During election season, I usually get a call from several attorneys seeking marketing services for their bid to become a municipal judge or other position as an elected official. When the call came in recently for this same circumstance, I informed the caller I would consider adding my hat to his ring only after we executed a message mapping exercise.
Politicians need message mapping just like other business leaders do, too.
Message Maps Are Critical Tools
I always say, every company needs a message map. That goes the same for solopreneurs and especially politicians.
When a politician is running for an office associated with a party, a message map is the critical first step to ensure everyone in the campaign tracks with the views of the candidate.
Imagine if a candidate steps in front of a camera for an interview and answers a question with something out of left field no one was prepared for? Enter damage control! Call out the crisis communications team!
Executives of companies are no different than politicians when it comes to media interviews. They, too, require a message map, media training (with the map), and role playing to prepare for tough questions from journalists. If the CEO of a company does not heed counsel from the public relations team and goes off on a tangent that is off message, a lot of damage can be done with comments out of context. We have all seen how politicians fare in these circumstances, and it ain’t pretty.
Why Leaders Need Message Maps
When I do message mapping sessions with companies and business leaders, invariably I uncover hidden gems about the company. That’s when the magic happens and all the heads begin to nod in unison. People who sit around the table and talk for hours about their company or campaign begin to dive in more deeply to the issues. Many angles are explored and new insight comes to the forefront. It is an awesome experience to witness this as a facilitator.
Message mapping puts the entire leadership team on the same page. There is consensus for business strategy, a refined business model perhaps, and the language everyone uses to communicate to external audiences.
Message Mapping Brings Clarity
What I have found time and again when messaging with anyone is the realization that people truly do themselves a disservice. They are uncomfortable speaking and promoting themselves; they shy away from blasting a message to the rooftops; they don’t strongly communicate a business goal or proof points about why their brand is #RockHot over another’s.
In a recent messaging exercise with a client of mine, the CEO became confused and unsettled when I sent him back the first draft of messages. He wondered from where I got the statements because he was certain he didn’t say what was written on that paper.
So often business leaders speak to audiences; however, they don’t listen to themselves. It can be eye-opening to actually see what is said on paper. When I stand in front of companies for four hours and pose questions and listen intently, I hear new things. It’s my first time hearing anything from the leadership of the company so I listen and hear differently than those in the room. I can call out confusion or affirm an approach with an outside perspective. I can even suggest that the business model for a startup is not making sense (which I’ve done).
For anyone who is anyone, I strongly encourage you to buy yourself a treat. Treat yourself to a messaging session with me. Worried about the price? There are many levels of strategy surrounding message mapping and many ways to skin the cat. The outcome for me is the same – to bring you clarity of message to refine your business strategy. I’ll be doing the same work at the same intensity regardless of how much you spend. I can’t do it any other way. I work with you until the light bulb turns on an everyone reaches consensus. Still not sure you want to buy yourself a treat? Then get one free…download my free Message Mapping ebook on this site accessible on the top navigation. Here, I’ll help.