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The Articulate Consultants Overview of

Key Messages

 

A few words matter, particularly in business, where the right few words can differentiate a company from its competitors. Concise, meaningful, authentic key messages are more important now than ever.

“The future of the book is the blurb.” Marshall McLuhan states this in his 1965 book, The Medium Is The Massage. McLuhan foresaw how communications technology would create a global village where succinct, convenient communications would be favoured and bring people together. Now, the right key messages can make those who stand behind them stand out and prosper.

 

Global village or not, we live in an era when many people encounter much more information communicated to them than people did in any prior era. This is why those who intend to achieve more through their communications must strategically consider what to say, how to say it, who should receive it, and in what manner.

When authentically reflecting the sentiments and vocabulary of the ideal client, key messages are the most important few words any enterprise has to say.

 

key messages defined

Key messages are words that convey the essence of something with a distinct identity and purpose. It could be:

  • a team
  • a company.
  • another organization.


  • a project.
  • a product line.
  • a discrete bundle of services.


  • a mission.
  • a philosophy.
  • a set of values.

A key message presents a brand in a few well-chosen words.

A key message could be:

  • a phrase.

  • a single-word expression.

  • a single-sentence declaration or call-to-action.

  • the statement of a few brief, poignant sentences.

 

Key messages examples:

  • name.

  • jingle.

  • motto.

  • slogan.

  • nickname.

  • elevator speech.

  • vision statement.

  • mission statement.

  • statement of core values.

 

what key messages do

A key message concisely communicates identity and purpose, ideally in words that the right people accept instantly.

 

what makes a key message key

Key messages unlock awareness and understanding of identity and purpose, creating clear understanding in a few words. Key messages promote brands to target markets.

 

what makes a good key message good

In any context, a good key message clearly states the central idea and identifies the benefit it offers. In the context of marketing and managing a brand, a good key message meaningfully identifies the brand and concisely states what it means to the market – ideally positioning it as irreplaceable.

 

what makes a bad key message bad

A bad key message identifies the brand or central idea in a flatly factual way, lacking a hook. It might state the purpose or intent in a way that lacks any special or unique quality. A bad key message could even repel the people meant to be attracted.

 

how long key messages last

Just as a sweet melody seems precious to many listeners, so an on-target key message can gain supporters rapidly. A strong enough key message can gain self-appointed promoters who help its spread. (It “goes viral.”) In such cases, a key message can last an era and seem to have a life of its own.

A key message that goes unnoticed because of its irrelevance, blandness, or mediocrity has minimal impact – sometimes despite persistent promotion. When promotion stops, the key message could already be dead.

Just as a slap in the face is always memorable, so a remarkably ill-timed, improper, weak, or otherwise out-of-sync key message leaves a lasting impression – even among those who push it away.

 

what difference a good key message makes

A good key message has a way of corresponding with the values or mood of the market so that it touches people as intuitively correct and validating or compelling. Whoever stands behind a good key message could be liked by and even find loyalty among those who respond well to it.

For example, consider how “Just do it” helped a sporting-goods company to harmonize with its market and increase loyalty and market share. The slogan has had significant equity value for years.

 

how to reduce reliance on luck

Sometimes, those who coin a key message that hits the target only succeed after a few lesser successes. Musicians, for example, can perform good music for years before composing a true hit.

Informed trial, expert testing, and wise monitoring are second-best only to great luck. This is how a company seeking to stand out in its market and succeed can increase the probability of success by working with an expert in marketing who specializes in key messages. Articulate Consultants is an excellent source of that expertise for independent businesses in Canada and the USA.

  

- Glenn R Harrington, Articulate Consultants Inc.

 

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