Last week, I facilitated a “Messaging Workshop” where the desired result was to create a clear and compelling message for a multifaceted product and service which previously had been difficult to elegantly describe to potential customers, recruits and investors – (actually make that near impossible to relay to anyone in less than 10 minutes).

Here’s the process we used.

There are three key components to every business: People, Systems and Brand. Each has several parts that have to be right and under the brand heading are three steps from my HEMP (Highly Effective Marketing Plan) process.

1. What’s the story?

The presenters of just about every video (the best ones anyway) tell stories. These have been crafted and honed to convey a message in a way that’s interesting, stimulating and memorable. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said about a lot of businesses. All too often their stories are a dull list of product/service features with the emphasis on their development rather than on the customer’s benefit of utilising them. After hearing the first iteration I then ask three questions:

A. What’s the problem you solve for the customer?
B. How will the customer feel as a consequence?
C. What’s the financial/time/improvement dividend?

(TIP – of these, B. is often the most important as it identifies the emotions that are the main driver).

2. What’s the one big thing?

All too often a company’s story is too long and needs distilling down to the one thing a customer must understand, be motivated by and remember. For example, take Amazon. I’m sure their story can have many parts, indeed several books have been written about them, but for me their one big thing can be summarised as: “Everything you want delivered the next day.”

3. What’s the benefit?

This is a checking step. It’s designed to make sure that the story and one big thing have at least one, ideally several significant benefits. It’s where I also ask, “who else does this?” to establish whether the proposition is sufficiently differentiated or indeed it’s this and not the story per se that needs working on.

The best businesses regularly review their messaging and make sure their stories are likely to cause an emotional response as well as ticking the box for their practicality.

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