The post I wrote this week “Message Mapping is NOT Mind Mapping” spawned a slew of discussion, tweets, linked posts and new thought. It was cool to see a variety of contributions, mostly from the mind mapping side of the equation. Some use a combo of mind- and-message mapping; others have no idea what message mapping is. What do you use to capture messages? Please share!
When I prepare to facilitate a messaging session, I develop a list of open-ended questions to the executive team. Let’s say you’re a realty company and you’d like all your realtors to use the same language with clients and prospects.
Here is the approach I take when message mapping:
- Place questions in themed buckets, i.e. about the company, customers, pricing, credentials, staffing, differentiators, etc.
- Pull leaders together for a few hours and run through the questions with an external facilitator (me).
- Capture all the answers and comments; you’d be surprised when no answer is the same from the leadership team.
- Draft sassy, succinct, simple, soundbite messages.
- Secure approval from executive leadership.
- Map the messages into a schematic that tells a story about the company from start to finish and in between.
Here are the sample questions I’d deliver to a realty company wanting me to faciliate a messaging session:
- Describe your company to Gramma (if Grams can’t understand, then no one can).
- What services are provided?
- What products are sold?
- What is your geographic boundary?
- Who are your clients/audiences?
- Do you specialize in commercial or residential?
- What price point of home are you most comfortable selling?
- What is your differentiator as a company?
- What expertise/credentials do your realtors have?
- Are there any guarantees you offer new clients?
- Do you work with mortgage brokers and can you offer a one-stop shop of services?
- Can you tout a success rate of XX days on market for homes for sale?
- What realtor fees are average; are there hidden fees clients should be aware of?
- Why should a home buyer use your agency?
- Why should a home seller use your agency?
Is this mind mapping?
Why I said in the earlier post this week that message mapping is not mind mapping is because the latter feels tactical to me. Tactical execution is being planned and mapped; each step is further delineated until an entire planning strategy is in a diagram. On the other hand, a message map is about descriptions, explanations, quotes that executives deliver about aspects of a company. While messaging is certainly a pre-launch tactic and can be included in a mind map, this subset exercise stands on its own two feet.
What do you think?