Whenever we work with a new client, one of the first exercises we’ll take them through is our brand positioning process. This lets us get a feel for their brand and build a strong, story-first foundation for all of our subsequent marketing projects with them. One of the essential components of our brand positioning is creating the brand’s key messages.
So let’s start off with the basics: what are key messages? In Monday Creative terms, key messages are short, story-first statements (usually 3–5) that guide all of your external communication. These statements represent key topics you will discuss and share with your audience time and time again, to flesh out the story of why you do what you do.
But why is it so important to land on your key messages? How does having key messages set up your brand (and your company) for success?
1. It gets your team on the same page about what matters most
Going through the process of honing your key messages can be like holding up a mirror; it’s a very introspective process, and ultimately asks you the very important question—how do you want your audience to see your brand?
When we work with clients to land on key messages, it’s often surprising what comes up. Sometimes everyone on the team is exactly on the same page, each saying variations of the same phrases enough times throughout our session that it becomes clear everyone knows what matters most. Other times, opinions are more scattered as different team members bring forward their own thoughts of what makes their brand unique, so we have to work together as a group to distill eight or nine diverse ideas into five well-defined key messages.
That’s why it’s helpful to work with an outside collaborator, like an agency—we can ask you the questions you may never have considered before to see what common themes naturally emerge. Then, we use our experience to whittle those themes down into branded statements that feel unique to your own brand, written in your brand voice. Working with a third party to develop key messages is a great gut check that you’re ready to share those stories with an external audience, and can be a great way to get ruthless about which messages to cut so you can consolidate your messages into a core group of four or five.
2. It creates consistency
Once you know the four or five main story points you want to hit over and over, you can tell one consistent narrative about your brand across all your channels—from your social media posts to your seasonal campaigns to your website’s ‘About Us’ page. Consistency helps your audience understand who you are and what you care most about. It also helps establish trust with your audience, as they’ll see the same messages reinforced over time until these statements become synonymous with your brand.
3. It lets you control the conversation (even when you’re not in the room)
Each one of your customers has the potential to become brand advocates. From telling friends about your company to writing a review on your website, customers play a key role in influencing others to fall in love with your product.
And just as you would never give a speech without preparing your talking points, you’d never want to send your potential brand advocates into the field empty-handed. If you give customers a clear indication of what matters most to your company, you’re arming them with a script they can use to turn their friends into fellow brand enthusiasts.
4. It streamlines your content marketing efforts
If you’ve already landed on your key messages, planning your marketing strategies—from seasonal campaigns to ongoing social strategy—becomes a breeze. Everything can ladder back up into these key messages.
Hot tip: When planning a seasonal campaign, choose one or two key messages as the focus for the storytelling strategy. Starting here will streamline your brainstorm process and get the whole team on the same page.
Need help defining your own key messages? You’re in luck—it happens to be one of our specialities.