Messaging is the creative aspect of Strategic Planning, and here, clarity of the message is essential. This is usually developed in three stages:
1. Key Theme (sometimes called USP, “unique selling proposition”)
2. Supporting Points
3. Creative Direction
In the big picture, the purpose and vision of your company determine why you are promoting a specific offering. In order to sell that offering however, it is important to determine the customer’s reason why he or she needs your offering, and what those “hot buttons” are (this refers back to the customer research gathered earlier in the process.) Together, these factors determine your Key Theme.
From here, we clarify the supporting points that reinforce that theme. These must strongly reinforce the highest-value benefit the customer will receive through your offering.
Once these are determined, then we can get creative. What kind of visual comparisons might drive home your point? What sort of tone is needed? This allows us to hand-off clear direction to our designers, copywriters, and public relations team.
A final note about messaging: There are things you can say, and things you can show. For example, the way to appear sophisticated is not to say, “I have class” but rather, to subtly illustrate this point with tasteful design. The tone must be consistent with your culture and personality, in order to attract customers that “fit” this culture. After all, high-tech, modern customers are attracted to high-tech, modern-looking vendors.
Once messaging is clarified, we move on to strategizing your promotional mix.