Do you find that everyone in the company has their own opinion on what the value proposition and messaging should be but no one can agree? Are you left at a standstill with your marketing efforts? Or worse yet, putting forth messaging that is inconsistent and confusing to customers?
If so, we are not surprised, and you certainly are not alone. Alignment is one of the biggest challenges that teams face when developing a messaging framework.
One of the best ways to attain this ever-elusive alignment is to host a Messaging Workshop. You might be asking yourself, “How is that going to help?” The key is to get stakeholders from a cross-section of the organization in a workshop where the team can collaborate to develop messaging. The process inherently generates buy-in through co-creation.
Here are some tips to drive a successful workshop and messaging development:
- Invite Cross-Functional Stakeholders — include people across the company. Invite people who have front line interaction with customers, teams that understand key points of differentiation and can articulate what you do best, people in the company who may just be good brainstormers and thought partners. Include anyone who has a strong opinion and is critical to gaining agreement ensures alignment.
- Come Armed with Primary Research – conduct research with customers (existing and prospective) to understand what it is they value, what they look for, what they see as key differentiators, etc. Talk to them about what they feel your competition does best or different. It is hard to argue with what real customers are saying so this helps ensure agreement.
- Interview Internal Stakeholders – capture internal team inputs ahead of time. This can be done with those attending the workshop and with people who are unable to attend but whose voice you want to make sure is heard. Again, this helps ensure alignment and buy-in post-workshop
- Include Competitive Secondary Research – look at competitive messaging and value propositions to map out gaps in the market and where you are positioned. This helps to ensure that you are not developing “me to” messaging and that you can identify and articulate your key differentiators.
- Use Break-out Sessions and Interactive Exercises – get everyone involved in the messaging development. Use small break-out exercises to have teams tackle various aspects of your messaging and bring back what they have uncovered to the broader workshop team. Exercises are a great way to get everyone engaged and participating. This co-creation piece is why the workshop setting works best.
To keep you from having to be the referee and instead be an active participant in the workshop, consider using an objective, third party facilitator to make sure everyone’s input is heard, to help facilitate disagreements, and to keep the workshop moving towards the end goal.
Alignment is not easy when you have a lot of strong personalities who think they have the answer. By hosting a workshop, you create a collaborative and engaging environment, where stakeholders can feel heard, and develop truly differentiated messaging based on what customers value.
If you want to know more about hosting a Messaging Workshop, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org