WHAT are Key Messages?
WHY do you need Key Messages?
Key messages are phrases of different lengths that provide a description of your company in very succinct understandable terms. These messages take several forms and can be used in multiple ways. One of the forms is called an Elevator Pitch, which is essentially a description of your company in 10 seconds or less (the time it takes for a short elevator ride). In fact this is one of the more critical messages since 10 seconds is usually all you get to describe your company to someone. There are also short messages and long messages depending on the objective you are trying to serve. Additionally, you will need a company profile ("About ABC Company") and/or personal biography for your media releases.
You need key messages to communicate to the outside world, whether to media or clients. Your key message must be consistent and communicate why you are different - or your unique selling proposition (USP). It also helps your employees when they are speaking with clients. Have you ever asked someone what he or she does, or what his or her business does and still not really know after they have told you? This is because they have not developed key messages.
Key messages will help you in all aspects of your business - from sales and advertising, to media relations and speaking engagements. Every time you speak to people and they ask, "What do you do?" it is an opportunity to sell your services/products.
When embarking on a media relations program, you never know when the media might call - messages done ahead of time help you to always be prepared.
In this era of "too much information," every executive, manager, spokesperson, and business owner should be able to condense corporate news, financial data, product information, and other announcements into brief, convincing messages that are expressed in an articulate and memorable manner.
With consistent and concise key messages, everyone will remember your company and what you sell.
WHEN should I develop my Key Messages?
It's never too early to develop key messages! Whether it's from the moment you develop your business/marketing plan (actually a great thing to do even BEFORE you develop your business/marketing plan) or from this point forward, it is never too late, either. Many business owners enlist outside help for developing key messages. Sometimes a fresh approach or outside "eyes" helps distinguish your USP. Key messages may change over time as you determine what resonates with your target customer.
WHO should develop the Messages?
Anyone from the Owner of the business, CEO, or President, to the Marketing Department and Sales People - everyone can play a role in the development of these messages.
WHO should use the Messages?
The owners, executives, company spokespersons, ALL employees, suppliers, and partners - anyone with a stake in the success of the business should understand and use the messages. If you can get your clients to recite your messages, you will have a great opportunity for referrals.
Leanne Bucaro, co-CEO of Infinity Communications, is a public relations professional with more than 15 years of experience in communications and media.
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