Strengthen and Embrace Your Key Message

Your key message is an important identifier of your business and a hook for customers. Sue Dobbe-Leahy, of Dobbe Marketing in Crystal Lake, provides examples of top-notch messages and suggestions for how to craft a winner.


So, you’ve been adjusting your branding and have completed the first steps:

• Complete a research study
• Refine your brand image
• Evolve your brand position to reflect current market conditions

What’s next? It’s time to key in on your Key Message.

Key Message Statements enable your potential customers to understand the benefits of your company or product through reinforced, consistent and simple language appropriate to their needs and interests.

If that description is a bit convoluted, consider your Key Message as this: a statement that captures your brand and gives your audience memorable phrases to recall your products or services.

Slogans, tag lines and descriptors unique to your product niche or service segment must be carefully crafted and communicated. Remember that your audience needs to know why they should care about your products and services.

Key messages should be capable of being received and recalled so your clients can share why they prefer your company.

Always keep in mind that your organization must be committed to living the Key Message’s promise. Once it is conveyed, it must be obeyed.

Examples of Key Messages in the marketplace vary based on the size, type and focus of the company. Here are a few examples of effective Key Messages:

Chipotle: Serving fresh, healthy, natural food in a clean and efficient manner at a reasonable price.

McHenry County College: A comprehensive community college offering traditional credit courses and continuing education programs.

Rust-Oleum Corporation: A company founded on the principal of providing innovative products that protect surfaces from the elements.

Clutter is everywhere, especially in marketing messages. Happily, a well-conceived Key Message is devoid of clutter. Clean, concise and creative words that connect with your audience can make you a source of trust. Once trusted, your audience should be able to easily share your information among their contacts on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, email or old-fashioned personal conversation.

Assembling your Key Message is a challenging task that can be simplified with the help of a copywriting professional. Wordsmiths who understand your unique advantages can emphasize the words that form a visual in the mind of your audience or evoke an emotional connection.

Once your team is satisfied with the Key Message, test-market the concepts with a small group to determine if you are reaching your goal and achieving your objective. Research your Key Message to confirm that other marketers have not already used this phrasing in another market.

Deliberately distribute your Key Message everywhere – website, emails, Constant Contact, Facebook, LinkedIn, print ads, radio, billboard, broadcast and beyond. Consistent communication of your key messages will build a memorable and shareable impression of your business.

Susan Dobbe-Leahy is president of Dobbe Marketing & PR Inc. Founded in 1989, this brand strategy agency leads businesses, organizations and municipalities to build brand image awareness and communication.