Don’t Shoot the Messenger, Just Get the Message Right

We’ve all heard the old advice, “don’t shoot the messenger.” Actually it is very old, credited to Shakespeare in a reference from his history play King Henry IV, Part 2. Fast forward 415 years and there is still a relevant lesson here: it’s the message and not the delivery method that’s most important. If you don’t get the message right, it doesn’t matter how you say it. You can’t fix a bad message either – which is probably why the messenger’s life was so often in peril.

Frequently, organizations will focus their marketing energies initially on which messenger(s) should be chosen (advertising, publicity, blog, social media, direct, etc.). Without determining what the messenger is going to say first, it’s difficult to select how to say it well. When you step back, you can see that it makes more sense to put the message before delivery. This is the key to unlocking effective branding and marketing.

More than ever before, the number and types of messengers available to carry your message are vast. Websites and self-published content such as company blogs along with traditional and digital paid media are ever-loyal trusted subjects. They can be scheduled, managed and controlled just as you like. However, the customer messengers out on the social media channels can be highly influential but also unruly, unpredictable and fast moving. All the more reason to hone your key messages first, before those messengers go out and about.

Messaging Leads Strategy

We’ve talked about SCG’s Brand Vision workflow model before, which is shown below. You can see that message storming leads strategy. The integrated strategy is developed after the messaging so it can most effectively guide the tactical executions, which in turn are all informed by the messaging.

How about the messages? How do you to get spot-on, perfect messages? Upstream in the flow chart are the two processes flanking Brand Status and Brand Vision that reveal an organization’s strongest messaging: Belief Dynamics and Leadership Equity. In other words, what your customers believe about you and where your organization’s leadership points lie are the critical inputs into crafting messages that resonate with customers and prospects while distinguishing you among others. The perfect message!

Brand Vision Model


SCG’s Proprietary Brand Vision Model

Communications is a Process

Once the messages are determined and the tactics roll out, it’s important to remember that communication with your audiences is not a one-time event, but a process. Do not rely on one ad or one blog to convert your prospect to a customer. Rather, think of your marketing dollars as developing a cohesive web where each tactic creates a new touch point that builds on the prior.

In advertising theory, the rule of seven suggests that a consumer needs to see an ad five to seven times before responding. In an integrated communications strategy, you don’t need seven advertisements per se, but rather five to seven touch points (ad, blog, Twitter mention, etc.). The more unified the messages are across the various channels in your marketing web, the more quickly you are able to achieve a frequency of seven. This is when the cumulative effect of your touch points influences your prospect to take action! Often the first action is interacting with you in some fashion like clicking on a digital ad or visiting your site. Ultimately, the goal is to achieve full conversion from prospect to customer with a purchase.

Check back later for my next blog on how to capture the core of spot-on messaging.

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Pat Henning Strother

Patricia has shaped Strother Communications Group’s client service drawing from her extensive experience in finance and marketing in corporate and agency settings including Vice President of investor relations for both a regional and national […] Read Bio »


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