Simple, powerful ideas differentiate you, build trust, and reinforce your brand. So how do you achieve clarity?
We have 5 simple rules to help:
1. Know your audience
The most effective writing and speaking are directed to a particular audience, but tailoring the messages in the digital world is tough since channels of communication aren’t discrete.
However, you do need to leverage the tools at hand to direct the right messages to the right audiences, in their preferred channels. Work on the balance between a voice that fits the platform in question and is uniquely yours.
2. Have an organizing principle
One obstacle to clarity is coordinating messages from often divergent sources. You want to be sure that marketing, social media, employee communications, investor relations, the corporate office — everyone — is singing from the same songbook. Use an organizing principle to guide all these efforts — if it’s distinctive, this can even be your company’s mission, vision or purpose. It can also be a key message, core set of beliefs, or any shared set of guiding thoughts.
3. Be consistent
There’s no better way to muddle up a message than to contradict yourself! Once you have an organizing principle, ground all of your messages in it.
4. Avoid industry jargon
Use plain language. When writing, we tend to make things more convoluted than they need be. This can be for any number of reasons: perhaps you’re attempting to convey a greater sense of authority, or you’re showcasing your latest and greatest product. Don’t let temptation win! Use too much tech-speak, and your audience’s eyes will glaze over.
5. Be memorable and human
Keep the messages short — they’re easier to remember. And it’s always best to show rather than tell. Simple and evocative messages are best since they are easy to remember, understand and connect to on a human level. You’re talking to real people, not just “employees,” “investors,” “businesses,” or “customers.”
At the end of the day…
Ultimately, poor messaging costs your company money and erodes your brand. Contradictory, unclear communications make it that much more difficult to differentiate your offering, sell your products and make your case. And remember the verbal message is only half the story, incorporate visuals to enhance understanding.
Furthermore, make sure to keep your language up to date! Messaging isn’t a “set it and forget it” task, and should be refined and evolve with your business. Keep your messages fresh and relevant, it is vital to your brand’s longevity.
Get guidance: Consider expert help
Of course, to get your messages out most effectively, you may need the help of strategy, storytelling, design, development and production pros. If you find yourself are struggling to see the forest for the trees inside your own company, consider engaging an expert. Check out some of the stakeholder-pleasing sustainability/ESG reports and impact communications IOP has created — and email us to get in touch if you need help with yours.
Updated August 2023
Photo by Devin Avery on Unsplash