If you do one thing this year to improve how your company communicates, DO THIS

January 27, 2015 / Alice / No Comments


In 2015, there’s one task that will significantly improve your ability to engage your customers. It will build stronger relationships with your employees. It will provide the foundation for smarter marketing content.

It’s the Message Audit, and it’s hands down one of the most important tasks you can do right now to improve your company’s communication capabilities.


The Message Audit is a thorough review of what you say internally and externally about your company. Its purpose is to highlight the critical moves you need to make in order to be more consistent, persuasive and effective in talking to your audiences.

Tackling the problem

How do you undertake a Message Audit? For starters, it helps to have a third party review your messaging for you.

For the last several months, we have been working with an advisory firm to solve their biggest marketing problem. Like many businesses that grew quickly and organically, they have struggled with two vital aspects of messaging:

  1. They have a hard time extracting core business messages from their busy senior leadership
  2. Even when the messages are extracted, they have difficulty communicating them simply and clearly in a way their salespeople, customers and staff can understand and share

They were generally unhappy with their web site and suffered from Simultaneous Sales Decks Syndrome: everyone presenting a different version of the truth.

As an impartial outsider, we were able to digest the messages they put out there, isolate the strongest points, and highlight the inconsistencies. We then presented the information back in a way that challenged them to agree on and commit to only the most vital and relevant points.

Reaping the benefits

The company found the clarified messaging provided a rallying point for their salespeople. Once aligned, they improved the clarity and effectiveness of their channels, from sales presentations to web sites to internal comms.

They were also able to organize their first large-scale strategic marketing plan around those messages by focusing and fine-tuning them to specific audiences.

It can be an expense to have an agency perform your message audit for you. But if the outcome is a more joined-up workforce, more efficient communications and better engagement with your audiences, the benefits can far outweigh the costs.

Undertaking your own Message Audit

If you choose to take on your own Message Audit, here are several important steps to take. (Note: You can perform this task at any scale, from the corporate level down to messaging for specific markets).

  1. Gather: Identify the communication touchpoints you rely on most heavily, inside and outside the company. These might be sales presentations, your web site, staff meetings, emails from the CEO, speeches—any source you and your leadership feel best communicate who you are, what you stand for, and why you’re different. Make a note of who feels what source of messaging is the best representation of your company and why.
  1. Analyse: Categorize the messages into groups, noting what you say most often, as well any as outliers passionately held by your management. Challenge your leadership to isolate which messages are most important, most differentiating and most relevant to the market
  1. Simplify and clarify. Try to distill your core messages down to roughly 3-6. Ideally, at this point you’d gain buy-in and feedback from all staff to maximize engagement.
  1. Deploy: Re-visit your communications and marketing touchpoints to ensure your newly refined messages are consistently and coherently applied.
  1. Maintain: Use your new core messages as a framework for decision-making moving forward. Ensure new marketing efforts reinforce and build on those messages. Go a step further and put them up on the wall where everyone in your office can see them. Make them a part of your everyday to ensure you’re always telling your unique, strong and compelling story.

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