What Exactly is Messaging and What Problems Does it Solve?

By Kelli Newman, APR

Messaging is a term used regularly today, but what exactly does it mean and how is it critical to the success of your organization? Often when company leaders are asked to define messaging, their answer is a sweeping reference to any and all exchanges of information. But more than the act of communicating, messaging is language specifically tailored to articulate your organization’s unique purpose, significance, values, and culture.

Essential for differentiating a company from its competition, messaging delivers the greatest impact when it functions as a tangible asset.  In other words, a formal document of composed language that is consulted regularly as narrative content to be posted on the company’s website, talking points for presentations to investors, or themes to be reflected in digital advertising,   

Formulated messaging ensures clear, insightful explanation of a company’s purpose and benefit, as well as continuity in how it is portrayed by leadership, including board members.  It begins with thorough examination of an organization’s strengths and challenges, identifying what messaging is meant to achieve, why it matters, and who it targets.  Of particular importance is projecting an organization’s unique essence through messaging. How is its purpose, values and culture reflected in what it does, and what significance does that have for each of its key audiences? 

There are varying categories of messaging.  Organizational messaging is composed for universal relevance to a broad spectrum of audiences and circumstances, while audience-specific and service-specific messaging addresses particular perspectives, interests and concerns. Think of an inverted pyramid of communications and the incremental degrees of focus that each level represents.  Impactful messaging is not only relevant to its intended audience, it characterizes an organization’s distinguishing qualities, sometimes with a single word. Take the nuances of these two partial statements: We are careful… We are thoughtful… Depending on the industry and audience, one of these is a better choice as it more insightfully represents the organization’s approach, even its culture. When a healthcare system, for instance, adds three words to describe its patient services by referring to patients and their families, its communications have a very different effect.

Words have power, and the language of messaging, when formulated to convey the unique essence of your organization, is a truly powerful tool in differentiating you from the competition and marketing the value of your services.   


© 2019 Newman & Newman, Inc.