In this election year, we’ll be hearing a lot about the need for candidates to “stay on message.” That’s good advice for all communications professionals and not just for candidates.
The purpose of “staying on message” is to ensure that you clearly communicate a singular message and that you repeat it often enough to make it memorable. Often “staying on message” is associated with media training for interviews or crisis situations, but this concept also applies to all forms of corporate communications whether it is to internal or external audiences.
Play It Again, Sam
And there is scientific evidence to back this up. It’s called the repetition principle. Repetition creates a pattern that initially grabs our attention and then creates familiarity which often leads to liking. For instance, when we’re shopping, we’re more likely to buy familiar brands even if we have never tried the product before. Or think of a nagging child. Children know that if they repeat a request often enough, their parents will cave. Repetition also leads to understanding. What at first may seem strange, after repeated exposure becomes clear and understandable. This becomes even more important in today’s world as we are bombarded constantly by a multitude of messages.
The Message Track
Domus helps its client “stay on message” by developing a message track document. This document identifies the communication objectives, target audience, channels of communication and specific message points. The message track is written in language that managers can understand and are able to take and communicate to others verbally or in writing. The message track document is also particularly useful for account managers to confirm clear direction with our clients before proceeding with a communication initiative. Once developed, communications professionals must not be tempted to stray from this message track when developing materials. By staying focused and on message, communicators will be sure that their message is heard and understood.
So whether you’re preparing for a media interview, launching a new product or announcing a new employee incentive program, remember to stay on message in whatever you say and do.
Joanne Michael is an Executive Vice President at Domus, Inc., a marketing communications agency based in Philadelphia. For more information, visit http://www.domusinc.com. For new business inquiries, please contact CEO and founder of Domus, Inc. Betty Tuppeny at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-772-2805.