Unfortunately, the research component, which is arguably the most significant, is often omitted when developing a message.  And it’s understandable.  This portion of the process takes time, commitment at multiple levels, and sometimes dollars — difficult things to find for most of us.  But, turning the magnifying glass inward and taking a hard and realistic look at how your business is viewed by internal and external audiences, what elevates it above its rivals, and where there are opportunities for improvement is essential.

So, why is it important?

Like the saying goes, “to know where you’re going, you must know where you’ve been.”  Discovering who you really are, to your internal team and external audience, is enlightening, and many times different than you expect.  This discovery builds the foundation of your message and gives us a true understanding of key points to hit.  That way, you can be honest with your target audience about why they should choose your company over others who offer the same products or services.  Because there’s no other sure-fire way to lose a customer — and probably all of their friends and anyone else who will listen to social media rants — than to be intentionally or unintentionally dishonest.

Once you understand and develop your message, it’s time to create consistency and repetition.  Consistency in messaging will amplify trust among your audience.  In addition, research indicates that consumers will remember your message only after hearing it about seven times.  (A good rule of thumb is when you are sick and tired of hearing your message, your audience is probably just tuning in.)

In the long-run, the time and resources you put into the initial research and discovery phase will be well worth it.  Inevitably, you will gain an honest, applicable and effective message that, over time, will save you time and money and make you more successful.