Irrelevant Content - The irony is while you are putting message massage aside to get marketing and fundraising campaigns out the door, you’re undermining those same campaigns by featuring irrelevant messages.
No cross-departmental collaboration - Bring your leadership and colleagues on board at the beginning, harvesting their message ideas and clarifying what it takes to craft messages that connect. Develop style guideb. Build a cross-functional team of effective messengers – train and support i. Board members and staff must be able to know what to say when they network and fundraise – online and offline – are they giving consistent, accurate information? ii. Strategy & Goals must be crystal clear
No time investment - Build time for message development into all marketing initiatives, from the organizational to the campaign level; make messaging a priority
You may think that everyone should care that your organization, say, helps low-income students attend college. But the fact is that some people will be more receptive to your message than others. When you have a limited marketing budget, the people you need to reach are those most likely to care.What appeals to them? Stats? Real stories? Business language? Individual stories?
In Chip Heath and Dan Heath’s book Made to Stick the authors share a story about how one of the most successful public education campaigns ever came to life. Faced with the challenge of trying to end littering on the highways, the Texas Department of Transportation, along with a researcher named Dan Syrek, sought to develop a campaign that would convince people that they should stop throwing trash out their windows.Now, Texas could have just politely asked people to “Please don’t litter.” In fact, they did, but it didn’t work. Why? Because messages like this need to consider the point of view of the typical litterer.Syrek and his team took time to think carefully about those whose behavior they had to change. And it wasn’t the people most likely to be swayed by a polite request.Instead, the savvy marketers focused on their target audience. Who were the worst offenders? Men, ages 18-35. But they didn’t stop with demographic data. They also created a persona that painted a psychographic profile of their target audience. Naming their character “Bubba” they spent time thinking about who Bubba was. What did he care about? What did he wear? Where did he shop? What did he do on weekends?Syrek and his team got a picture of Bubba, along with a picture of Bubba’s truck, and they realized that to change Bubba’s behavior, they had to convince him that people like him don’t litter. They had to tap into what Bubba thought was most important. And for Bubba what was most important was his pride in the state of Texas.Syrek and his team tapped into Bubba’s patriotism and created the message “Don’t Mess with Texas.” The rest is history. Littering decreased, and the anti-littering slogan became so successful, it’s practically the state motto.What Syrek and his team did — creating a profile of their target audience — is also referred to as creating a “persona.” This is an approach we often employ with our nonprofit clients, helping them think strategically about who they are trying to reach by not only considering their demographic characteristics, but their deep-seeded concerns and cares, as well.
Taking the time to understand your audience makes them feel understood…and more likely to take action in support of your work. While everyone is not your audience, those most likely to support your organization will be more inclined to help when you address their needs, values, and interests.
Find the commonality between your goals and the goals of your target audience i. This is not to say that your goals and desires have to be exactly aligned with those of each target audience. You will likely find that members of your target audience may support the same action you do, but for a completely different reason. ii. For example, a drug and alcohol treatment and rehabilitation organization may have the goal of restoring people to a life of health and productivity in their community. The primary motivation for their actions may be because of their religious beliefs. However, members of the medical community may support this mission as a way to reduce HIV. At the same time, government officials may support addiction treatment as a way to reduce the crime rate and increase safety for the community. iii. Both audiences in the above example have their own motivations and goals - each different than those of the organization. However, the motivations and goals of each audience can potentially be satisfied through drug and alcohol treatment services. Therefore, the overlap can used to craft messages specifically targeting the passions of each of the audiences.
How does this person spend their day?—Sketch out a brief outline of their daily work day or day at home, including specific habits, likes and dislikes. What is this person’s work environment (if you’re trying to reach professionals, rather than individuals) including length of time in the job, professional development habits (if marketing programs such as training for social workers on public benefits), information- seeking habits and favorite resources, personal and professional goals, colleagues with whom the persona works most closely, etc. Who does this person trust? Where (or from whom) else is this person getting information about your issue or similar programs or services? What are the person’s personal and professional goals in relation to your organization’s programs? Who else is encouraging them to “do the right thing” (e.g. follow through on your calls to action for this person/group)? Where are they in the Stages of Change about doing the right thing (from “I don’t see it as a problem” to “I can/want to do this now.”)?
What is this person’s work environment (if you’re trying Where (or from whom) else is this person getting information about your issue or similar programs or services? What are the person’s personal and professional goals in relation to your organization’s programs? Who else is encouraging them to “do the right thing” (e.g. follow through on your calls to action for this person/group)? Where are they in the Stages of Change about doing the right thing (from “I don’t see it as a problem” to “I can/want to do this now.”)?
When the chain launched its national marketing campaign, everyone in America had probably heard the slogan “I’m loving it” inside of two days. McDonald’s can afford to plaster the campaign all over your town along with everything you listen to and watch. But equally important—and the nonprofit’s take-away lesson—is that McDonald’s knows about consistency.What if, instead of sticking with “I’m loving it” in every aspect of the campaign, they had put “I really, really like it” on some of their posters, and “You will love it” on others, and then used the line “McDonald’s equals love” in their TV ads?It might have been cute, but the message would have been diluted and far less likely to be remembered. McDonald’s resisted the temptation to “go wide” and chose instead to make something memorable.
A friend of a friend of ours is a frequent business traveler. Let's call him Dave. Dave was recently in Atlantic City for an important meeting with clients. Afterward, he had some time to kill before his flight, so he went to a local bar for a drink. He'd just finished one drink when an attractive woman approached and asked if she could buy him another. He was surprised but flattered. Sure, he said. The woman walked to the bar and brought back two more drinks — one for her and one for him. He thanked her and took a sip. And that was the last thing he remembered.Rather, that was the last thing he remembered until he woke up, disoriented, lying in a hotel bathtub, his body submerged in ice. He looked around frantically, trying to figure out where he was and how he got there. Then he spotted the note: don't move. call 911.A cell phone rested on a small table beside the bathtub. He picked it up and called 911, his fingers numb and clumsy from the ice. The operator seemed oddly familiar with his situation. She said, "Sir, I want you to reach behind you, slowly and carefully. Is there a tube protruding from your lower back?"Anxious, he felt around behind him. Sure enough, there was a tube. The operator said, "Sir, don't panic, but one of your kidneys has been harvested. There's a ring of organ thieves operating in this city, and they got to you. Paramedics are on their way. Don't move until they arrive."You've just read one of the most successful urban legends of the past fifteen years. The first clue is the classic urban-legend opening: "A friend of a friend . . ." Have you ever noticed that our friends' friends have much more interesting lives than our friends themselves?
Our brains are wired to remember stories.And there’s only one story being told in the video. That story is that non-Jews support AJWS, and many of them are famous.In our opinion, this is a lost opportunity. This hilarious video will travel around the world and will be seen by millions. But at the end of the day, no one will remember what AJWS does or why it’s needed. All a viewer will remember is that Brian Williams does a great rendition of Fiddler on the Roof.Good nonprofit communications remind us why we should care and show us how we can do something to address the problem. They are focused on the reader or viewer. They show the viewer what the problem is and how he or she can do something to make a difference.
How do we find the essential core of our ideas? A successful defense lawyer says, "If you argue ten points, even if each is a good point, when they get back to the jury room they won't remember any." To strip an idea down to its core, we must be masters of exclusion. We must relentlessly prioritize. Saying something short is not the mission — sound bites are not the ideal. Proverbs are the ideal. We must create ideas that are both simple and profound. The Golden Rule is the ultimate model of simplicity: a one-sentence statement so profound that an individual could spend a lifetime learning to follow it.
How do we get our audience to pay attention to our ideas, and how do we maintain their interest when we need time to get the ideas across? We need to violate people's expectations. We need to be counterintuitive. A bag of popcorn is as unhealthy as a whole day's worth of fatty foods! We can use surprise — an emotion whose function is to increase alertness and cause focus — to grab people's attention. But surprise doesn't last. For our idea to endure, we must generate interest and curiosity. How do you keep students engaged during the fortyeighth history class of the year? We can engage people's curiosity over a long period of time by systematically "opening gaps" in their knowledge — and then filling those gaps.
How do we make our ideas clear? We must explain our ideas in terms of human actions, in terms of sensory information. This is where so much business communication goes awry. Mission statements, synergies, strategies, visions — they are often ambiguous to the point of being meaningless. Naturally sticky ideas are full of concrete images — ice-filled bathtubs, apples with razors — because our brains are wired to remember concrete data. In proverbs, abstract truths are often encoded in concrete language: "A bird in hand is worth two in the bush." Speaking concretely is the only way to ensure that our idea will mean the same thing to everyone in our audience.
How do we make people believe our ideas? When the former surgeon general C. Everett Koop talks about a public-health issue, most people accept his ideas without skepticism. But in most day-to-day situations we don't enjoy this authority. Sticky ideas have to carry their own credentials. We need ways to help people test our ideas for themselves — a "try before you buy" philosophy for the world of ideas. When we're trying to build a case for something, most of us instinctively grasp for hard numbers. But in many cases this is exactly the wrong approach. In the sole U.S. presidential debate in 1980 between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, Reagan could have cited innumerable Statistics demonstrating the sluggishness of the economy. Instead, he asked a simple question that allowed voters to test for themselves: "Before you vote, ask yourself if you are better off today than you were four years ago."
How do we get people to care about our ideas? We make them feel something. In the case of movie popcorn, we make them feel disgusted by its unhealthiness. The statistic "37 grams" doesn't elicit any emotions. Research shows that people are more likely to make a charitable gift to a single needy individual than to an entire impoverished region. We are wired to feel things for people, not for abstractions. Sometimes the hard part is finding the right emotion to harness. For instance, it's difficult to get teenagers to quit smoking by instilling in them a fear of the consequences, but it's easier to get them to quit by tapping into their resentment of the duplicity of Big Tobacco.
How do we get people to act on our ideas? We tell stories. Firefighters naturally swap stories after every fire, and by doing so they multiply their experience; after years of hearing stories, they have a richer, more complete mental catalog of critical situations they might confront during a fire and the appropriate responses to those situations. Research shows that mentally rehearsing a situation helps us perform better when we encounter that situation in the physical environment. Similarly, hearing stories acts as a kind of mental flight simulator, preparing us to respond more quickly and effectively.Those are the six principles of successful ideas. To summarize, here's our checklist for creating a successful idea: a Simple Unexpected Concrete Credentialed Emotional Story. A clever observer will note that this sentence can be compacted into the acronym SUCCESs. This is sheer coincidence, of course. (Okay, we admit, SUCCESs is a little corny. We could have changed "Simple" to "Core" and reordered a few letters. But, you have to admit, CCUCES is less memorable.)No special expertise is needed to apply these principles. There are no licensed stickologists. Moreover, many of the principles have a commonsense ring to them: Didn't most of us already have the intuition that we should "be simple" and "use stories"? It's not as though there's a powerful constituency for overcomplicated, lifeless prose. But wait a minute. We claim that using these principles is easy. And most of them do seem relatively commonsensical. So why aren't we deluged with brilliantly designed sticky ideas? Why is our life filled with more process memos than proverbs?Sadly, there is a villain in our story. The villain is a natural psychological tendency that consistently confounds our ability to create ideas using these principles. It's called the Curse of Knowledge. (We will capitalize the phrase throughout the book to give it the drama we think it deserves.)
Tappers received a list of twenty-five well-known songs, such as "Happy Birthday to You" and "The StarSpangled Banner." Each tapper was asked to pick a song and tap out the rhythm to a listener (by knocking on a table). The listener's job was to guess the song, based on the rhythm being tapped. (By the way, this experiment is fun to try at home if there's a good "listener" candidate nearby.)The listener's job in this game is quite difficult. Over the course of Newton's experiment, 120 songs were tapped out. Listeners guessed only 2.5 percent of the songs: 3 out of 120.But here's what made the result worthy of a dissertation in psychology. Before the listeners guessed the name of the song, Newton asked the tappers to predict the odds that the listeners would guess correctly. They predicted that the odds were 50 percent. The tappers got their message across 1 time in 40, but they thought they were getting their message across 1 time in 2. Why?
Is this idea simple? Yes, in the sense that it's short, but it lacks the useful simplicity of a proverb. Is it unexpected? No. Concrete? Not at all. Credible? Only in the sense that it's coming from the mouth of the CEO. Emotional? Um, no. A story? No.
Fortunately, JFK was more intuitive than a modern-day CEO; he knew that opaque, abstract missions don't captivate and inspire people. The moon mission was a classic case of a communicator's dodging the Curse of Knowledge. It was a brilliant and beautiful idea — a single idea that motivated the actions of millions of people for a decade.
ProEd 549 Marketing Messaging
Getting Your Marketing Message Right ProEd 549 December 4, 2012 Sara Brueck Nichols
Introductions• Who are you?• Where are you from?• What do you want out of class today?
Evaluation• On a scale of 1 to 5, how satisfied are you with your organization’s messaging?• What is the reasoning behind your score?
Getting Attention Survey 2012• Are your messages connecting with the people who need to hear them? 76% of Nonprofits say NO
Getting Attention Survey 2012• Do your organization’s messages connect with your target audience?
Getting Attention Survey 2012• Are your messages speaking to audience wants & needs? 70% of Nonprofits say their message spur a “so what?” instead of an “AHA”• Is your message sufficiently clear? 26% of Nonprofits describe their messages as confusing
Getting Attention Survey 2012• Does your message inspire action? Only 16% of Nonprofits describe their message as powerful• What part of your message is least impactful?71% of Marketers & Fundraisers say their tagline is the least impactful message
Getting Attention Survey 2012• What is the single greatest barrier to developing more effective messages for your organization?
Getting Attention Survey 2012• Are your messages used consistently across channels? <Half of Nonprofits say yes• Are your messages developed cross- organizationally? Marketers, Fundraisers & Executive Directors all have message-driven positions
Getting Attention Survey 2012• Why do you feel your messages are irrelevant?• “Always about us, not about the people we’re communicating with.”• “Too long and filled with jargon.”• “Superficially inspiring. People respond strongly the first time they hear them, but not over time.”• “Lack clarity, because we have too many cooks in the message kitchen.”• “Good for each program but weak or nonexistent for the org as a whole.”
What Goes WrongInside-Out:Organization Centered VS. Outside-In: Target Centered
What Goes Wrong• Clues you have an Inside-Out message: – You see your organization’s key messages as inherently desirable – Lack of marketing success is blamed on audience ignorance and/or lack of motivation – Little effort put into target audience research – Marketing is used only to promote organization and its needs – one-way conversations
Considerations• Some things to remember – Have a strategic messaging team – representatives from across the organization – Clearly articulated mission statement is a vital precursor to message development – Determine if your desired actions align with your programs – Discuss. Through the discussion your goal should be reach consensus on the desired action. Once you think you’ve obtained consensus, write it down.
Considerations• Mission vs. Message – Mission • Internally focused • Goals of organization • Only one mission – Message • Externally focused • Based upon the mission, but tailored to the unique goals and motivations of the audience • Persuade people to take action
What Goes Wrong• Clues you have an Inside-Out message: – You have a “silver bullet” marketing strategy, using the same tactic over and over. – Your message differs depending on who/what delivers it – Competition is ignored. Every other message competes with yours!
Audience• No such thing as “general public” – Who will evangelize? – Who will be most receptive? – Who is most likely to take action?
Audience• What kind of people tend to support your organization?• What are their values?• How do they communicate?• How do they spend their time?• What appeals to them?• What do they dislike?• What motivates them to act?
Audience• Who are your three most important audience groups? – Those who can do the most for your organization – Those who are most likely to do so• Write down everything you can about your three target audiences, so you can focus messages on the right sweet spot
Audience• Profile: Male, Truck Driver• Action: Tossing beer cans out window• Persona Name: Bubba
Personas• Multi-dimensional sketches that typify your audience segments• Created using – Organizational goals – Donor/Volunteer/Client demographics – What others say about you
Personas• Organization – Context – Challenge – Goal• Persona – First & Last Name – Gender, Age, Face – Personal Information
Personas• Context: – A nonprofit is launching a new community fitness program and needs to promote it to community activists, politicians, and citizens, and to motivate their involvement. The staff needs to know what’s important to these audiences, so it can shape its messages, website and blog (a centerpiece of the campaign), brochures and events accordingly.• Challenge: – This is the first time the organization is proactively communicating to motivate the launch of fit community programs. The campaign will center on a new blog and Web site, but the nonprofit doesn’t know how to design message to most effectively educate its diverse audiences and motivate them to act. The communications team just doesn’t know where to start.
Personas Frank Cummings, age 64, owns his own home in a moderately-priced area of an industrial-based community in Ohio. He is married, and has two children who now live in neighboring states. Frank took an early-retirement option from the electrical contracting firm where he worked for 19 years. Now he spends a lot of his free time working on his home and yard, and walking in the neighborhood.
Personas• How person spends His day? – Day at work/home – Habits – Likes/Dislikes – Environment at work/home• Who does this person trust?• Personal and professional goals in relation to your organization’s programs?
Personas• Who else is encouraging them to “do the right thing” (follow through on your calls to action)?• Where are they in the Stages of Change about doing the right thing?• One persona per audience group
Personas Annoyed By… One problem Frank has noticed as he walks is that the traffic speeds along his street (a connector between two arterial streets) are often well in excess of the 25MPH posted speed limit. .Frank has made comments about the high speeds to his city councilrepresentative, who is, with Frank, a member of the local Lions Club.But the council-person, while sympathetic, hasn’t done anything otherthan to suggest that Frank should lodge a complaint with someone atthe city, or the police. Meanwhile, the speeding cars continue, andFrank feels unsafe as he walks.
Personas Online Habits Like some in his age group, Frank is a late-comer to computers and the Internet. He needed to learn to use a computer-based service mounted in his truck the last few years he was working, and struggled to keep up with the technology that seemed to come much easier to younger people in the firm..Frank purchased a computer primarily to use e-mail with his children,but he also has used several programs such as QuickBooks and tax-prep software. His connection to the Internet is still through DSL so it’snot the fastest and Frank doesn’t like to wait around to see familyvideos on You Tube or other Web content.
Personas • Wants • Slowed-down traffic outside his house to increase walker and biker safety. • His neighborhood to be a safer and more enjoyable place to live.
Personas Successful Slower traffic; community neighborhood fitness program safety SafetyMessaging focused on safe biking and walking, rather than the need tofollow traffic safety rules. Citizen campaign recruitment efforts focusedon neighbor-to-neighbor messengers, postering and door-to-doorflyers. The response was strong.
Taglines• Most important message – 8 words or less – Essence of your message – Foundation for “elevator pitch”• Presented from viewpoint of audience• “Sweet spot” – overlap of your wants, your audience’s wants and what makes you different
Taglines “Theater Popcorn is a Double Feature of Fat”“Lights, Camera, Cholesterol!”
Taglines• Consistency – “You’re not in business to entertain yourself; you’re in business to change the world. To change the world, your message has to stick. For your message to stick, it must remain consistent.”• Organizational & programmatic taglines must relate
Taglines• Is your tagline solid, reliable, well- recognized & concise? – How do you convey it to your personas?• Is your tagline week, not well-known, inconsistent? – How do you improve impact?• Do you have a tagline?
Messages "Comprehensive community building naturally lends itself to a return-on-investment rationale that can be modeled, drawing on existing practice," it begins, going on to argue that "[a] factor constraining the flow of resources to CCIs is that funders must often resort to targeting or categorical requirements in grant making to ensure accountability."
MessagesWhich one do you remember?Which one is more compelling?Which one is most likely to driveaction or awareness?
Messages• How many organizations does AJWS fund worldwide to alleviate hunger?• How many grants did AJWS give away last year? In how many different countries?• After which natural disaster did AJWS commit $11 million?• According to Helen Hunt, what values does AJWS foster?• Is Tracy Morgan Jewish?
Messages• How do you design a message that is sticky and drives action, awareness or change?• Made to Stick – 6 rules of message development
Messages• Tell us why we should care, and how we can address the problem• Relevant – always write from the audience view point, not the organization’s perspective• Avoid jargon• Keep it short• Be consistent
Messages• Evaluate effectiveness – sometimes audiences change, along with messaging• Give everyone in organization simple, compelling and memorable words they can use to connect with a variety of audiences – get them excited about the organization is doing
Messages• Do not just make lists• Do not overwhelm with information• Bad communication talks about HOW an organization does the work. Good communication shows WHY an organization is needed and WHAT happens in the world as a result of its work.
Messages• Using your mission, audience groups, goals & motivators, personas & tagline construct an audience-focused message framework for a program
Delivery & Tools• Tappers hear the song in their head• Listeners hear only a disconnected series of taps• Curse of Knowledge. – Once we know something, we find it hard to imagine what it was like not to know it. It becomes difficult for us to share our knowledge with others, because we cant readily re-create our listeners state of mind.
Delivery & Tools• “Our mission is to become the international leader in the space industry through maximum team-centered innovation and strategically targeted aerospace initiatives.” – Simple? – Unexpected? – Concrete? – Credible? – Emotional? – Story?
Delivery & Tools• “The challenge for companies (of any size) is to find a way to build sustainable, relationship-minded business processes that account for the new buying methods of an educated, mobile, personalization- minded buying market. Some of what online tools do well is address all of this. But that’s like saying a great pen will help you write better. It’s not about the tools. It’s about a choice to understand how to stand out as a provider of value above-and-beyond-the-sale to one’s customer base...The fact that technology makes our voice easier to hear, does not mean people will listen.” –Chris Brogan
Delivery & Tools• Lead with what you do, and the benefits this offers, not who you are.• Listen to what you’re hearing online.• Focus on improving credibility• Evolve your voice to one who is warmer & more conversational
Delivery & Tools• Where are your personas online?
Delivery & Tools• Message type – Informal • Twitter • Blog • Tumblr • Cocktail/Elevator Pitch – Medium • Facebook • Direct Mail • Website • Blog
Delivery & Tools• Message type – Formal • News release • Board communication • Website • Direct mail
Delivery & Tools• Look at your personas – Select potential tools/technologies• Modify your message for – Informal platform – Medium platform – Formal platform