Messaging: The Essential Ingredient

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Messaging is the foundation upon which all good public relations strategies are built. From media plans, crisis communications and grassroots programs to brand platforms, blogs and news stories, messages that are both meaningful and memorable are essential. In short, you need messaging that connects with hearts and minds it you want to change attitudes and behaviors. But what exactly constitutes effective messaging and how do you create it? And once you’ve developed your messages, how do you use them?

This presentation was delivered on November 3, 2010, at the North Carolina Chapter of PRSA’s annual "Marketing and PR Day" held in Chapel Hill, N.C.

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Messaging: The Essential Ingredient

  1. 1.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  1   Messaging   The  Essen,al  Ingredient   Roger  M.  Friedensen,  APR   President  |  CEO   roger@forgecommunica-ons.com   @ForgeComm  |  @RogerFriedensen   © 2010 Forge Communications LLC. All Rights Reserved.
  2. 2.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  2   Once  upon  a  ,me  .  .  .  
  3. 3.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  3   “You  must  remember  this  .  .  .”   •  Effec2ve  messages  are  developed  through  a  planning   process  that  can  be  learned.   •  Effec2ve  messages  are  based  on  primary  truths  about   who  we  are  as  humans.   •  Effec2ve  messaging  is  the  fundamental  ingredient  in   successful  marke2ng  public  rela2ons,  regardless  of   the  channel.  
  4. 4. PRESENTATION TO CLIENT NAME | CONFIDENTIAL | PAGE 4 What  is  a  message?  
  5. 5.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  5   More  specifically  .  .  .   •  Informa2on   »  Sent  to   »  Received  by   •  Noun  and  verb   »  Something  we  create   »  Something  we  do   »  Both  involve  planning  
  6. 6.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  6   Messages  =  Ideas  (good  and  bad  .  .  .)  
  7. 7.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  7   All  in  all,  though,  a  message  is  .  .  .  
  8. 8.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  8   Messages  
  9. 9.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  9   Messages  are  founda,on  stones   •  “We  are  a  good  neighbor.”   •  “We  follow  all  environmental  laws  and  regula2ons.”   •  “You  can  trust  us  with  your  family’s  investments.”   •  “Using  this  body  wash  will  get  you  chicks.”   •  “I  did  not  have  sex  with  that  woman.”  
  10. 10.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  10   Why  are  messages  important?  
  11. 11.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  11   Messages  
  12. 12.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  12   How  do  you  tell  good  messages  from  bad  ones?  
  13. 13.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  13   Good  messages  are  .  .  .   •  Clear   •  Concise   •  Connec2ng   •  Compelling   •  Construc2ve  
  14. 14.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  14  
  15. 15.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  15   Okay,  so  that’s  what  a  message  is  –  now   what?  Like,  what  makes  ‘em  work?  
  16. 16.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  16   Good  messages  answer  these  ques,ons   •  Rela2ve  advantage   »  Is  it  be9er  than  what  I  have  now?   •  Compa2bility   »  Does  it  fit  with  my  world  view?   •  Complexity   »  Is  it  hard  to  use?   •  Trialability   »  How  easily  can  I  give  it  a  try?   •  Observability   »  How  visible  are  its  benefits  to  others?   Adapted  from  Evere_  Rogers,  Diffusion  of  Innova-on  
  17. 17. PRESENTATION TO CLIENT NAME | CONFIDENTIAL | PAGE 17 What  do  we  find  persuasive?  
  18. 18. PRESENTATION TO CLIENT NAME | CONFIDENTIAL | PAGE 18 What  do  we  find  persuasive?  
  19. 19. PRESENTATION TO CLIENT NAME | CONFIDENTIAL | PAGE 19 ”.  .  .the  ability,  in  each  par,cular  case,  to  see  the  available  means  of   persuasion."  
  20. 20.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  20   Ethos        ACME  Gizmotronics,  the  company  you've  trusted  for   over  100  years,  has  recently  entered  the  World  Wide   Web!  Now  you  can  purchase  our  fine  products  through   the  Internet.  Our  quality  gizmos,  widgets  and   thingamabobs  can  be  shipped  to  you  within  minutes.   All  come  with  the  famous  life,me  guarantee  that   makes  Acme  the  company  that  the  world  depends  on   for  its  gizmo  needs.        Our  spokesperson,  Mr.  Coyote  says  "I'm  not  really  a   coyote,  but  I  play  one  on  TV.  I've  used  Acme  products   for  years.  Their  slingshots,  rocket  launchers,  crowbars,   pogo  s-cks  and  power  pills  are  the  best  around.  And   don't  forget  their  high-­‐powered  dynamite!  I  buy   everything  from  Acme.  They  are  the  company  that  I   trust  the  most.”          ACME  is  currently  suppor,ng  research  into  a  form  of   clean,  ultra-­‐efficient,  cesium-­‐based  power  that   promises  to  usher  in  a  new  period  of  cheap,  globally   available  power.    
  21. 21.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  21   Logos        By  combining  cesium  and  dihydro-­‐oxide  in   laboratory  condi,ons  and  capturing  the  released   energy,  ACME  has  promised  to  lead  the  way  into   the  future.  Our  energy  source  is  clean,  safe  and   powerful.  No  pollutants  are  released  into  the   atmosphere.  The  world  will  soon  have  an   excellent  source  of  clean  energy.        ACME  is  currently  working  towards  a  patent  on   our  process.  Our  scien2sts  are  exploring  ways  to   use  the  process  in  cars,  houses,  airplanes  and   almost  anything  else  that  needs  power.  ACME   ba[eries  will  be  refi[ed  with  small  dihydro-­‐ cesium  reactors.  Once  the  en2re  world  is   powered  by  ACME's  generators,  we  can  all  relax   and  enjoy  a  much  easier  life.          Please  examine  more  detailed  informa2on   about  our  cesium  research  by  clicking  here.  
  22. 22.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  22   Pathos   A  baby  turtle  breaks  free  from  the  leathery  shell  of  its  egg,   catching  its  first  glimpse  of  its  first  sunrise.  It  pauses  a   moment  to  rest,  unaware  of  the  danger  that  lies  so  close  to  it.   As  the  2de  comes  in,  approaching  the  nest,  it  also  approaches   a  small  pile  of  metal  -­‐  cesium.  The  water  draws  closer  and   closer,  the  turtle  unsuspec2ng  of  the  danger.  Finally,  the   water  touches  the  cesium.  The  nest  is  torn  to  bits  in  the   resul2ng  explosion,  killing  one  the  young  baby.   Why  does  this  happen?  One  name:  Acme.   Acme  Gizmotronics  is  suppor2ng  a  dihydro-­‐cesium  reactor  to   squeeze  energy  out  of  such  destruc2ve  explosions.  And  they   are  dumping  waste  cesium  onto  the  shores  of  their  island,   threatening  the  environment.  Studies  have  shown  the   dihydro-­‐cesium  reactor  will  destroy  Costa  Rica’s  ecosphere  in   less  than  four  months!  How  can  they  get  away  with  this?   Costa  Rica  has  lax  environmental  laws,  allowing  Acme  to  do   whatever  they  want.  What  can  you  do  about  this?   Don't  let  them  get  away  with  it!  Boyco[  Acme  products!  And   call  your  representa2ves,  and  tell  them  you  support  stricter   regula2ons.  
  23. 23.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  23   Okay,  so  that’s  how  we’re  persuaded  –   what  mo3vates  us?  
  24. 24.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  24   Mo,va,ons   Pleasure   Pain   vs.  
  25. 25.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  25   Hope   Fear   vs.   Mo,va,ons  
  26. 26.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  26   Mo,va,ons   Acceptance   Rejec2on   vs.  
  27. 27.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  27   Mo,va,ons   Pride   Shame   vs.  
  28. 28.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  28   Feelings  change  aatudes/behavior   •  Pleasure  –  Pain   •  Hope  –  Fear   •  Acceptance  –  Rejec2on   •  Pride  –  Shame  
  29. 29.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  29   Tell  me  less  about  how  it  came  to  be   and  more  what  it  means  to  me.  
  30. 30.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  30   Crea,ng  effec,ve  messages:   A  12-­‐step  program  
  31. 31.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  31   Step  1:  Be  a  student  of  humans   •  Study  and  be  fascinated  by  people   •  Study  how  we  think  and  act  as  individuals/groups   »  Psychology   »  Philosophy   »  Poli2cal  science   »  Literature   »  Sociology   »  History   »  Communica2on   »  Persuasion  
  32. 32.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  32   Step  2:  Be  a  student  of  yourself  
  33. 33.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  33   Step  3:  Be  an  expert   •  Know:   »  Situa2on   »  Organiza2on   »  Environment   »  Issue/Product   »  Compe2ng  messages   »  Past/present/future   •  Your  business   •  The  truth  
  34. 34.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  34   Step  4:  Try  on  someone  else’s  shoes  
  35. 35.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  35   Step  5:  Appeal  to  basic  human  ins,ncts   •  What  happened?   •  Are  my  family  and  I  safe?   •  Is  this  good  or  bad  for  me  and   my  family?  My  friends?   •  Is  this  good  or  bad  for  the   environment?   •  Who  is  responsible?   •  Who  should  be  rewarded  or   punished?   •  How  and  when  are  things  going   to  be  fixed?   •  What  will  this  do  for  me?   •  Is  this  the  right  thing  to  do?  
  36. 36.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  36   Step  6:  KISS   •  Brevity  is  the  soul  of  wit  –  and  effec2ve  messages   •  If  it’s  easier  to:   » Write     •  Then  it’s  easier  to:   » Adapt   •  Which  makes  it  easier  to:   » Remember  
  37. 37.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  37   Step  7:  Take  it  for  a  test  drive  
  38. 38.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  38   Step  8:  Light  a  sparkler  or  two   •  “ACME  is  a  good  neighbor.”   »  “We  donate  more  than  $1.5  million  annually  to   organiza2ons  that  help  make  our  community  a  be_er  place   to  live  and  work.”   »  “Our  3,200  employees  contributed  more  than  38,000  hours   last  year  to  build  homes  and  collect  food  for  the  needy.”  
  39. 39.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  39   Step  9:  Be  the  ball,  Danny  
  40. 40.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  40   Step  10:  Grab  the  remote  
  41. 41.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  41   Step  11:  Choose  wisely     and  adapt  
  42. 42.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  42   Step  12:  Go  forth  and  conquer  
  43. 43.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  43   Speaking  of  channels,     some  things  have  changed  .  .  .  
  44. 44.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  44   Communica,on  then   •  Way  long  ago  .  .  .   »  Word  of  mouth   »  Parchment   »  Walls  and  rocks   •  Pre_y  long  ago  .  .  .   »  Speeches   »  Town  criers   »  Handbills,  posters   »  Newspapers   •  Not  too  long  ago  .  .  .   »  Newspapers,  TV  and  radio   »  Billboards  
  45. 45.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  45   •  Newspapers,  magazines   •  Radio  +  satellite   •  TV   •  Websites/microsites/streams   •  Phone,  fax   •  Wall,  rocks   •  Movies   •  Brochures   •  Planes,  trains  and  automobiles   •  Skywri2ng   •  Bathroom  urinals   •  Point-­‐of-­‐purchase  displays   •  Leaflets   •  Cereal  boxes   •  iPads   •  Guerilla  marke2ng   •  Billboards   •  Blogs   •  Posters  and  signs   •  YouTube,  U-­‐Stream   •  Direct  mail   •  E-­‐mail   •  Online  chats   •  Annual  reports   •  Newsgroups   •  Posters   •  Staged  events   •  SMS/MMS   •  MP  Games   •  Sponsorships   •  Facebook   •  Twi_er   •  LinkedIn   •  Tumblr/Posterous   •  FriendFeed   •  Ning   •  Mee2ngs   •  Mobile  marke2ng   •  Apps   •  Sports  events   •  Taxi  cabs   •  Flash  mobs   •  Tweet-­‐ups   •  Coffee  cups   •  Oh  yeah,  speeches,  too  
  46. 46.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  46   But  most  things  haven’t  changed  
  47. 47.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  47   Business  hasn’t  changed   “Benefits  should  be  conferred  gradually;  and  in  that  way  they  will  taste  be9er.”   “It  is  be9er  to  be  feared  than  loved,  if  you  cannot  be  both.”     “A  wise  ruler  ought  never  to  keep  faith  when  by   doing  so  it  would  be  against  his  interests.”     “Poli-cs  have  no  rela-on  to  morals.” “The  new  ruler  must  determine  all  the  injuries  that  he  will  need  to   inflict.  He  must  inflict  them  once  and  for  all.”   “In  the  end,  you're  measured  not  by  how  much  you   undertake  but  by  what  you  finally  accomplish.”    
  48. 48.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  48   And  poli,cs  certainly  haven’t  changed  
  49. 49.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  49  
  50. 50.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  50   Early  tex2ng   Boring  guy  blathering  on   precursor  to  C-­‐Span   Opponent  hamming  it   up  for  camera   Empty  seats  of  senators  who  took   off  early  for  vaca2on.   Horse-­‐ trading  in   the  gallery  
  51. 51.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  51   Humans  haven’t  changed  
  52. 52.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  52   Play,me  
  53. 53.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  53   Why  I  love  my  job  
  54. 54.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  54   The  bo[om  line?   •  New  tools  but  same  old  basics   •  It’s  about  strategy,  not  tac2cs   •  It’s  about  benefits,  not  features   •  The  more  things  change,  the  more  they   stay  the  same  
  55. 55.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  55   I  hope  you  remember  this  .  .  .   •  Effec2ve  messages  are  developed  through  a  planning   process  that  can  be  learned.   •  Effec2ve  messages  are  based  on  primary  truths  about   who  we  are  as  humans.   •  Effec2ve  messaging  is  the  fundamental  ingredient  in   successful  marke2ng  public  rela2ons,  regardless  of  the   channel.  
  56. 56.  ©2010  Forge  Communica2ons,  LLC.  All  rights  reserved.  |  PRESENTATION  TO  NC  PRSA  |  11.3.10|  PAGE  56   (and  may  the  Forge  be  with  you)   Roger  M.  Friedensen,  APR   President  |  CEO   roger@forgecommunica-ons.com   @forgecomm  |  @RogerFriedensen   www.forgecommunica-ons.com   Thank  you!  

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