The 5-Step Secret to a Killer Messaging Strategy
Updated: May 9
Building a messaging strategy takes patience, organization and precision - all possible with a carefully crafted compass, guiding your word choice.
Introducing: The Word Bank
What is a word bank?
The brave souls who tackle healthcare’s most challenging obstacles require articulate and differentiated language to share their vision, build consensus and generate impact.
The word bank helps do just that - distill complicated concepts into a selection of keywords, reflecting the unique features of the solution and how they differ from the competition.
When organized in a methodical manner, this word bank facilitates the construction of a natural storyline, compelling mission statement and supportive company messaging - all while keeping the writer focused on the key issues most relevant to their stakeholders.
Why is it critical?
A well crafted word bank allows the writer to:
quickly and easily build a strategic framework
determine the right angle from which to penetrate the industry
command their niche with the right language
design and craft company messaging, without getting sidetracked
guide their team through brand and culture identity conversations
avoid bottlenecks by aligning the team on word choice
rely on words which are clearly differentiated from the competition
When is a word bank needed?
Crafting a mission statement, building momentum, and pitching a concept all require a story. So, whether you are about to go public or gearing up for a raise, it is NEVER too early to translate your company’s value into articulate, compelling and organized language.
Though this is important - it is no small task. So, the earlier you gain consensus around your word bank, the easier the process will be.
By the way - this is why a word bank is of top priority when we craft our Foundational Messaging Package. It is THAT critical in crafting a brand story. The sooner, the better.
Okay… now for the goods.
How to proclaim your differentiation:
Here is the 5-step process to building your word bank:
1. The Investigation - Evaluate the company solution through the lens of the user and ask yourself the following questions to guide the investigation.
What challenge does your stakeholder face?
How does your stakeholder want the challenge solved?
Does your current company story connect with these challenges?
Are you clear on how you are presenting the solution?
How does the current solution fit inside the stakeholder workflow?
As you describe the product details and notice inconsistencies, you can evaluate opportunities for improvement. Does your current message match what your audience wants to hear? Where must you focus your attention? What is the key element you are solving and how can that be best reflected in the messaging?
Take gobs and gobs of notes and notice trends.
2. Sort and Categorize - With plenty of data, this step organizes your notes into a natural storyline. While you can choose as many categories as needed, the following are most critical:
vision & mission
Once you’ve identified your categories (no more than 6), comb through your notes, fix typos, delete redundant language and separate by topic. For example, any language which speaks directly to the material chosen or the functionality of the solution would fall under "core features," rather than "general solution." In cases where the categorization isn’t a perfect fit, dissect the sentence and get as close to perfect as possible. Then, move on!
3. Word Selection - This step is the hardest and arguably the most important. Move through each category - in order. Carefully read the descriptor sentence/phrase and determine which words accurately synthesize the meaning. The goal of step three is to land on a set of carefully chosen words for each category, ultimately framing the messaging strategy.
For example, under “core features,” you may see:
Doctors love the ‘easy to use’ system we created
The technology is smart - it just knows what we need
It is simple to plug into our day to day life and doesn’t over complicate
Step 3 asks the writer to synthesize these phrases into strategic words. You may choose:
BTW - it’s okay if this results in more than 3 words. Options are great. Focus on choosing simple yet articulate language which accurately reflects the concepts collected in step 1. The more words to choose from, the better. 4. Competitive Glance - While your AI powered tech or innovative medical device is unique - it likely isn’t the first of its kind. To ensure your words stand out, take a look at how others speak. In some cases, overlapping words are not a problem. After all, if you are solving the same challenge as others, language may be similar. The purpose here though, is to enter this stage with eyes wide open. Be clear on what words you have chosen, how others have used them and in what ways you need to stand out from the crowd. During this step, it may be helpful to pull up previously completed competitive analyses to ensure lessons learned from that report make their way into the word bank, and ultimately, the message development.
5. Concretize - Encourage others to review, consolidate and concretize your word bank. Ideally, at the end of step 5, each of the 4 categories will have a list of 5-6 words to reference. After you and your team narrow down the list, you may find it necessary to return to step 3 and consider other words. After all, you want the word bank to leave you with options.
We hope that you can learn from our process and integrate it into your own messaging!
Let us know how it goes!
For more help, reach out today.