and non-profit public relations. In addition to serving on the Massachusetts Down Syndrome Congress PR Task Force, Wendy enjoys cooking and rooting for her favorite New England sports teams.
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