Communicators today have a tall order. It’s tough enough to develop messaging for brands in a constantly changing market. But when we have to not only craft the message but ensure that all the branches of the organization are consistently delivering the same version, it can be downright impossible. The larger the company, the more challenging it can become.
However, there are ways to ease the pain of this situation and get everyone on the same page.
Mixed messages confuse customers. Employees also suffer when internal and external messaging differ. For example, if you give employees a directive of increasing the value of stock options while promoting to customers that their wellbeing is the top priority, this creates confusion for everyone. Better to align the messaging so that all teams understand and are working toward a common goal.
What are some of the most effective ways to help ensure that every branch of the company is sharing the same consistent messages?
1) Allow the communications team to lead the way
When the communications team leads the charge, it may be easier to sync up the efforts and communicate in ways that will hit home with all audiences. Communicators have experience disseminating consistent messages in ways that will be compelling for various audiences. Allow them to leverage that expertise across all departments.
2) Rethink organizational structure
As lines blur among PR, marketing, and advertising teams, it may be time for brands who strive for consistent messaging to consider reorganizing. As Diane Schwartz has written at PR News, as more professionals realize “that digital and social media have made it easier for stakeholders to just bypass them,” and, “as the tools at our disposal work across multiple disciplines, it’s become more critical for brands to promote an omnichannel message that will resonate.”
So how can your organization promote better alignment and information sharing among PR, marketing, and advertising? Whatever solution works for you, it’s more important than ever that everyone shares their campaign calendars and considers centralizing their messaging strategy and execution.
3) Consider varying the wording to resonate across the organization
“The essence of a message across the organization needs to be the same, but the wording must differ,” says Ella Minty, an issues, crisis, and reputation management consultant. “For instance, to ensure it sticks and yields the desired result, the operational department needs to be differentiated in terms of action drivers from the sales department. Consistency of purpose or essence are paramount, but anything else must be tailored, even more so when dealing with international businesses which have many offices across the world.”
4) Crowdsource the messaging
Getting buy-in from various parts of your organization on the messaging will go a long way toward their willingness to enact it. Asking for input upfront helps create trust. If people feel their opinions are heard and valued—and the final product reflects that—they’ll be more likely to want to share the message.
5) Be sure leaders echo the messaging
If your top-level executives aren’t incorporating the talking points, chances are others may feel it’s not essential to do so. Leaders can set the example for others, especially with new messaging that you’re trying to get both your internal and external audiences to buy into. If teams see the messaging in use by executives, they’re more likely to come on board, as well. Having trouble convincing your data-driven executives to participate? Read this tip sheet on measuring the tangible impact of your branding-building activities.
6) Use tools to help
When teams are spread around the globe, it can be a challenge to work collaboratively. Meetings may not always be possible. Leveraging a tool like Slack can help you stay aligned.
“Tools like Slack are great for keeping all the key stakeholders in the loop in real-time,” says Amanda Burke, Director of Integrated Marketing and Communications at Welly. “So much of what we do is based on trends we read about or what a celebrity posts on Instagram that we don’t have time to wait even for a weekly team call or email recap to act. Slack gives us the opportunity to collaborate across disciplines in real-time and stay aligned in terms of messaging and brand voice.”
While organizations continue to struggle to keep all the moving parts aligned, communicators can help bridge the gap by leading the way to promote consistent messaging. It may not happen overnight, but if we make strides in the direction of complementary, coordinated messaging, companies will reap the benefits.
For a breakdown on all the steps involved in building strong customer relationships—and the role that consistent messaging plays in promoting brand awareness and loyalty—read our ebook on Demystifying the B2B Online Customer Journey.