Key messages are what you want the audience to remember and relate to. They keep your brand and vision on track and in line with what you want to accomplish.

The purpose of these messages in a business marketing sense is to develop a context for brand that speaks to your stakeholders and builds relationships.

Effective messages are short soundbites – they take 10 to 12 seconds to say or can be summed up in a few words. Rather than repeating over and over again, key messages should be seamlessly integrated into all forms of external and internal marketing and PR. Every touchpoint to your organisation should reflect the key messages and brand you want to portray.

The ultimate goal for a business is to deliver the key message in a subtle but memorable way. This is done by synchronising your look, feel and tone across all media.

One thing it is important to differentiate is that key messages are not taglines or slogans. Taglines and slogans should reinforce the key messages of the brand, just as Nike’s ‘Just Do It’ reinforces excellence and pushing to the limits.

6 ways to create key messages

  1. Work together as a team

One person should not be responsible for the development of key messages (unless you are a sole enterprise).

The key message needs to represent your brand and company culture as well as product or service. It’s the employees who’ll be selling the products or services, so they need to feel a part of, understand and believe in the messages you’re sending. The best way to obtain this engagement with the brand is by letting others have a stake in its development. Also, sometimes it takes another person’s perspective to uncover a USP that you may not have seen.

  1. Emotion – How do you want your consumers to feel when they think of your brand?

By establishing the feelings you want to evoke when consumers interact or think of your brand, it makes it easier to find the descriptive words to define your message. Discuss how you feel, how your colleagues feel and how you want your stakeholders to feel when they interact with your brand, and write it down.

  1. Describe and define

Find 3 words that describe your business. Try to include a word that conveys why you are unique. Now, use these 3 words to build on and create a short statement about who you are and what you offer.

  1. Personality

Does your statement display a personal aspect that your stakeholders can relate to? You want them to embrace and be a part of your brand. Key messages should assist by engaging and creating a relationship between the customer and the brand through a display of personality.

  1. Future proofing

Now that you’ve created a statement, it’s important to consider whether it will last the test of time. All businesses evolve, but you want to establish messages that can grow and innovate to work with your business at all life stages.

Think: is this message credible now and in the future? Can you deliver on promises now and in the future? Will it be relevant to clients as their needs change?

  1. Application

You key message needs to be tailored in a way that it can be applied across all mediums.

Consider, does your message work in print, digital and the spoken word? Does it complement your company’s design? Maybe in this exercise you have established that you need to tweak your design to synchronise your branding.

If you work through these steps you’ll have a strong brand and key message that can be applied to your business across all media. It will provide you with a platform to help test new ideas and give employees a great sense of who you are, what you stand for and the level of quality you offer.