Thursday, September 22, 2005

Where Does Message Mapping Fit In?

Since Message Mapping is a communications tool, people may automatically assume that it belongs inside the marketing communications function. But Message Mapping really fits BETWEEN marketing strategy and and marketing communications.

Why? The marketing communications function is largely executional while Message Mapping is strategic, addressing:

– Overall messaging strategy
– Message focus, heirarchy and integration
– How messages drive the marketing strategy (product and corporate)
– A universal, at-a -glance, practical platform for consistent message implementation across
all internal and external channels (brand building)

The completed message map can be used for EVERY communications task from sales meetings to brochures, web sites, PR, trade shows and even guiding product development efforts.

If any of you bloggers have questions about specific applications of message mapping, feel free to contact me.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

What the heck is Message Mapping?

The hardest questions in marketing and corporate communications are usually the simplest. Who are we? What do we stand for? Why are we different? How do we get people to trust us more than our competitors? Why should our customers and prospects even devote any brain cells to us, let alone spend their money on our products and services?

Telling a company or product story in a way that means something important to its customers and prospects is not a simple task...or maybe I should say that simplifying the story is one of the hardest things a company will ever do. Even moreso is the task of getting everyone in your company on board with telling the story the same way using all the same key words, with all the details in the right priority...from the CEO to the stock room.

A few years ago, I stumbled across a technique that was used to help company spokespeople to communicate better with the media. I went to an all-day session with one of my clients and participated with them in a mapping session. It was a kind of crude message organizational process that, for all its warts, really had a profound affect on the power of these executives to communicate their particular story with amazing coherency and ease.

I was impressed with this session, but saw that the specific process and application were limiting. The mapping process had far bigger potential than just public relations. So I set about improving the process and extending the application to a global reach, touching the whole enterprise and all its products, staff and processes. That was three and a half years and dozens of message maps ago.

Today, I received a letter from a client. I won't bore you with the entire text, but I will share one passage that gets my point across. He writes, "The Message Mapping session took immediate hold on the organization and has led to dynamic change in vision, direction and focus of our mission...the impact of the session was so important that I wanted to personally thank you for your contribution to the organziation."

This is a $1 billion+ business. Earlier this year I got the same result from a $3 million/year business. Our carefully structured Message Mapping process is KILLER for focusing organizations inside and out. If you haven't heard of it, you really have to find out more. In subsequent postings, I'm going to tell more stories about how Message Mapping helps not only marketers, but entire organizations, crossfunctionally. It's a process that drives literally everything in an organization. And it is the consummate brand building tool, too!

I invite your comments and questions.