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Messaging framework refresh

But is it Fresh?

Back in the days before next-day delivery, my parents had a schtick when they went out to dinner. (At least it should have been a schtick.) Inevitably, my mother would ask the waitress, “Is the fish fresh?” And inevitably, my father would say, “Good god, woman. You’re in Ohio. Of course, the Alaska King Crab legs are not fresh.”

We always put a premium on freshness, especially when it comes to food (and even more so when it comes to seafood). We do not, however, always apply the same standards to our message. Although the consequences are distinctly different, they are consequences all the same.

Inconsistency, I’ve been known to say, is Enemy #1 of a strong brand. Messages must be consistently authentic, compelling, and memorable. Over time, however, the message can lose its freshness rendering its consistency irrelevant. But how do you know? It’s not as if you can taste it or deduce that, because you’re in Ohio, it is not.

Crafting a message is not a one-and-done activity. Even the best of the best need to make brand changes from time to time. Here are eight signs suggesting it’s time for you to act:

Describing your actions takes forever. If your elevator pitch requires a skyscraper, it’s time to make changes. Everyone should be able to share your organization’s purpose in no more than two sentences.

It’s been a while. The more things change, the more your message should not stay the same. Every day we all make micro-adjustments to how we deliver on our organization’s promises that add up. Sometimes we make macro ones. Even if you have added a description of a new service, have you explained how it’s relevant to what else you do?

After a while, both types of adjustments will have added up, and your messaging framework no longer pulls the punch it once did. Worse yet, it might be completely inaccurate.

Keeping and attracting talent has become a challenge. People work for more than a paycheck—particularly at mission-driven organizations. They work to be part of something they can believe and take pride in. Your message—especially the why you do what you do part—is the magnet that keeps and attracts the best and brightest talent.

There have been significant external changes. Our world constantly changes, which means that people’s perceptions of different needs change. When inflation is high, people spend less. Is that with you? When war rages, dollars are redirected. Is that away from you? If so, a messaging framework refresh can help change that.

Your competitors have changed theirs. Everyone has competitors. Everyone. If yours are suddenly talking about what they do in a way that is more compelling than the way you do, it’s time to consider a messaging framework refresh. One way to find out is through a messaging audit. Learn more here:

Auto-pilot engaged. If your customers or your donors see you more as an ongoing expense, if they’ve lost their enthusiasm for the work you do, it’s time to refresh your message. Subscriptions and monthly giving are great, but if an underlying excitement does not support them, it’s only time until they’re canceled.

Data don’t lie. As recently reported on the website, Data, decreased conversion rates can provide a clear sign that it’s time for a messaging framework refresh. For example, your website is often people’s first interaction with your work. If they click and close, your message is definitely not working.

Course corrections are constant. If it feels as if you are shifting from one “best idea ever” to another, a messaging framework refresh is in order. Changing one’s mind is not the same as innovation, after all. A refreshed messaging framework can keep you focused on what you do best relative to what’s needed most. Want to know how? We have examples!

If you face one or more of these challenges, it’s time to consider a messaging framework refresh. The updates might require a simple tweak, or they may need something more substantial. Let’s figure that out together, shall we?

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