It’s difficult to keep pace with today’s changing communications landscape as technological advances continue to transform how we receive and consume information. Although we’re accelerating towards a future filled with communication and technological innovations that we can’t yet imagine, the pillars of traditional communications – what to say, who to say it to, how to say it and when to say it – haven’t changed. In fact, they’re now more relevant than ever.
Key messages or “what to say” are strategic, easy-to-understand points that concisely summarize what you want your target audience to know about your company, your brand, your product or an issue. In the days when traditional media was the public’s primary source of information, key messages ensured a spokesperson would deliver a catchy broadcast “sound bite” or print quote that would run in the next day’s media coverage. With the proliferation of communications platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter that have the ability to instantly reach millions of people these key messages now play a far greater role
Today’s communications environment isn’t noisy, it’s deafening. Constantly on their devices, people are being assaulted from every conceivable direction and decide with less than a glance what to delete, read or share. A weak or unconvincing message in this environment about an issue, new product or service will be lost instantly, but an inaccurate, poorly worded or badly timed message can quickly escalate into a communications disaster that’s difficult to contain.
As seen in the rapid rise of citizen journalism, smartphones combined with social media, have given everyone both a platform and an audience. Issues, events and gossip that would never have been considered worthy of coverage by professional media due to lack of space or news value are now being widely viewed, discussed and shared. For example, today, a stakeholder Town Hall held to address a sensitive topic can easily be taped and shared. In this high stakes environment, where little remains private, it’s more important than ever to manage what’s being said, who’s saying it and how they’re saying it.
At a time when the competition for people’s attention has never been so difficult and the risks of saying the wrong thing have never been so high, investing in effective strategic messaging makes good business sense. While the consequences of inappropriate messaging are often swiftly and painfully felt, the impact of ineffective messaging is much less obvious, but the results can be costly too. Did your new product fail to sell? Did your fundraising come in below your target? Did your stakeholders lose confidence in their board at the AGM?
Beacon specializes in strategic communications including key message development and spokesperson coaching. Whether you’re managing an issue, preparing for a town hall, running a fundraising campaign, launching a product or developing a vision and mission for your business, we can help you.