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Why Do I Need To Develop Key Messages For My Product or Service?

Moms at BAM: A Fishbowl Conversation

Back in September 2020, we published a post on the importance of developing key messages for your product or service. Back then, we were at the height of the pandemic and many businesses were forced to pivot their messaging at record speed. Brands were required to redefine messages that not only solidified the significance of their product or service in our new normal but also develop new messaging that resonated with their stakeholders and employees.

Flash forward to 2022; we are now at a point where businesses are emerging from the COVID pandemic with more gusto and potentially a new outlook on navigating our new climate. For some businesses, they found it beneficial to keep the messaging developed in 2020. For others, this could involve re-imagining what their new claims and statements are as businesses, restaurants, retail spaces and offices reopen. 

If you feel like you’re in the latter camp and need to update your messaging stat, you may want to ask yourself a few questions about your existing messaging before getting started. It also makes sense to define a framework that gets all parties involved so you can ensure you nail the rollout of your new messaging once complete.

WHEN SHOULD I UPDATE MY KEY MESSAGES? 

As mentioned in our first post around key messages, messaging should be developed for the company itself, as well as the products, software features, or services your company provides. In creating these key messages, you’re highlighting the importance and credibility of WHY this product or service exists and WHY your company created it.

It’s important to critically review your current messaging and evaluate:  

  • Do our messages clearly communicate our products to our customers, stakeholders and employees? 
  • Is our current messaging being utilized effectively by all departments? (Sales, HR, Customer Success, Product, etc)
  • Do our stakeholders and investors understand what our product is? Are they able to clearly communicate this to others without the support of our team?

From these questions, you can start to assess the effectiveness of your current messages and determine where you may need to sharpen a few points to create synchronicity across all communication channels. 

HOW SHOULD WE APPROACH UPDATING OUR MESSAGING? 

Updating existing messaging can seem like a daunting task—especially if your company is twice the size as it was when you first established messaging. It’s important to develop a framework that works in phases. Your goal is not to change your messaging overnight, but instead create a clear roadmap all departments can get behind. In turn, you will get buy-in from your team and create “brand protectors” who are constantly evaluating old messages and updating them accordingly. 

Below are a few key components to developing a strong framework to update your messaging: 

  • Identify existing messages across all departments: work with each department lead to compile the current messages being used in their respective departments. Doing so takes the stress off your communications team or executives.
    • Hold an all-hands messaging meeting: hold a 60-minute workshop with all department leads present to holistically review all existing messaging. Have an open discussion about what works, what doesn’t and where each department would like to improve. Using data from each department, for example, getting key feedback from Sales or Customer Success, can be extremely useful in defining where to go next.
  • Distill and refine: this is where your communications or executive teams will need to do the heavy lifting to review the results of your all-hands to pull relevant themes and feedback. You can also call on the help of a PR and communications firm to help you evaluate these messages. Getting the support of an outside perspective can prove valuable - especially if you feel your team is too close to the existing messaging.
  • Build a final messaging template: after you’ve reviewed the feedback across each department and refined the messages, create a single source of truth you can share company-wide. It is important to establish a homebase for new messaging to prevent anyone from using old messaging.
  • Define a distribution plan: leverage your department leads to communicate the new messaging to their respective teams. Create a rollout calendar that enables departments to plan accordingly. This rollout calendar can include suggestions on meeting cadences to prep teams around the new messaging and give a hard stop on when old messaging will no longer be acceptable to use. 

The most important takeaway is that updating your messaging takes a bit of effort but shouldn’t be overcomplicated. You only need 2–3 key messages defined per product or service. Your product should be easy to understand.

These small tweaks to messaging will continue to happen as your business evolves. With a clear framework or the support of a PR and communications firm, you can add this as one more win on your yearly to-dos. 

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