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The Power of Key Messaging

What do you love most about the work you are doing? Think very carefully before responding. Over the years I have worked in many fields, such as advertising, education, broadcasting, marketing, public relations, health promotions, and project management, but, there was always one activity in each job that I enjoyed. I loved working with a trusted team of professionals creating key messages for social marketing/media and health promotion campaigns. Most of my colleagues would laugh at the sight of me jumping up and down when a new contract or client landed on my desk. Every contract is an opportunity to create a strong voice through innovative messaging.

One of the most important steps in creating strategic messaging is to build a relationship with the priority audience that you want to reach. This can be time-consuming, but worth the investment it takes to develop trust. At the beginning of every campaign, we spend time getting to know leaders in the community, their stakeholders, and gatekeepers. Once the communication has been implemented, it's essential to understand that information should flow both ways. The people to be reached in every campaign are experts on their community needs and desires for positive change.

Initially, we developed a communication plan for the campaign. Here are a few steps to creating an effective communication plan:

Analyse the Situation

  • Take a giant step back so you can take a closer look at the landscape.

Develop Goals and Objectives

  • Don't assume that you know what the audience may want. Try including members of your priority audience in the process through in-person or online focus groups with members from your serviceable obtainable market. This is also a great way to hear the innovative ideas of others and to come to an agreement. Trust me, it makes the job a lot easier when you have the support of your audience because they are included in the overall process.

Identify your audience

  • Conduct your research to discover who your campaign or event is being designed to reach. It's a great opportunity to dive deep into the community. Often, I would conduct ethnographic studies to provide our team with the most information that describes our audience and the best channels to reach them. Ethnography involves observing people in their own environment to understand their experiences, perspectives, and everyday practices without appearing to be spying. Yet another reason why building a relationship with our audience is essential. This can give in-depth insight into a particular context, group, or culture.

Determine the campaign information delivery

  • All collected information will help to create innovative discussions with your priority audience. Depending on the product, data will provide you with age groups, genders, their level of education, a better understanding of the needs of those being reached, where are locations where discussions are held or where people meet, so you can learn about the most strategic and effective strategies to reach them.

Campaign Messages

  • A campaign message – or a slogan – is something that rolls off the tongue, activating current and potential supporters. It's the core of your strategy, the drive to action – it's how you articulate your cause and how you link donations to impact.

  • Message design is the process of connecting insights about the priority audience with key information the audience needs to know to make changes the program desires. Successful, well-designed messages are simple, memorable, easily understood, culturally appropriate, and meaningful to the audience.

Key Messages

  • Key messages are the main points of information you want your audience to hear, understand, and remember. They are bite-sized stories that articulate what you do, why you do it, how you are different, and what value you bring to stakeholders. The best key messages are clear, concise, and compelling, with a strong call to action.

Messaging Framework

  • A messaging framework is a strategic document that outlines the core messages your brand wants to communicate to its priority audience. It helps you articulate your brand's value proposition, unique selling points, and key differences clearly and consistently across various marketing channels.

Develop a timeline

  • Working in the field of project management taught me to always develop a realistic timeline that includes key stakeholders. I would always start my timeline or project management plan from the end, working towards the beginning. An important tip to remember is that a timeline or a communication plan should always be flexible and not cast in stone.

Review your goals

  • Never stop reviewing your goals and objectives. Remember to include all team members and key players from your priority audience. Often, they can make or break a campaign or community engagement.

Can you think of key campaign or advertising messages that you have never forgotten? Here are a few of them that you may remember:

  • The Best Part of Waking Up - Folger's Coffee

  • Silence = Death - Act-Up

  • Good To The Last Drop - Maxwell House

  • Just Do It - Nike

  • I'm Loving It - McDonald's

  • Buckle Up For Safety - Getting people to wear seatbelts

  • Finger Licking Good - KFC

  • Red Bull Gives You Wings - Red Bull

  • The Uncola - 7-Up

  • Can You Hear Me Now - Verizon

  • Snap, Crackle, Pop - Kellogg's Cereal

  • It Keeps Going and Going - Energizer Batteries

  • You're In Good Hands - Allstate Insurance

  • Eat Fresh - Subway

  • The Ultimate Driving Machine - BMW

  • It Melts In Your Mouth, Not In Your Hands - M&Ms

  • It's The Real Thing - Coca Cola

  • The Quicker Picker Upper - Bounty Paper Towels

  • It Takes Two Hands To Hold A Whopper - Burger King

  • Taste So Good Cats Ask For It By Name - Meow Mix

  • I Love New York - Official State Slogan of New York

Now share with us, what was your favourite advertising or marketing slogan growing up, and what's your favourite one today that grabs your attention? For more information, please contact Promotions West.

What are key messages in PR campaigns?

Key messages are the core messages you want your target audience to hear and remember. They create meaning and headline the issues you want to discuss. They allow you to control communications, enhance relationships with your target audiences and are an important feature of a PR campaign.

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