One, two, three . . . what’s your message?

article_whatsyourmessageYou can stay on message. So can everyone with whom you work. Your message becomes the way people think of you, it’s how they will position you in their minds: Oh yes, that’s the company with a better light bulb.

But, there’s a caveat, an important caveat. You want that message to state the difference between your product (or service) and the rest of the market. The difference does not have to be the product itself; but, according to Jack Trout, “It must have a competitive angle, in order to have a chance for its success.” Trout uses Papa John’s Pizza as an example. The difference provides a competitive position in people’s minds: Ingredients. Their message: “Better ingredients, better pizza.”

Staying on message gets a bum rap in the press, because it can sound canned. Politicians have handlers whose job is to keep them on message. This is frustrating for the news media because the air of predictability is not newsworthy, often uninformative, and frequently a set of platitudes.

On the other hand, your business is probably not under constant scrutiny. Whether through earned media, advertising, or a self-funded marketing campaign, to explain why you are the best thing since sliced gluten-free bread, you want your message to get out. First, build consensus on just what it is that differentiates you. Then get your message straight.

Rules of Thumb to Get On Message

Be honest

Your message must be a succinct answer to why someone should prefer you to the competition. And, any claim you make must be bulletproof.

A Message to the Homeowner
An LED lightbulb is one of the few trouble free items in a homeowner’s life. Compared to an incandescent light bulb, LED lighting will lower your home’s electricity bill and pay for itself over the next seven years. In fact, you will not have to pay replacement costs until after your children leave for college. Between now and then everyone will be safer, because it burns cooler.


Be memorable by being easy to remember

Keep your message simple, but not simplistic. You want your audience to easily recall those points that differentiate you. Sure, there may be other benefits. But, if you want to be remembered, make sure they are the first three things you say. All the time.

  • An LED light bulb lasts for 20 years.
  • An LED light bulb saves on electricity.
  • An LED light bulb is cool to the touch.


Tell me a story I can remember

Our pre-school daughter has an LED lightbulb in the lamp on her nightstand. One night it toppled over. She picked it up by the bulb, without burning her fingers. By the way, the light bulb didn’t break.


Know what separates you from your competition, hone your message points, and tell a story. It’s a powerful combination for memorable marketing.

Posted by Frank J. Mendelson | Best Practices, Business, Business Communications, Marketing, Communications | Comments 0 |
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