Back to the Drawing Board
By, Jordan Chanofsky, CEO, Fusion PR
If you’re actively engaged in message development, you’ve no doubt faced a common and modern challenge: there are few if any words available that have not been previously used by competitors, especially in the world of tech. Thus, many in our field have taken poetic license and used creativity to formulate ideas that attempt to evoke emotion in our readers. Over time, as we realized that words alone would not suffice to create differentiation or positioning, we found ourselves evolving along what I call the language ladder when building messages. What would have started as a single adjective, such as leading, broadest, maximum, optimized, unique, has evolved into key phrases or descriptives. But lately, many find that their phrases are pushing the limit on expressing leadership in a radical attempt to find originality in their messaging jargon; Radically Innovative, Magically Compelling, Recession-Embracing, Breathtaking Performance. By the time a set of messages are completed, they almost sound like they’re ready to be inserted into a juicy romance novel.
But then, in a moment of sanity, we rethink our statements, from the realization that we can’t continue to effectively position companies and express their missions clearly in this verbal arms race. We’ve come full circle to find ourselves once again describing the products and services in plainer language. We’re back to educating through messaging. I’m reminded of this through an exercise with one of our clients who is creating a new category, defining it and positioning themselves using it (the definitions). The entire process became so complicated that it forced us to come down to earth and take a simpler more plain spoken approach.
Remember also that part of the goal for any messaging exercise will be to deploy messaging is such a way that it can be maximized through social media. This has a very practical implication for messaging. For example, contrast the traditional design of messaging that is formulated into
statements (at Fusion, we believe in using three core messages) with what today might be a set of tags or links that reference further explanation (the statements). The tags now define the messaging, which implies that 3 may not be the number of core messages. In fact, the messaging structure changes to conform to the tags. And the tags will tell a story about the company or product. Looking back at your messages, you’ll notice that they now embody a more fundamental, more educational feel.
I find that the tags have one other feature about them. If we go back to the initial challenge, the one relating to the difficulty in originating key words, we will find that “message tags” afford us the opportunity to be straightforward with our words. We don’t necessarily want to use hyperbole or superlatives because that may not represent the company well in the social media space.
The simpler, more common language that most readers would understand and appreciate is legitimized. The phrases that will be used in searches will be better covered. Any further description can always be reserved for the referenced statements.