By John Rougeux, VP Marketing, North America at Skyfii
One of the most important functions of marketing is to get your company's messaging right. Whether you're bringing a new concept to market or trying to differentiate in a crowded space, the right message can make or break your ability to get attention from buyers. And as if getting the right message wasn't hard enough, keeping it consistent across your team is an equally daunting challenge.
Does any of this sound familiar?
- Your website, sales decks and marketing collateral use different approaches to explaining your buyer's problem and your company's solution.
- When you ask a dozen people in your company what you do, you get a dozen different answers.
- Whenever you create a new piece of marketing collateral, you write it from scratch because existing content "just isn't right."
If so, you may be in need of a messaging framework. It will help you get the right messages documented, keep your messaging consistent across your team and save time when you build new material.
What is a messaging framework?
What if you had to create your company's logo from scratch every time? Sounds ridiculous, doesn't it?
Most companies never have to deal with that because designers build visual identity guides for us. These document what visual assets to use (logo, graphic elements, etc.). They outline how these assets are supposed to be implemented and set rules to prevent misuse. In short, a visual identity guide ensures that the way your brand looks is correct and consistent.
But when it comes to messaging, many marketers find themselves having to come up with new copy every time. Or, they're repurposing and modifying old content to the point where it's no longer consistent with the original.
This is where your brand's messaging framework comes into play. A messaging framework is the verbal equivalent of your brand's visual identity guide. It outlines the key messages your team needs to convey about your company, its products and its vision for the future.
Create a gold standard for your messaging.
A messaging framework serves as a sort of standard that all your copy should be based off of. It can even include material for your team to use verbatim when talking to customers. While the structure of a messaging framework will vary from company to company, here's the outline we use at Skyfii:
- Company mission, vision, values
- An outline of the position in the market we want to convey
- 10-, 25-, 50- and 100-word descriptions of the company
- Product hierarchy and relationships
- Product-level differentiation points, messaging pillars, pain points addressed, 5- and 25-word descriptions, core features and benefits
- Descriptions of core markets
- Descriptions of core personas
- Brand personality and voice
- Use cases by role, industry and market
Involve your team in creating your messaging framework.
Building your messaging framework shouldn't be a solo exercise. It's a process that must involve your sales team, leadership, product developers and other stakeholders. Ideally, you'll want to get as much feedback as possible during the development process. You won't be able to accommodate all comments, but the more people who are involved in creating the document, the more likely it is that they will be on board with using it.
Your messaging framework won't do much good if it's just a document sitting by its lonesome self, though. Once your messaging framework is complete, I recommend sitting down with your entire team, whether in person or via a video conference, and walking them through the document. If they see it as a resource that will save them time (and close more deals), it's more likely that it will be put into use.
Remember that your messaging framework is a living thing.
Your messaging framework isn't a static document. It's a living thing that must regularly be updated to reflect the growth of your company. Continue nurturing it, and share changes with your team. Before long, you'll find that you're able to produce consistent message across every medium much more easily and quickly.
John Rougeux is VP Marketing, North America at Skyfii(ASX:SKF), providing visitor intelligence and engagement solutions for physical venues.