Identifying and agreeing how you talk about your business and product externally is one of the most crucial aspect of any marketing and communications strategy. A lot of businesses get this wrong and either lack a consistent message or convey the wrong point to their audience. Spending time to seriously consider what you do best, who you want to talk about your products / services and how best to talk them will always pay dividends. A corporate messaging workshop is one of the best ways to do this, and is approach that has been tried and tested by some of the worlds largest brands.
Simply put, you should be looking to generate the following outcomes from your corporate messaging workshop:
- A succinct and completing elevator pitch
- Core messages – these are the threads that will weave through all of your marketing and communications conveying the key points that you want your audience to think and feel about your brand and your products
- Proof points to demonstrate the above – tangible evidence that you deliver on these promises – whether this be case studies, trust marks, consumer reviews or product details
- Options for your strap-line – the simple sentence used alongside your logo and branding
Preparation for the workshop
Like most things in life, the better the preparation for the messaging workshop, the more successful it will be. It’s worth spending time ahead of the session to really consider your existing audience / client base and whether you are looking to target more of the same and/or a different audience. At the same time, consider your product / service set – what is it that makes you different, why do your clients chose you and what are your USPs?
It can be a good idea to review existing messaging / strap-lines and key messages (if you have any). This can help understand what is currently working well and what isn’t. That being said, it’s important to come to the session with an open mind. So do be aware of what has / hasn’t worked in the past but absolutely don’t be tied to these during the workshop.
Finally, ahead of running a corporate messaging workshop, key stakeholders within the business must be in agreement that the outputs will be used business wide and will be properly adopted. Where possible, key stakeholders and related senior management should attend.
How to run the corporate messaging workshop
On the day, the workshop should take place in a dedicated location where everyone is free from the usual distractions. If possible, rent a room for at least half a day or head off-site. The business should
Disagreement can be healthy and discussion should be actively encouraged. The aim of the day is to create a consensus within the business around key messaging. so a good messaging workshop will incorporate opinions and views of everyone involved.
Appoint a lead for the session – this person’s role is crucial. The lead will be responsible for setting the agenda, running the session, keeping to time, managing disputes and generally keeping up the energy of the group.
A typical corporate messaging workshop agenda will look like this:
- Introduction – 15 mins – the lead clearly explains the goals of the messaging workshop and the agenda for the day
- Core USP and proof points – 1 hr – a detailed discussion around your businesses positioning within the market, why should customers want to use your products / services and what makes you different
- Market positioning and competitors – 30mins – a review of the wider landscape, what your key competitors are doing and saying, and where you want to play within the market
- Messaging pillars – 1 hr – The core of the workshop, combining the USPs, proof points, marketing positioning and audience into between 3 and 5 key messages
- Elevator pitch – 30 mins – Distilling these messages yet further into a 30 second / one sentence pitch that fully encapsulates what you do and why your audience should care
- Conclusion and re-cap – 15 mins
Using your messaging plan
Following your messaging workshop be sure to communicate your agreed key messages and elevator pitch with the wider business – ideally at a company update and then reinforced by email. Special focus should be given to content, marketing and comms teams to ensure that key messages immediate being to permeate through external comms and marketing.
Just as with brand identify or business values, it’s good practice to appoint someone as guardian of your business key messages. This person should be close to your external comms and marketing function. In the early days and weeks following your session, it can be useful to run all external comms past this person.
Finally, we see the best success with businesses that run regular refresher courses and updates. This doesn’t need to be a half day session, but simply having the key message guardian update monthly at all hands / away days is hugely valuable.
– – –
YOURS . SINCERELY has run corporate messaging workshops for businesses in multiple verticals and of every size. For more information on how we can help you get in touch.