Becoming the Master of Your Message

Becoming the Master of Your Message

What’s the most important messaging for your company? Perhaps it’s your website “about” page or corporate tagline. Or, maybe it’s your product descriptor or press release boilerplate. While all valid examples of messaging importance, many would argue the most important corporate messaging actually isn’t written down anywhere at all. Instead, it’s the spoken description your corporate executives and employees use day in and day out to describe what you do.

So, what is it that you do?

You’d be surprised at how many people struggle with this seemingly simple question. Elaborating on the classic “elevator pitch,” Carmine Gallo has developed what he calls a “message map” to help companies succinctly describe what they do and explain their core benefits.

To build a message map, Gallo recommends you start by creating a single, overarching message that you want your customers to know. This should be no more than 140 characters – the Twitter test, if you will – forcing you to keep it short and to the point. Next, outline the three core benefits of your product or service. As Gallo notes, people’s short-term memories can only process about three pieces of information, so any additional details beyond these three may be lost. Finally, to reinforce the three main benefits, come up with supporting stories, statistics or examples. To see Gallo’s message map in action, check out his video example on Lush, the soap and cosmetics company:

For PR pros, this is an extremely valuable exercise for three main reasons:

  1. Not only do we have to be able to describe our own company and PR services, but we have to do the same for all of our clients. Mastering one company’s messaging can be a challenge in and of itself, but multiply that by five and you’ve got a real task at hand.
  2. We support our clients at events where simple, concise messaging is all the more essential. Conference attendees passing by your client’s booth may have no idea what your client does and likely won’t care enough to spend 20+ minutes learning about it, especially if it’s not a direct fit right off the bat. But, if you’re able to succinctly describe the basic message and benefits, this may entice attendees to want to learn more and, if not, you haven’t wasted your time on an explanation falling on deaf ears.
  3. Many companies rely on their PR agency to help craft their corporate messaging. The idea of a message map is one way to get everyone on the same page, following a streamlined process to ultimately agree on the headline, key benefits and supporting points.

Mark Twain had it right when he wrote, “I have made this letter longer than usual, only because I have not had time to make it shorter.” Developing a concise message that still maintains all the key points and information can be a tricky endeavor. But, perhaps Gallo’s message map can help make the process a bit easier!


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