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Key Messages

The most important few words you have to say.

Effective key messages create understanding of essential ideas rapidly. A good key message plants an intuitive idea into the mind instantly. Ideally, that key message is grounded in authenticity and compels action.

how key messages matter

For any sort of business, key messages can help:

  • to distinguish a brand from competitors.
  • to guide organizational decision-making.
  • to maintain clear focus, preventing off-purpose drift.
  • to generate more business of the business you want.
  • to foster and maintain the loyalty of customers, suppliers, and staff.

establish relevance

Whether for a particular audience or for the world, a key message can be a single eloquent word. Some key messages take a few lines to read or a few seconds to hear. In every case, an effective key message is brief, simple, and full of meaning.

  • Is your slogan meaningful?
  • Does your market regard your name as fitting?
  • Does your motto strike the right people as relevant?
  • Does your call to action actually prompt appropriate action?
  • Does your elevator speech compel people to ask for your business card?
  • Does your mission statement harmonize your organization's purpose with your market's values?

the corporate concept

A good corporate key message contains the corporate concept. For example, Coca-Cola is much more than a one-beverage company. Coca-Cola sells fruit juices and other soft drinks under other names. Yet, the name Coca-Cola is associated foremost with the soft drink of the same name. The corporate motto covers it all: Enjoy.

succeed at this test

Could you express your brand promise wholistically in a single word or short phrase?

a simple concept that's yours

When an organization is successful at propagating and living up to its fundamental key message, then the identity of that enterprise is associated with a single concept that it virtually owns in the mind of the market.

  • Volvo = safety
  • Heinz = ketchup
  • Rolls Royce = elite
  • Molson = Canadian
  • Wal Mart = low prices
  • McDonald's = fast food
  • Guinness = black Irish beer
  • Baskin-Robbins = 31 flavours
  • Tim Horton's = donuts & coffee
  • Fender = electric guitars & basses

Is your fundamental key message simple, distinct, and well-known in your market? If not, then be assured: This is one of the problems Articulate solves.

internal or external focus

Of course, brand promises and mottoes address external audiences. Success with key messages for external audiences may only follow from clarity of the ultimate key message meant for internal communication only: the vision statement. Your vision statement succinctly describes where your mission will take you if you stretch to achieve it.

what you aim to achieve

Your vision statement describes a hoped-for future in the present tense. It expresses a tremendous or outrageous vision of success. That hoped-for future is currently not achievable. You can achieve it only if you work hard, adapt, grow, learn, stretch beyond your current reach, and have clear intentions under certain values.

When thinking about the future seems misdirected; when decisions today need to be validated or refined as aligning with your organization's purpose, these can be checked and calibrated in relation to a strong, clear vision statement.

make a difference

An authentic, articulate key message can reach the right people effectively, creating or reinforcing the right impression and helping to avoid direct competition. Since 1996, with expert help from Articulate Consultants, independent businesses in Canada and the USA have been discovering and articulating their key messages to good effect.

Enquire today.

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from Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

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© Glenn R. Harrington  /  Articulate Consultants Inc.