How Not to Use Your Messaging Platform

Keith Flint, Brand Strategist

It’s important to know what your messaging platform isn’t.

The well-crafted, finely honed positioning statement that lives in your platform has extraordinary value. And your messaging platforms form the foundation of your brand story. But neither should be said to customers. Here’s why.

Your messaging is not creative copy. It’s far too prosaic for that.

It's the recipe, not the meal

While all the content you create needs to tie back to your positioning statement and messaging platform, your creative copy is a different entity entirely.

Consider the purpose of each. Most marketing or advertising copy is meant to do one thing: sell. Most of what you read in a messaging platform is meant to inform your copy and make sure it sells.

Think of the platform as a list of ingredients in a recipe. When a creative writer or designer combines these elements with their own special sauce, great things are the result.

Too often, the lines between messaging and copy become blurred, and even the most well-intentioned marketing teams try to make the positioning or messaging frameworks read like copy. Or they try to lift messaging platform language verbatim for promotional use. In most cases, it simply won’t work. Because the intent or purpose of one is a poor fit for the needs of the other.

Don't apply messaging externally

Make no mistake, the messaging platform is about you. It’s for the eyes of you and your team only.

For example, a positioning statement is a distillation of who you are and what you offer your customers. It establishes where you fit in the marketplace and helps you defend yourself against competitive intrusion. But it is NOT meant to be shared. While it informs your internal audience and guides their communication, it is not intended for external audiences. Sharing language written in this voice might confuse customers—or, even worse, bore them.

Similarly, your messaging platforms—which outline the chapters of your story—are not for public consumption. Authors don’t publish the outlines of their stories, so neither should you. Keep the scribbles and coffee-stained pages to yourself. Only share the final polished creative content that follows.

Don't forget to review

As campaigns proceed and content is created or revised, be sure to go back and compare your creative copy to the positioning statement or messaging platform. Make sure they align. But recognize the difference. The platform is more general. It’s an approach that takes into consideration everything you want to say. It’s broad. Inclusive. Somewhat abstract. Copy is intimate. Familiar. And it makes a personal connection with the customer you want reach.

Don't skip this step

With all these “don’ts” it might seem like your positioning and messaging are of minor importance, but that’s not true. They are both formative and informative. They have a purpose, and again, an intent. They’re not the end product—but they’re a crucial part of ensuring your ultimate deliverable does everything that it’s intended to. So develop them carefully, then keep them in mind and go write some extraordinary copy.

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