brand story & messaging

Brand messaging comes alive when everyone uses it

Sandra Stewart | August 14, 2014

When messaging sticks, it feels real inside your organization and out, and it’s what people think of when your brand comes up. And for that happen, messaging needs to get beyond your marketing team and leadership.

Everyone in your business needs to use your messaging—in conversation, emails, presentations, wherever—if you want it to come alive. Alas, they won’t do it just because you sent them the brand guide and handbook (if only!). Based on our experience, these are the keys to successful implementation of a new platform:

Enthusiastic leadership. Driving adoption is not as simple as having the CEO say “Do it.” Leadership needs to embrace it, use it and model it—internally as well as with external audiences. Otherwise, everyone will see messaging as optional.

Communicating the benefits. Good messaging solves problems. It clarifies goals and values, pro­vides easily grasped explanations of difficult concepts and gives everyone handy answers to common questions. Let people know how the new messaging will help them talk about what you do more comfortably, effectively and consistently. (They’ll even get cut-and-paste options. Who doesn’t love that?)

Training. Practical exercises that walk people through using the messaging in real-life situations is essential. This is especially true for sales teams and customer-facing staff: they’re primary message carriers, and they need to feel comfortable with their approach. Facilitated role-playing sessions are ideal. It’s also a good idea to provide a refresher session a few months down the road.

Using new messaging will feel uncomfortable at first—even if it hits the authenticity mark and rings true to everyone—simply because it’s unfamil­iar. Without ample reinforcement, people will revert to the words they’ve always used, even if those words inspire reactions like “Huh?” or “That’s nice, I have to go get another drink now.” You won’t get full value from your investment because your messaging will live only in your marketing and in the handbook on the shelf.

This is last part of a series of posts excerpting chapters of our Strategy>Shift guide, Messaging 101: 5 Keys to Unlocking your Verbal Brand.


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