Who are you? What exactly do you do? Why is this important? And why should I care? No. I'm not necessarily talking about you as a person. Rather simply inquiring about your company. Many of us who work for complex technology companies generally find it difficult to explain exactly what your company or product is and why it's important.
This is where clarity of message is so important. Some people refer to the ability to explain what they do and the key benefit on a short elevator ride. Or over a small beer at a bar? How many different answers do you think you'd hear if you asked everyone in your company the following questions (or slight variations of such)?
- What does your company do?
- What is important about the product or service you offer?
- What are the key benefits you offer to your customers?
Seems simple enough. But fact is, most companies haven't focused adequate energy in developing key messaging, educating employees and partners on messaging and clearly understanding the difference between features and benefits. Sure, it's a tall task. But it's important. Too often companies are afraid to commit to a single message for the fear they might isolate a potential market that isn't directly targeted by such a message. This always drives me crazy. Just because you focus on something clear and consistently communicate this doesn't mean that your company cannot develop supporting products and message points.
So on my recent drive up (the) 5 freeway I managed to stop in my new favorite spot, Buttonwillow, for a Starbucks, fossil fuel and rest room break. That's when I saw another electric hand dryer in the Chevron men's room. Manufactured by World Dryer Corporation, the company has no bones about communicating it's primary message and benefits. They're printed right on the dryer for each and every user to see and read.
- Dryers help protect the environment.
- They save trees from being used for paper towels.
- They eliminate paper towel waste.
- They are more sanitary to use than paper and help maintain cleaner facilities.
Home run, World Dryer Corp! Hard not to buy into these benefits. What's key here is that these benefits span both target customer (operators of bathroom facilities) and the customer's customer (in the computer world we seem to call these folks “end users” – hah, I always liked that phrase because it's so silly). Nonetheless, here are the key messages and benefits for all to see.
Now see if you can espouse what your company does and its key benefits in 32 words or 200 characters? To its benefit, World Dryer Corporation has the name of its product in the company name. I'll give you a few more words and a couple dozen characters additional.
You'll be hard pressed. But maybe this is an initiative you could start in your company. Develop core messaging. And with that develop a key concept for your company's brand. And if you gain consensus in your organization and the support to delivering this message to every one of your constituents, you'll find that development of sales materials, marketing messages, corporate websites AND BLOGS will be much easier. Because each of these will reinforce and build upon the messaging. It's really that simple. And easy.