STRATEGIC NARRATIVE INSIGHTS
Constantly Work On Your Core Message
So many of us entrepreneurs obsess over figuring out once and for good our company's message.
It's an event: "This year, we have to redo our messaging!". Like we have to get our tires changed or our teeth cleaned.
But instead of thinking of messaging as an event – most of the time a marketing project – what if we thought about it as a learning process?
Notice how "messaging" is a noun and a verb in the everyday business language. The verb means that messaging can be an ongoing practice.
Instead of "figuring it out," as if not having a perfect company core message was a big problem, what if we explored it like we explore new territories and possibilities during a journey?
What is your company's core message?
First, your core message is the high-level summary of what your company is about. It's not only made of the words you use to communicate but also the actions you take. Your decisions send a message, hopefully, a clear one, aligned with your organization's core, like your purpose or values.
Your core message matters because it's meant to help you mobilize your customer, your team, your community, and of course, yourself. It's what you say and do, inside and outside your company.
As a high-level summary of what your company is about, your core message is not just your marketing "facade"; it's not just your mission statement or your manifesto; it's all of these devices plus many others, used everywhere and all at once to provide meaning to people.
But most importantly, your core message is not something static.
Your core message naturally wants to live and evolve.
It needs to live and breathe.
Although it's easy to think of your core message as a statement in your brand book or on a poster, it's more about what resonates in people's hearts and minds.
Don't fall into the "￼bumper sticker mentality￼" trap, which will lead you to believe that because you have a great purpose/mission/vision statement, everyone will interpret it the same way.
A new slogan won't fix your company's performance problem. That would be too easy.
This mentality also assumes that you can find the perfect reason your company exists. It assumes that the purpose of your business is fixed. It means that there is almost no room for growth.
Finding and activating your company's core message is an evolutionary process. It's never done.
Why? Because your business and your environment are constantly changing.
Take, for example, the leaders of the Seattle fine-dining restaurant Canlis, who continued to reinvent their company during COVID to fight for survival. They redesigned their entire business model several times in response to the Pandemic.
This is how you continuously help your company find its purpose.
As Frederic Laloux, who coined the term, says:
"Evolutionary purpose" is not about having a clear purpose statement. It is a much more profound shift in perspective. It asks us to truly see the organization as a living entity with its energy and sense of direction. And it invites us, therefore, to stop trying to predict and control the future, but instead, continuously listen and respond to the organization's purpose."
The goal of "core messaging" (as a verb) is to authentically listen to what comes from your company's heart.
How To Find Your Core Message
- Through authentic and continuous content creation: document it, don't create it as one final version. "The act of content creation is the process of a business finding its calling," says George Kao.
- Listen for it inside and outside the company and yourself. Ask your customers what they hear or read between the lines when they buy from you.
- Don't delegate finding it. It is your role as a CEO, Founder, or Business Owner, to facilitate the practice of messaging.
- Write it conversationally, just like your talk.
- Repeat it. Over and over.
- Don't worry so much if it's not clear or perfect yet. I will never be. But it would help if you learned to make it relevant and authentic for everyone. So the more you practice that skill, the faster you acquire it.
- Take more risks and reformulate it using many different formats, tones, and voices, including a more provocative one.
- Use your imagination. Could your message be one word? One question? One Yelp review?
- Create more opportunities to share your message. People want to hear it and will give you immediate feedback so that you can improve it.
There is a detailed explanation of why you should constantly work on your core message.