Public relations and marketing efforts can be made so much easier if the business or organization has a clear and concise set of primary messages, also known as key messages. These messages are essentially positioning statements that accurately reflect a company’s vision, mission, and strategic goals. An incredibly useful resource to have on hand to assist communicators as they develop marketing and communication materials.
Purpose of Primary Messages
The purpose of primary messages is to serve as the foundation for all public relations and marketing communication. They ensure consistent and on-point messaging across all communication media, i.e. brochures, press releases, presentations, web content, etc. Using these messages will prevent irrelevant, contradictory, tangential, and misleading communications that can serve to confuse and turn off potential customers. These messages are not intended to be a public document; rather it is for internal guidance and reference.
How to Use Primary Messages
The use of these messages will depend on the context. All communication vehicles will reflect one or more of the primary messages, but the emphasis and focus will change depending on the use, as well as the audience. For example, a corporate brochure may use all messages while a blog post about a company fundraiser would focus on the primary message related to community service. In addition to these external communication vehicles, your primary messages can also be used in employee training programs or used by sales and management to develop elevator pitches or prepare for media interviews.
How to Create Your Primary Messages
The first step to creating primary messages involves deciding what is important. It’s important to be clear and concise at this stage – you don’t want to end up with pages of complicated messages as this will defeat the purpose. Try and limit the number to around five. If necessary, you can add secondary messages, but again, keep it simple.
I like to make sure that the primary messages cover the following ground:
- What is your vision/mission and why is it important?
- What is different and special about your company? How long have you been in business? Do you have any awards or accolades you are especially proud of?
- What is important about your customer service or products? How is it better than anyone else?
- What does your company do for the community or the environment? Do they support certain causes or take part in local events?
Once you have decided on the basic content of your messages, re-write them in language that will appeal to your audiences and avoid using jargon. Most messages will benefit from using clear and concise language that quickly conveys the important information, but that are also friendly, welcoming and reassuring.
If you’d like help developing your company’s primary messages, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.