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The power of key messaging: How to get your message across successfully

Claudia Bracher Wolfensberger, Partner

Corporate communication thrives on content. A company's brand essence and positioning, its 'Why' and the way it communicates are key success factors. It is about creating formative experiences and emotions that are directly associated with a company, its brand, its products, services or opinions.

Whether it's a presentation, an interview, an advertising campaign or a PR task, formulate your key message as a first step. Always. Without a compass, you will get lost sooner or later. The question is: What is the ONE message that I absolutely want my audience to understand? But you would have much more to report? Fine. Later. Not now. ONE key message, not many.

This focus may not be easy to find. But it's worth the effort. A concise message stays in the mind, makes storytelling easier, and, ultimately, makes your job easier. Once the key message is clear, all you have to do is ask yourself: does that statement, graphic or statistic support my message or am I better off leaving it out? The same applies, mutatis mutandis, to the assessment of the specific approach to your target or dialog audiences. Is it understandable and convincing for them or not?

Good key messages are concrete, short and concise. Easy to understand, credible and to the point. A key message can be defined for a single interview, a presentation or for an entire company. In the latter case in particular, the key message can also be formulated in a very abstract manner and not intended for direct communication to the public. Carefully formulated claims, on the other hand, the classics among key messages, are used directly and offensively. So both are possible.

The only important thing is that your key message is suitable to be used concretely as a guideline for the communication objective at hand right now.

In order to formulate key messages, two basic questions need to be clarified:

  • The content: What makes our project unique and distinctive or what exactly do we want to say and why?

  • The tonality: It will vary depending on the target group and the message, but always within consciously observed boundaries.

The trick is to maintain the core of a message, but adapt it in different contexts or to different stakeholders. The successful outcome of a communication task is always individual; whether as part of a single tactic or aligned to a strategic program with an interdisciplinary perspective. The int/ext team is always ready to provide you with counsel and hands-on support.


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