Your messaging and positioning framework is one of the most valuable resources for communicating your brand or product to an audience. A messaging framework is a documented representation of a brand’s communication goals, strategy, and story. The framework helps a brand differentiate itself from its competitors and serves as a single source of truth for all stakeholders. Quality frameworks ensure consistency across platforms, departments, and channels for both internal and external communications. Therefore, it’s understandable why companies might be reluctant to involve an external firm in creating such a high-stakes document.
Considering outside support may prompt responses such as:
“I’m not sure how a vendor can add value when our team is full of subject matter experts. We know best how to tell our story.”
“We can’t afford distractions and we don’t have time to bring an external team up to speed on our messaging strategy.”
“I’m worried that an external agency will advocate for changes that don’t land well in the market.”
External agencies, such as consultancies, are aware of the concerns stakeholders may have about involving outsiders and work to help clients navigate these kinds of challenges.
While engaging a consulting firm to create a messaging framework has numerous benefits, we list some of the most notable below.
Benefit #1: Your perspective expands
As anthropologist Ralph Linton once said, “The last thing a fish would ever notice would be water.” Likewise, your team swims through product and solution subject matter on a daily basis, which can stifle creativity over time. As a result, teams may feel like they’re recycling the same material for new challenges that call for out-of-the-box thinking.
Consultants are responsible for quickly building an understanding of their client’s business while bringing in fresh thinking and perspectives. As a result, new frames of reference can catalyze creativity. Furthermore, outside support for your messaging can unleash potential from internal stakeholders that may otherwise remain dormant due to internal structures, practices, biases, and other collaboration challenges. If meetings to brainstorm new ideas feel repetitive or redundant, or if key stakeholders staunchly defend outdated thinking or language, a team of consultants can act as a disruptor.
Consultants approach your offerings like a customer would, experiencing your messaging as a neutral party. They help break through the internal echo chamber and promote new concepts and ideas that can lead to valuable insight.
Benefit #2: Your other priorities keep moving forward
Building (or rebuilding) a messaging framework takes time. That’s why fitting it in among other projects and responsibilities (such as campaigns, industry events, planning efforts, etc.) is often a herculean task.
Setting direction, conducting discovery, ideating, drafting the messaging and positioning, testing, iterating – it all takes dedicated thinking and sustained effort. Beyond that, gaining buy-in and aligning stakeholders can require significant bandwidth.
Getting outside support for your messaging framework helps spread the heaviest parts of the load.
Consultants are experienced at ramping up quickly and shouldering the burdens of initial ideation, deliverable development, and stakeholder management. This enables you and your stakeholders to focus on getting the nuances dialed in, rather than the heavy lifting of creating first drafts, tracking feedback, and wrangling stakeholders. Less time spent on those efforts means more time to keep pressing efforts moving forward.
Benefit #3: Your audience stays in focus
When considering an outside party for messaging support, teams may fear consultants will suggest concepts that sound good in theory but do not land with their target audience. However, consultants are trained to get clarity on the target audience and what they care about, which helps keep messaging oriented in the right direction.
Consultants take an outside-in perspective and incorporate audience insights. As you explore consulting partners, ask them questions to validate their approach. Do they insist on connecting with the target audience and those who are close to the voice of that audience (such as field sellers and partners)? Do they leverage internal input as well as external market insights? Do they offer the option to conduct message testing? These types of tactics will help guide the development of messaging that resonates.
Interested in learning more?
When investigating consulting partners, it’s important to consider the partner’s area of expertise. With over 2,800 engagements on record, Spur Reply has assisted more than 800 clients in a range of go-to-market initiatives, including messaging frameworks that have helped fuel growth for B2B tech leaders such as Microsoft, Cisco, and VMware.
Caleb McKee is a consultant for Spur Reply’s Connected Communications team. He translates technological concepts into solutions that illustrate product and service value. Caleb specializes in creating content covering IoT, IT, networking, cybersecurity, and other future-forward topics.