What you say (and how you say it) is more important than ever
“I didn’t know you offered that service”
With the rapidly evolving technology landscape, many organizations are retooling their service offerings to be more in line with their customers’ needs. Things are changing, including how we communicate. For many, answering the “who are you?”, “what do you do?”, “how do you do it?” and “how can it benefit me?” has dramatically evolved.
Do the people who matter most know about your business model or your service offerings? More importantly, do they know how these changes benefit them?
From your website, to handouts, to tweets—what you say and how you say it is critical in ensuring you remain current, relevant and influential to your markets. Who needs you? Why do they need you? What do you do and for whom? What is your value
The answers to these questions form your key messages and are unique to you. They must be consistent. Everyone in your organization must communicate using the same key words—sing the same song, march to the same beat. These words communicate the key points your people, or those speaking on your behalf, use to ensure your benefits are consistently communicated to your audiences.
Key message variation can be developed for a variety of purposes, such as speeches, public service announcements or industry presentations. The core, however, must be consistent and stem from the overarching corporate key messages.
A well‐crafted set of key messages will highlight your unique benefits, target your audiences, support your mission and highlight your value. They serve as the under pinning of all your communications.
A 10‐Step recipe to create your own secret sauce:
Clear key messages are not easy to develop on your own. Time and time again we see clients struggle with this exercise. Often, they are too close to their own content, describing it from their inward‐facing point of view. A harsh reality is that nobody cares about “you”. They care about what can you do for them. It often takes a skilled, neutral third party to interview and repackage how the outside world sees you and your services. For many it can be an eye‐opening experience. But it is also a very healthy one as the process brings the entire organization’s views together into a common place from which they can move forward.
Getting the right outcome can be like creating an amazing sauce—you need to follow a recipe, and add some creative twists along the way. To help you understand the process, we’ll use our agency to demonstrate the 10‐step model. Depending on who you are, what you do and for whom, your recipe could be different. This sample just gives you a snapshot of the type of process every organization should follow to develop key messages that are unique to them.
1. Who are you?
Your name and tagline should immediately say who you are, what you do and offer a benefit. This is us:
360° strategic communication solutions
2. Define your mission
What do you do and what is your reason for being?
We exist to provide progressive, solution‐based creative services.
3. Define your vision
What is your big picture goal?
Provide our clients with the most outstanding, successful marketing and communication tools—positioning our clients as leaders in their industry.
4. Create a compelling positioning statement
Create one or two sentences describing who you are, what you do and who you do it for.
We are a strategic communications firm serving businesses, associations and governments. Our team inspires each other to grow and learn, keeping us ahead of the curve so our clients are top of mind with theirs.
5. Define your services
Create a short statement defining the purpose of your services and a list of what you do.
We are an extension of our client’s marketing team. We help them realize their goals by ensuring their message resonates with their audiences and generates their desired results.
The Accurate Creative team delivers a broad range of communication services including:
- Strategic Communications
- Copywriting and key message development
- Brand audits and alignments
- Branding and corporate identity
- Advertising and campaigns
- Web design and development
- Print, exhibit and specialty item design
- Motion graphics and video production
- Multimedia production
6. Who do you serve?
Focus in and define who your client base is. This should be clear to your marketing staff as well as your client base.
We serve small‐to‐medium sized businesses, associations as well as all levels of government.
7. State your value proposition
Boil down into one or two short sentences a statement that conveys the value you bring to your clients and punctuate it with a benefit. Write it in the first person.
Everything you need is within our four walls—we can act, and react fast, delivering consistent quality solutions by known resources. No sub‐contractors, no hunting down freelancers — no voodoo — just real people, real talent, real experience. People love working with us, you will too.
8. Create your core values
Define four or five beliefs you will never compromise on and which you measure your performance against.
- Strive for perfection
- Break the mold
- Always be our word
- Live and breath quality
- Trust and respect each other
9. Define your key differentiators in numbers
Crunch your numbers in such a way that they define who you are and what makes you stand out from your competitors. These types of numbers are valuable to your sales staff and communications people because they give your team data to back up your value.
Accurate in numbers:
- 30 years in business
- 2 original owners
- 22 full‐time staff members
- from 16 different educational institutions
- 4 with 2 or more degrees / diplomas
- 331 years combined creative experience
- internal services of 19 professional skill sets
- over 31,000 projects since opening in 1988
- 5,000 square foot studio space
- over 800 different clients/organizations served
- 72% of our business stems from repeat clients
10. Develop an elevator pitch
Have you ever met someone that asked you to tell them about your company or organization? Many people struggle to give that quick, 20‐second ‘elevator pitch’ summarizing ‘who you are’, ‘what you do’ and ‘what your brand benefits are.’
The elevator pitch is #10 on the recipe for a reason. It’s the boiled down essence of your organization and probably the hardest thing to write because it requires discipline—you have to resist the urge to throw everything plus the kitchen sink in.
In our case, we opted to develop a modular elevator pitch. And, tell the staff to relax, they don’t literally tell someone this in an elevator!
AN AGENCY LIKE NO OTHER
Accurate Creative is a full‐service agency specializing in brand, digital, video and campaign strategies. Our team of 20+ strategic professionals are united by four shared values:
- Creativity: Tell stories. Create experiences.
- Quality: Aim for perfection.
- Capacity: Deliver when no one else can.
- Service: Go above and beyond.
Demonstrate Your Value!
Consistent key messages applied across your organization from long‐standing employees to new hires, from the CEO to the support staff and everyone in between—get on the same page. Craft your key messages. Demonstrate your value.
As said earlier, writing and refining your key messages means approaching the task with an objective lens. Some groups succeed while others struggle to find their true voice on their own. If your organization falls into the second camp, consider asking professionals like Accurate Creative to help you achieve the goal of clearly communicating your brand value to your clients or prospects.