Why key messages matter and why you should care
What are key messages
Key messages are the most important points you want to get across to your audience. To your customers, your investors, and your people. They are the integral building blocks of your brand and business strategy.
Your key messages set out the points that build your brand story.
They are the main aspects of your business or project strategy you want to promote, to help you achieve your business priorities and objectives.
They set your business apart and help show who you are, where you are going and what you are aiming for the future.
All your communications, whether they are internal communications, press release, or advertising, need to include clear and easy to understand key messages to ensure consistent communication throughout your business.
Why do you need them
Well, the first question you’ve got to ask yourself is:
- How are you going to explain your strategy to your people, your investors, or your customers?
- What do you tell them first?
- What’s your process
Your people can only know about your business strategy, project or campaign if you communicate about it. But if you don’t provide clear points in your communication, your people won’t understand what you are trying to convey.
Your key messages need to help:
- Your reputation – they help separate your business from your competitors. Your story will help you attract your people and customers to your brand. They buy into your message.
- Build relationships – they help you introduce other aspects into your story; people, locations, emotions, relatable situations. By including these details, you develop a stronger relationship with your audience
- Create an exceptional customer experience – Your key messages tell a story, but they also create an experience for your audience, one they want to have as well.
Confusion around what you say will only lead to disengagement, distancing, and potential loss of business.
This is why key messages are so important and why you need to invest in them.
How they help
Your key messages help provide clarity and a purpose around your communication.
They help paint a picture of what your business is trying to achieve, its growth and development and how your business will get there.
If you’re trying to convey change, they help provide a clear call to action for what you need your people to do.
If it’s about a new service or product, your key messages will help promote the benefits, what the product or service aims to achieve and how it will help your lifestyle.
If it’s about communicating information, your key messages tell a relatable story giving your people the information they need to understand your business and your business direction.
When key messages work
You’ll know about the brands that have successful key messages. They’re the ones that stand out and have a great story. They make waves across social media and become household names.
Remember a few?
Here’s some to jog your memory.
Always #LikeAGirl – this advert focuses on the key message ‘like a girl’. This advert aimed to incite action to encourage women to share their stories about the issues they face while being confronted with the offensive remakes like:
“You run like a girl”
Bodyform #Wombstories – this advert highlights what women go through when they have their period, ovulate, miscarry, give birth, and go through menopause. It’s a powerful message that has previously been seen as taboo.
When they don’t
This pandemic has shown a lot of us in the UK how not to communicate.
One clear example of this was Boris Johnson’s Coronavirus speech as he first relaxed some of the restrictions. It was clear he understood what he was saying, but his team hadn’t broken down the key messages enough for the public to know what actions they needed to take.
There was confusion about what the UK public needed to do, what they could do, what they couldn’t, and what the boundaries were. It didn’t help that throughout the UK lockdown the key messaging had been “Stay Home” and then changed to “Stay Alert”. This moved from a very clear and easily understood message to something far more ambiguous.
There certainly were a lot of memes and parodies created afterwards from a disengaged, frustrated audience.
So, I’ve explained what key messages are, why they matter and how they help your business.
The benefits of great key messages are evident in the examples I’ve shown you.
They escalate your brand’s reputation, help spread your messages wide to your people, customers, and investors. They show what your business finds important and how they want to tell this to people.
So now you understand the importance of key messages, how do you integrate them to fully engage your people. This blog goes wider and helps explain how key messages fit into how you fully engage your people, alongside storytelling and a shared purpose.
Find my perspective of key messages interesting? Get in touch and let’s see what I can do for your people messaging.