Have you ever driven past a billboard that would cause an accident if anyone actually read the whole thing or wished that a salesperson would stop blabbering about how perfect their product or service is? Worse yet, have you ever sat through a presentation that features a bunch of PowerPoint slides being read to you by the speaker?
The advertiser, salesperson and speaker all missed the opportunity to reach and influence their target audiences. Time and money are wasted. Productivity suffers. It’s probably time for an “extreme messaging makeover.”
Five Ways to a Makeover
1. Focus on One Big Idea. We’re bombarded with messages from the time we wake up until we crash at the end of a long day. We can’t afford to spend more time processing information unless we are sure we need it. But we remember creative messages that make an emotional impact. We relate to them, in part, because they are focused on one main idea.
Here are some ads or slogans that you couldn’t forget even if you wanted to:
• Can You Hear Me Now?
• Don’t Leave Home Without It.
• Got Milk?
• Where’s the Beef?
Try to remember the last time a salesperson made just the right pitch, or you thoroughly enjoyed a presentation or speaker. It’s likely the message was focused on you and on one big idea you still remember today. So the next time you are creating an ad, making a sales pitch, preparing a presentation or writing a memo, improve your message by asking yourself: What’s the one big idea here? That’s the heart of your message. Keep it simple and direct.
2. Telling Stories. Stories resonate and help us relate to others. We remember vivid details of stories told when we were kids. The most influential speakers tell memorable stories that stir multiple emotions. The most successful advertising campaigns use storytelling to make a lasting impact. The best media coverage is created by compelling stories. When presenting to a group, internally or externally, take your messaging to another level with meaningful and memorable stories.
You might find that a story you think is no big deal will be enjoyed by your audience. Build your company’s brand by telling multiple stories that become your key message points, convey your real story and create the image you deserve. Tell your company’s story in a way that focuses on your key target audiences. Make it about them and their wants and needs. Instead of sending boring press releases that end up ignored by the media, tell interesting, real life stories that people will want to read and hear. Then the media can be the conduit to tell your story.