HOW TO BUILD A POWERFUL MESSAGING STRATEGY

HOW TO BUILD A POWERFUL MESSAGING STRATEGY

GAIN CLARITY, DRIVE YOUR VISUALS, & SOLIDIFY YOUR “WHY”

Kirk Hadden | October 3, 2020 | branding Church Branding Church Marketing marketing marketing web Wayfinding

COUNTING THE COST

You’re reading this because you have a desire to reach people. And, while you’re making an impact, you’ve got a hunch that there are more people out there who need to hear the message God has placed on your heart.

Just as Christ instructed us to count the cost of our decision to become disciples, consider the strategy you take to influence your message. It could mean the difference between reaching the one or one million you’re called to, or being lost in the noise of the world.

We’ve been sharing our top tips for reaching more people with your message. We’ve talked about the foundational Discovery Process — why you exist, where you want to go, and what you want for your audience. 

Once you’ve done this, it’s time to build the home that invites your audience to be welcomed in. We like to call this part of your organization’s strategy the Messaging Blueprint

WHAT YOU DIDN’T KNOW YOU NEEDED

We’ve designed our Messaging Blueprint to direct all messaging, both written and visual, from the beginning discovery phase, through the design and implementation of all branded materials. It’s valuable because it synthesizes something meaningful from all the hard work that goes into unearthing the deep reasons behind your mission. It’s strategic messaging that clearly defines your brand’s voice, purpose, and path.

This Blueprint not only guides your message, it also directs visual brand development. From this guide, you will be able to confidently communicate your refined message in a way that meets your audience where they are and brings both of your hopes together. (Remember that ever-so-helpful Communication Triangle? It’s that space where “what you want for your audience” overlaps with “what your audience wants for themselves,” and forms your message.)

Your Messaging Blueprint is arguably one of the most important aspects of your organization’s strategic mission. Let’s take a look at the elements of this guide through the lens of the Communication Triangle.

WHO YOU ARE

At one corner of your triangle is your starting point. This is where you define your “you-ness”. 

What makes you unique? What are the values you will not waiver from? 

You answer these questions during your Discovery Process. The answers then serve as the beginning of your journey towards the shared win. For this exercise, you will start with what you already know about yourself. This usually includes:

  • Your Core Values — the deeply rooted principles you’re standing on
  • Your Distinctives & Advantages — the disproportionately important, unique way you reach people
  • Your Pulse Words — the words that describe the feel of your brand*

* These Pulse Words are incredibly helpful guideposts as you move into the visual branding phase of your strategy. They help you to create a visual identity that feels like your ministry. To find these words, think about your ministry’s message and write out words that resonate with the feeling you hope your audience will have when they encounter it for the first or millionth time. 

WHERE YOU’RE GOING

From the starting point of your identity, you begin your journey towards your goal to reach others with your message. Like an army’s advance, it all begins with a Mission and Vision. And once you start taking those steps towards your goals, it’s critically important to Measure the results of your efforts. 

Let’s break down those three components:

  1. Mission – What specific purpose makes your heart ache with desire? Your mission is the message you want to shout from the rooftops for all to hear. For most churches, your mission will likely align very closely with the Great Commission from Matthew 28.
  2. Vision – This is the result of your mission. It takes you from where you are, to where you want to go. Fleshing out your vision helps you see the steps of the mission.
  3. Measure of Success – Metrics are an excellent tool for knowing if you’re on track, or if you need to recalibrate. 

When tackling analytics, remember that the data you see represents the people you are trying to reach. Look at metrics through the lens of this formula, and the headache of analysis will ease:

Doing X well should result in seeing Y results.

YOU + YOUR AUDIENCE = RELATIONSHIP

You show up everyday because you’re on-mission to REACH people. And we all know that people don’t care what you know until they know how much you care. The journey that bridges the gap between you and your audience is laid brick-by-brick as you form a relationship with them.

So, how do you get from where you’re starting on the Communication Triangle to where they’re beginning? Try this approach:

1. Know your Reputation 

This includes your:

  • Past: What has your relationship been, up to this point, with your audience?
  • Present: What’s your relationship like right now?
  • Future: What would you like your relationship with your audience to be??

Be honest with yourself as you assess your reputation. Include the positives, negatives, and any obstacles you will need to overcome in order to move forward.

2. Know Your Position

We call this your brand’s geography, that place where you fit among similar organizations. This will help you:

  • Clarify your uniqueness and set you apart from others
  • Find cues that will help your audience recognize your affiliation with partnering organizations

KNOWING YOUR AUDIENCE

One of the most important aspects of a messaging strategy is knowing your audience. If you’re selling peanut butter to a group of individuals with a nut allergy, you’re not going to get anywhere. In fact, you’re gravely affecting their lives.

Your mission is as critically important. If you intimately understand your audience, your ability to reach them expands. Here are ways you can define your audience:

  1. Look at Demographics — These may be local or international and are comprised of individuals who will fit in the center of your target audience
  2. Expand your Range — Outside of that bullseye is a secondary audience that shouldn’t be alienated from your message
  3. Develop a Persona — This represents the center of your bullseye and serves to help you define your Core Story (more on that in a bit).

Who has God placed on your heart? His mission always begins with meeting people where they are. 

KNOW WHERE YOUR AUDIENCE IS GOING

Your audience is on their own journey as well. Their path likely includes some peaks and valleys. Their hopes, fears, and challenges define who they are and where they’re going.

Understanding your audience’s hopes and fears will give you insight into meeting people where they are and walking with them down the road to that shared win, the sweet spot where you and your audience connect. 

As you seek to understand their journey, remember to look for obstacles that may hinder them from a relationship with you.

GETTING THERE, TOGETHER

As both you and your audience reach the apex of the Communication Triangle, you come together for that glorious shared win. This is the point where what you offer directly correlates with their struggles. It’s that place where your audience’s hopes and dreams blend beautifully together with yours.

There are some golden nuggets to harvest here, those precious gems that make your message shine, including your:

  1. Messaging Mediums — These are the platforms that resonate with you and your audience. 
  2. Value Propositions — These statements directly speak to the value your organization offers to one of your audience’s correlating hopes or fears.
  3. Brand Promise — This is a succinct statement of the value your organization offers your audience.
  4. One-Liner — Think of this as your elevator pitch. It’s a concise statement of what you do and why you do it.
  5. Core Story — This is the heart of why you do what you do. It encapsulates the hopes you have for the people you’re trying to reach in a way that resonates with your audience.

Tell your Core Story from the perspective of your target audience because it meets your audience where they are, takes their hand, and tells them they’re not alone. 

WHERE ARE YOU ON YOUR JOURNEY?

If you’re feeling a little lost or off-course with your organization’s goals, we want to help. We exist to help you reach people. 

Simply fill out the form below, and we’ll meet you where you are.