“Brand matters… But not the way many people think it does. As a Direct Response copywriter, I don’t advocate that my clients spend much money on ‘image branding’, but I strongly believe that every business should have an effective and memorable brand built up with consistent appearance, messaging, and patterns of interaction.”
~ Debra Hilton
Experts say you need 7-12 ‘touches’ to build enough credibility and trust for a prospect to do business with you.
Sometimes, though, you meet a person or talk to a business and it feels as though each of those ‘touches’ has conveyed a different message. In fact, occasionally you can’t be sure whether you are speaking to a single company or to many different ones because their messaging is so scattered and distracted. It’s rather like the movie ’50 First Dates’ where the young lady doesn’t remember the young man from one date to another – only in this case, it’s not a question of memory loss – but of inconsistent messaging which undermines trust makes you melt into the sea of competitors.
Manufacturing memorability isn’t about pretence, it’s about developing a coherent, congruent, and targeted message that everyone in your business communicates 100% of the time. Not only will this make you more memorable, it will also make you more trustworthy and increase your authority.
Reinforcing Your Reputation With a Core Message Guide
In a crowded marketplace, your reputation is easily forgotten unless you work hard to build a memorable and recognisable persona that every single ‘touch’ reinforces. Your logo, company colours and design are an important visual part of this consistency, but what you say, who says it, and how you say those things is almost as important.
Even your best long-term staff who know the business inside-out have good days, where they’re busy and focused; and not-so-good days, where they’re rushed and distracted. Wouldn’t it help them to be consistent when they’re responding to emails and phone enquiries, writing proposals and sales letters, or even talking to each other… if they had a standard manual that told them what to say and even how to say it?
In addition to saving time, this kind of guide ensures that every single touch is consistent, and that the quality and clarity of each response is laser-targeted without taking away from the personality of the respondent. It’s also a godsend to newer staff who don’t yet know all the details and persona of the company because they have a hand guide ready to help them.
Once you develop this message and start using it everywhere you will stand out from the crowd online, offline, and everywhere else because of the clarity and consistency of your message. That means you are no longer just one of many accountants, architects, business coaches, shoe stores, etc. – you are now in a class of one! A class you have created for yourself!
What Goes Into a Core Message Guide (CMG)
Every CMG is unique to the business for which is it written. Some CMGs have extra sections, other have fewer but the main areas they cover are:-
- Product / service tagline ideas;
- Description of the product/service – what it does and how it works;
- Unique Selling Proposition or Unique Story Proposition;
- Value it brings to users;
- Ideal customer descriptions;
- List of primary benefits for users focused on how it solves their problem or improves their life;
- Testimonials, statistics, and other social proof about your product/service;
- Multiple marketing messages addressing its secondary benefits;
- Emotional benefit statements;
- Product positioning statements;
- Proposal, contract, and payment terms
- Key benefit statements that can be used to overcome anticipated objections;
- Pre-headline ideas for use various marketing materials;
- Headline ideas for use in various marketing materials;
- Subhead line ideas for use in various marketing materials;
- Call-to-action lines for use in sales letters, emails, landing pages etc.
- Contact details of key personnel… And much more.
As you can imagine, this provides the framework for just about any form of written communication you need and saves you searching through files for documents to model.
The Core Message Guide (CMG) Transformation
What about a real life example?
Shelley was working alone and started using her CMG in July 2018 simply to make her life easier. She was sick of writing the same paragraphs over and thinking about how to ensure they had the right tone even when she was stressed or in a hurry. She quickly realised the value it delivered especially when she added a sales person, a customer service representative, and a second coach over the next few months. “The CMG saved my sanity and meant that along with developing a reputation for an outstanding product we were also known for our outstanding service and quick response times.”
What about your business?
- Do you have a company-wide set of communication standards and responses that can be quickly customised?
- Do you think that this could help you communicate with more impact and increase your effectiveness?
A CMG can make the difference between your business standing out from your competitors and blending in and it lets you play a role that far exceeds your size while at the same time making your life simpler.
These days many people add elements of their CMG into text expansion snippets as well as templates which creates a whole new level of customisation without sacrificing consistency or consuming massive amounts of time.
Create a Custom Core Message Guide
Has your business changed it’s messaging or communication style during the past six months or since you last put together a message guide?
If your answer is, “I’m not sure!” Then maybe you don’t have any guidelines to work from in the first place. If that sounds like your business then I can guarantee that you are leaving money on the table.
Invest some time in creating a custom Core Message Guide (CMG) that covers all your business’s communication needs and watch your opportunities multiply while redeeming your precious time. If that sounds like hyperbole, think again.
Consistency builds trust, trust creates opportunities and referrals, and those qualities contribute directly to your bottom line.