At Change Consulting, developing messaging for organizations, campaigns, and initiatives is one of our core offerings as part of our strategy work.
Put simply, messaging is one of the ways we communicate our values and perspectives — either verbally or in writing. According to the team behind The Butterfly Lab for Immigrant Narrative Strategy, messages can be hashtags, slogans, ideas, or taglines that serve as reminders of what we think and how we might choose to act. We consider messaging to be an important component when developing campaign strategies or other strategic communications goals.
We know that people who work in movement spaces are busy. These changemakers are organizing and advocating for local and statewide policy change, mobilizing wide bases of supporters, and dreaming up alternatives to existing systems, among other activities. It can be hard to find the time to take a step back and consider the clearest and most effective ways to talk about the important work being done to reach the audiences we need to move.
Taking the time to put together a core message platform can save time and energy in the long run. You can think of core messages as building blocks you can use when developing all kinds of content — newsletters, presentations, speaking engagements, talking points, a social media post, web copy, one-pager, sign-on letter, op-ed, or blog. These messages become the songbook you return to as you do your work, to remind your audiences and stakeholders who you are and what you stand for.
It is important that every member of your organization sings from the same songbook to help ensure your work is effective and memorable. Just like with actual songs, your harmony might change depending on the context the messages are used in, and you may “remix” the messages to reach different audiences. In either case, the “song” will still be recognizable. And just like lyrics to the songs that live in your head, repetition is key. The more you infuse the same core messages into your communications, the “stickier” they will become and the more people will associate these ideas with your work.
At Change, we work with our clients to develop core message platforms that reflect the heart of the identity and reputation that organizations seek to project. We start by building relationships with our clients and getting to know them, their collective values, and their visions for shaping the future. We host messaging sessions that guide clients through imaginative exercises, immerse ourselves in our clients’ materials and landscape, and share what we know of communications best practices to develop concise, notable, and ready-to-use messages that highlight the magic of their work and can be adapted across materials.
Once developed, your core messages serve as headlines or sign posts to lead people through your narrative. Each message can be further fleshed out and illustrated with a sprinkling of relevant data, personal stories, and more detail as appropriate. As highlighted by the Butterfly Lab team, the best messages advance narratives that help shape widely accepted beliefs and lead to transformative action, cultural power, and policy change.
Your core messages, much like your organizations, are constantly shifting and evolving. A core message document is something you can come back to every few months to update and revise as your organization and its work continue to evolve and grow.
The right messages, written clearly and concisely, can help to create resonance with your audience, create internal alignment, strengthen your impact, and expand your sphere of influence. If you’re interested in partnering with our team to support your messaging efforts, reach out to us at email@example.com to learn more about how we can help.