What’s the purpose of communications and messaging?
You have your business goals – whether that’s growing market share, increasing employee productivity, or selling a differentiated offering. But how do you translate your goals into communications that will change stakeholder attitudes, feelings, understanding, knowledge or behaviors?
Your communication goals should be in service of achieving your business goals faster and easier. Words provoke action. Words inspire. Words persuade. Words earn others’ confidence by fostering trust. And, communications and messaging are playing an increasingly important role today when people research you on your website or social media before your first meeting.
If you don’t take control of your narrative, others will define it for you. If you can’t communicate effectively, you will not lead others to action.
4 ways that messaging can be used as a strategic tool
1. To build a cohesive internal culture
In our work with clients, we often conduct employee surveys to assess if there is internal alignment within the organization. One of the top employee complaints that we see time and again is the lack of communication between the leadership team and other employees within the organization. Without a clearly articulated vision, employees lack direction.
After going through the process of defining your brand and vision, it’s critical for leadership to actively communicate the brand and vision throughout the entire organization. Brand building starts from within. Succinct and consistent messaging provides clarity and focus. Engagement is strongest when personal values are aligned with those of the organization. By creating meaning for your brand and communicating this, employees can begin to fully understand how it relates to them and embrace it into their everyday actions.
After all, employees are the ones who will be translating your organization’s strategy into reality.
2. To externally communicate your brand promise
A promise is implicit in a brand. But your promise needs to be made explicit. To communicate your brand promise and how you want to be perceived, a brand story and its supporting messages need to concisely articulate to external audiences the following: how you create greater value, how you are uniquely qualified to do that better than anybody else, and how you’re going to make good on your promise. Consistency is key. A unifying corporate narrative that is consistent across the organization and brand touchpoints contributes to an enduring and cohesive brand.
3. To connect and resonate with your audiences
With your core brand promise and corporate narrative in place, the next step is to tailor messaging to achieve maximum resonance with your different stakeholders. Messaging is not one size fits all. You need to translate your brand promise and value proposition into selling messages that are contextualized to each stakeholder. The key is to connect with them – how can you help them solve a problem or make their life better? Speak to individuals in their language, within their context and desired outcomes.
How do you do this? Through research and customer insights, you should have a strong understanding of the stakeholders’ value drivers and the economic drivers (i.e., the quantifiable results) that they want to achieve. Make the connection between what’s important to them and how your solution will address their challenges and deliver the desired outcome. This is especially relevant with today’s increase in consensus buying. Skillfully navigating multiple conversations with key decision-makers is critical in securing buy-in across the organization.
4. To build relationships
Content (or messaging) is the core of your brand. It’s your brand voice in action. Through this, people get a sense of your organization’s personality, values, and why you exist. It’s how you create meaning with your audiences, build relationships and loyalty, and inspire them to take action. Content creation is not a one-and-done deal.
Now that you’ve put your brand promise out into the world, you’ve got to deliver on it! That requires communicating how you’re delivering your brand promise on a regular basis, whether that’s through customer newsletters, your website or social media channels, or marketing materials. Demonstrate how you’re creating value through stories, customer testimonials, unique insights, and thought leadership.
Content is a surefire way to increase traffic to your website and social media sites, allowing you to extend reach beyond your existing client base to attract new clients or new talent.