I’m seeing many blog posts on mind mapping of late. From what I gather, it’s a framework to track program strategy and subsquent tactics and execution. The images here are boggling in their multiplicity; I had no idea there are nearly 1 million mind map options to click via search engine.
Who among you use these every day? I’m interested in knowing whether it promotes efficiency or becomes just another tool that adds dust to the hard drive.
After a series of posts featuring the “” theme, I’d like to put the horse in front of the cart with a bit on message mapping. Whatever the moniker you prefer, message mapping is NOT mind mapping nor is it a SWOT analysis.
For my clients I represent in a cross-section of industries, message mapping is one of the very first steps we endeavor when launching public relations services.When I speak about message mapping, it doesn’t compare to mind mapping in the least.
The process for public relations is to dive into the executive mind, extrapolate leading thoughts and opinions, document them as approved messages, and then deliver them to external audiences using various channels.
Sometimes the process can take six weeks; it can be fast tracked to four, and what comes is a working document that provides the external-messaging framework for the C suite, teams, sales, customer service, public relations and marketing.
When I speak messaging with a client, here’s what I like to offer as a process:
- Facilitation of a gathering of executives who lead a company, its business unit, or subsidiary.
- Series of open-ended questions that address the 5Ws, the competition, the space, the audience, stakeholders, services, products, and the like.
- A ~three-hour session with large sticky poster paper to adorn the walls and capture the essence of the discussion.
- A multiple-page first draft of all the captured statements in themed buckets of messages with a descriptor.
- Team edit of supporting content and descriptor statement along with subsequent drafts until all messages are approved
- Placement of messages into a message map framework or schematic (as shown here) that allows for all the messages to be packaged in one document. This sample is an actual message map for a defunct dog treat maker.
Messaging in public relations takes a deeper dive than marketing. And, this public relations deliverable helps everyone develop content and copy; including marketers, storytellers, and copywriters.
I’ve had some interesting discussions with marketers who don’t understand the need for public relations messaging, and I’ve had marketers jump on board with the vision to understand just how valuable this exercise is. While there may be some overlap between PR messaging mapping and marketing’s branding platform, the jargon is omitted and the outcome is external.
When everyone agrees on the song sheet, we all sing in harmony. What’s your process? How do you capture messaging? Please share!