Avoid a Crucial Mistake: Start with Messaging
Years ago, I bumped into a neighbor at Starbucks. We were both dressed for business meetings, a far cry from the shorts and activewear you’d see us in as we shuttled our kids to activities and birthday parties on the weekend. The conversation instantly took a professional turn:
“What do you do?”, she asked.
My answer, a mildly incoherent jumble of marketing buzzwords, is just not worth repeating.
What it amounted to, though, is a powerful lesson that I haven’t forgotten, nearly a decade later. You see, that neighbor was also a successful entrepreneur with several businesses in the industries that Raven Creative serves. That chance encounter at Starbucks was an opportunity: to form a business connection, to spread the word about my newly established business, maybe even to win a new client. But I fumbled the delivery, and in that moment, I saw the opportunity vanish.
The world is noisy, and only getting louder. That’s why more than ever it’s important for businesses to know who they are, and to be able to articulate it clearly and concisely. And the truth is, you don’t need the world to hear anything from you, you just need the right audience to hear the right message.
If I’m being honest, our clients aren’t often excited by the prospect of a messaging workshop. It’s much more thrilling to move straight into the fun stuff: a new website, a social media campaign, the things that generate results. But if there’s one thing I can promise, it’s that without a strong message, there are no results.
At Raven Creative, we take the pain out of the process with a structured, half-day session, culminating in a complete Messaging Playbook for your business or organization. So, what does that look like? Keep reading, my friend.
Your session is only going to be as good as the people in the room. Simply put, senior leader buy-in is important, as is in-the-trenches expertise. Carefully consider who should participate in your Messaging Workshop, keeping in mind that you should cap the session at 10 participants to keep things focused and efficient.
Finding the right mix is a delicate balance, but participants should typically include the following:
- Leadership team members
- Managers with implementation/field exposure
- Subject matter experts and salespeople who know the industry/products/services/customers inside and out
We all process information differently. Thus, there are different comfort levels coming into a collaborative session like this. To maximize the time and resources dedicated, it’s important that all involved team members participate.
While some prefer to ideate on the spot within the session, others feel better equipped to engage when they’re able to prepare their thoughts in advance. We’ll provide thought-starter questions ahead of the session for those who prefer to prepare in advance. We’ll also ask you to complete a short questionnaire, providing our team with an understanding of audience attributes and current messaging challenges.
We’ll block out four hours of dedicated time, gathering participants together in-person or virtually along with facilitators from Raven Creative. From start to finish, we’ll walk through a seven-step framework designed to fully simplify who your organization is, who your ideal customers are and how you provide value for those customers. At times, you’ll hear us say and ask things that may seem obvious. This is where the power of collaboration really shines through. What’s obvious to you may be unknown to your colleague, and vice-versa. Ultimately you’ll work together to become fully aligned on the messages you’ll use to represent your organization.
Our facilitators are responsible for keeping participants on topic, staying within time frames, and keeping things focused on the big picture.
Messaging workshops provide the structure to drill down to the most important elements of your business. The process helps to tell your story in a meaningful way to the people who need to hear it most. The final takeaway is a cohesive Playbook that can be used and implemented company-wide, in sales conversations, marketing collateral, on your website and more. In short, it’s the go-to document for answering the “What do you do?” question.
Your Messaging Playbook can include:
- Audience Personas
- Elevator Pitch
- Brand Narrative
- Product/Service Overview
- Overarching and initiative-specific communication strategies
Ultimately, every business engagement, small or large, begins with a message. Get your messaging right from the start, and the ongoing, positive impact will be felt across your organization.
When a communications strategy is built upon this solid foundation, there is significant opportunity to:
- Drive increased recognition and awareness of your brand
- Deepen relationships with existing customers
- Promote your products/services
- Increase quality web traffic and user conversions through producing/sharing valuable content
It takes commitment. But it’s worth it.
Ready to schedule your messaging workshop? Let’s do it!