It may be obvious to you, but not everyone thinks messaging is important. I’ve met many people in my travels who either don’t get it, or think it’s just getting in the way of them making money.
Why do people refuse to believe in the power of a strong message? Let’s take a look at some of the reasons in this next chapter.
The “what” of the campaign
Lots of times, they just want to get down to the “what” of the campaign. They want the script and the decor to be decided, and they don’t want to be bogged down with the background work. They want to know what we’re doing; they don’t really care about the why. This happens a lot with Leadership, especially when contractors are in the picture.
Some VPs and CEOs would rather jump to the steps where we’re getting right into the creative, rather than be bogged down by the backstory.
Why do they do this?
Time, money, pressure from the calendar; there are many reasons for this. Sometimes, they’re just dominant personalities that want to know what you’re going to do for them, not how you got to the answer. Sometimes, they’d rather dive right in than uncover answers. And sometimes, they just don’t know how campaigns should be built. Sometimes this works, sometimes it does not.
The needs of a campaign
Oftentimes, companies think they’re in a good place, so they don’t need to bother with a message. The company is making money, donations are coming in, employees seem happy. Why break this flow? Why try to change something up, or add more heavy lifting?
But really, they’re like a boat going against the waves, without a lighthouse directing it to shore. They’re bound to sink at some point.
Just because you’re bringing donations in doesn’t mean you always will. And just because your holiday giving is fantastic doesn’t mean much if the rest of the year you struggle to talk to people. And it doesn’t mean a thing if you have a larger entity handing you a life raft; you still haven’t figured out how to talk to people. Not knowing your message will always catch up to you.
Understanding a message
Messaging, for some companies, may be too haughty or too cerebral, or they think it’s just going to cause more confusion. Some say: “Why do I need a messaging plan, I’m a construction firm/plumber/trucking company/power tool company.” I hear this from folks I meet at networking events all the time. “Why do I need a messaging plan? I sell used car parts.” That’s another one. This is always the challenge because I know these folks need messaging, but they tend to think messaging just gets in the way.
I remember meeting someone at a networking event and to him, messaging seemed the furthest thing from his mind. He had just gotten an influx of seed funding and was good to go. However, I went onto his website and I couldn’t, for the life of me, figure out what made his service unique at all.
I want to stick on this point for a moment. First, when a company says that they’re “just this” or “just that,” they have a number of issues that go deeper than just messaging.
Just because your business isn’t creating videos, or making events, or running social media, or recording podcasts; that doesn’t mean your business doesn’t need a message. But let’s be real, you are putting out a message in everything you do, no matter what creative marketing tactic you choose.
Whether you’re making a campaign for $200 or $20,000; you need marketing. And marketing doesn’t go anywhere if there isn’t a clear message behind it. No matter who you are, you need marketing. You can be blue-collar, white collar, any collar; it does not matter. You need to talk about yourself, market yourself, and showcase your products. And the way to do that, successfully, is with a clear message.
Another thing companies don’t think about is how integral messaging is for their employee communications. Everyone thinks they need to talk to people outside their organization, while they forget to talk to the folks actually running the house. I do not care whether you’re a giant university with millions in the bank, or a fleet of construction vehicles; every business needs a message for its employees. Your employees need to be talked to.
All. The. Time.
How are you talking about the office culture? How are you talking about the benefits package? What are you doing to make employees feel engaged?
If I’m an employee, what values do you want to impart to me? If you think you can get away without messaging your employees, then don’t be so shocked as to why you have a sizable amount of turnover this quarter. And the quarter before that. It matters how you talk about yourself. And it matters how you talk to your employees. Who cares if you’re a plumbing company or a conglomerate? People need to know why you’re good at what you do and employees need to know that you care about them.