1. Conversations about messaging are really about strategy.
You have to make clear choices about who your audience is, what the future you’re promising them looks like, and how you’ll credibly make it come true. As Ben Horowitz says, “The company story is the company strategy.”
2. The hardest thing about messaging is leaving things out.
Leaders need to come to terms with de-prioritizing parts of their story — sometimes parts that they love — in service of becoming more effective.
3. Strategic messaging matters for recruiting.
Strategic messaging is about telling more effective stories to customers, investors, and potential new hires.
4. Differentiation can become a distraction.
Prospects have to understand what you do before they’re ready to learn how you do it differently. One of my clients, not wanting to seem like all the other companies that do X, didn’t even mention X on its home page.
(1) “The hardest thing about messaging is leaving things out.” This parallels the key job of the CEO — to say “no” to good ideas.
(2) “Strategic messaging is about telling more effective stories to customers, investors, and potential new hires.” Add: “and your current employees”.
(3) Cf. Clarifying your strategy using a simple template.