Building Your Core Message

When most folks think about marketing, they focus on the end result: postcards, Facebook ads, billboards.  They miss the fact that, when done well, those pieces are just vehicles for a compelling core message.  Building a that message is the heavy lifting of marketing… and most of us avoid heavy lifting (except this kid, she’s killing it!).

Your core message is the essential truth of your organization: who you are.  It must be at the heart of all of your marketing.  You can (and often times should) adapt your message to specific audiences and different media, but to be effective, those variations must be rooted in a single core message.

It often makes sense to adapt your marketing to fit your audience, so long as it is aligned with your core message.

The good news is that deep down you and your team already knows what it is.  Developing a strong core message is usually a matter of taking the time to decide who you are and who you are not.  These 9 questions will help you discover the essential truth of who you are.  It is important to come up with a single, most correct answer to each question.  Make the tough call: avoid “ands” at all cost!

  1. Business Challenge: What is your organization’s main challenge?
  2. Communication Objective: What do you want people to do?
  3. Target Audience: Who are you communicating to? 
  4. Key Insight: What is most important to your audience?
  5. Piercing Strategy: How can you get people’s attention?
  6. Net Impression: What do you want people to think about your organization?
  7. Lead Point of Difference: What sets you apart from your competition?
  8. Reason to Believe: What facts back up your claims?
  9. Brand Voice: What should be your look and feel?

Once you have developed a set of clear, simple answers to these questions, use your answers to develop a short, declarative statement.  “My organization is __________.” 

Now the hard part: discipline.  You will get bored with it.  You will get sick of it.  It will take a lot of willpower to avoid the temptation to change it.  To be effective across audiences and platforms, your core message must be lasting and reflected in everything you do.  It is your truth.  Be proud of it.