Spring is in the air — and we are reminded of new beginnings. We see blossoming flowers, green growth on trees and longer days. In business, Springtime reminds us that the company messaging strategy also benefits from newness and growth.
So many companies suffer from stale, ineffective messaging with no significant changes for years. Or, internal efforts result in inward and narrow messaging that is ineffective and draining.
After repeated tries at differentiation and capturing the essence of the company, faguite set in. Suddenly the narrative is not prioritized and no one wants to touch it. It almost becomes toxic.
That’s why we love Springtime and look at this season of new beginnings as the perfect time to revise the narrative with a sense of freshness.
We all look with admiration to the leading companies in the industries we serve.They have a rich and engaging narrative. They lead categories. And top categories are supported by a core messaging strategy that matters to the industry.
If you want to think and act like a leader, look to Springtime for your inspiration!
Spring Cleaning: How to Tidy up Your Messaging Strategy
Here are four steps we take to help our clients move their narrative forward:
- Conduct a Narrative Discovery Session
While you may have a messaging strategy in place, it’s possible that your powerful industry narrative has yet to be discovered. At Catapult, we gather key leaders at your organization from sales, marketing, technology, HR and more. Next, we ask both industry level and company-specific discovery questions to unpack what you see in your industry and the vision you have for the company. By identifying mega-trends, perceptions and misperceptions, and where the industry category can go, you start to look at the elements that make up the “why” factor to your story. It’s easy to say what you do, and harder to pinpoint the why factor.
Talking about yourself won’t cut it.
- Build a Strategic Narrative
After we ask the tough questions and help facilitate a healthy discussion, we work with clients to complete an industry analysis, create a SWAT analysis against competitors, and develop a narrative that differentiates you in the market. Most importantly, we aim to clearly and crisply articulate the “why” factor we discussed above.
This is super challenging. However, we find providing an outside perspective and getting the narrative “close” to the mark helps clients realize the vision and move the messaging over the last mile.
An important key to success: avoid self-serving and overly promotional messaging. Speak to the customer and what the industry needs to advance.
This resonates best with the community, engages your target audiences and, perhaps most importantly, helps align the company around a common, shared purpose.
- Build a Content Strategy Around Your New Messaging
Once we help you create a short-form narrative with as few words as possible, we find it easier to build out your PR boilerplate and company/product positioning and messaging statements.
During this process, we also help clients create a content calendar (remember, content is king!). The calendar focuses on the trends, perceptions and misperceptions identified during your discovery session. The narrative and associated themes make up the foundation for what you share as thought leaders.
Effective PR content is not limited to press releases, but also includes your blog, contributed articles, company presentations, organic and paid social media, email newsletters and more.
Each piece of content now reiterates the narrative and, low-and-behold, you have a messaging strategy!
- ‘Catapult’ your new Narrative into the industry
Now, the fun begins!
Once you set your narrative and content strategy – you share it with the world.
Don’t be shy.
Engage with the community in every digital space possible. Follow an integrated and coordinated communications strategy that includes: press releases, post blogs, media and analysts interviews, podcasts and speaking engagements.
Your message should be less about you, and more focused on the industry to connect and engage with the community in a meaningful manner.
Remember, flowers don’t bloom overnight, and neither do narratives. It takes a consistent, dedicated messaging strategy to truly make an impact on your community and to stand out as a leader.
Messaging Strategies for Beginners
If the idea of narrative development and messaging strategy sounds great yet daunting – we can help. Start with Catapult’s free Narrative Assessment. Our assessments are thorough, and provide you with an in-depth look into how you’re currently positioned, how you stack up against competitors and how well you address industry mega-trends that define and drive category leadership.
Spring forward, and take the first step to your discovery process!
Don’t wait for the dog-days of summer, just visit: [http://bit.ly/springnarrative]