What is a Messaging Framework & Why You Need One

This week people living in my home province of Alberta, Canada got a good lesson in the importance of a consistent messaging framework.

A messaging framework is specific language your organizations uses over and over to define your reason for existence.

(Click to Tweet)

My marketing method, Whole Team Marketing, is based around deliberate, consistent messaging that offers clear guidance on what your business should say to your audience and how. Every single person in your organization who deals with clients needs to use the same messaging.

If they don’t, you erode buyer trust. You seem less credible.

Eroding Trust in Elections

This week there were municipal elections across the province of Alberta. In Canada, non-partisan arm’s length government organizations oversee our elections. This system has been very successful; Elections Canada personnel are in demand worldwide to train workers in other countries on administering fair, free and democratic elections.

Unfortunately, someone at Elections Alberta didn’t get the message. On election day, an employee started provoking voters on Twitter by responding in a rude manner, from a specific political viewpoint. In other words, the exact opposite of what they’re supposed to do.

A supervisor stepped in, but not before many people started questioning the impartiality of Elections Alberta. In this case, the employee damaged the organization’s non-partisan reputation. This has the potential to lead to mistrust of election results. Canada has largely avoided the election controversy we saw in the United States in 2020, and a large part of that is because of the trusted reputation of our non-political election organizations.

Screenshot from Elections Alberta (@ElectionsAB) Twitter account.

You Need A Messaging Framework

Your business can avoid these types of mishaps by taking the time to formally create the messaging framework you want your employees to use with your audience. At Create That, we create a Messaging Playbook for each of our clients, in consultation with their team.

Everyone knows the message and more importantly, everyone knows why that is the message. When every employee has read the Messaging Playbook, they communicate with customers and the public using a powerful consistent message. This in turn makes your audience trust your authority.

Comic chart by @lizandmollie
Courtesy: @lizandmollie

Messaging Framework Comes First

Before you even begin to choose which tactics are best for reaching your audience (e.g. social media, a blog, branded swag, an event) you need to decide what you want to say. You can’t start with tactics, because tactics will change based on which is the most effective at getting your message out. Message first.

Of course specific wording will be different based on exactly what you are talking about, but your messaging framework defines overarching formal descriptions of who you are, what you stand for, and your value proposition.

The good news is, the time it takes to develop a messaging framework is always worthwhile, because it saves work again and again. My clients pull out their Messaging Playbook when they are emailing clients, updating their website or even networking. Anywhere you need to describe your business to others, having a messaging framework will make the process easier.

Picture of author, Bridget Brown