Today we live in the Content Shock era. The frequency, density and variety of marketing communications promoted today via every social, mobile and digital platforms is making your buyers squirm. In this era of mass information, technology companies should aim to differentiate their messages, not better their competition’s. The Message House is the ice breaker which opens doors to your target audiences’ consciousness.
The Message House is a key corporate storytelling document and process. It can be used to communicate to a variety of audiences, including employees, partners, prospects, customers and the press. Do it well, and one Message House can communicate with every audience.
You come across many Message Houses on a daily basis, more than you think you would. You watch the news and inevitably hear Donald Trump talk about “How to make America great again”. You surf Instagram to find a Guinness advert at beer o’clock to tell you, you are “Made of more”. Why does a beer think they can make you better? Better at what?
We have been lucky enough to help B2B technology companies build their Message Houses from scratch. From European start-ups who want to make a difference in a software world dominated by heavy American behemoths, to altering the strategic narrative for a company who builds and serves digital ads, with the aim of releasing the stranglehold Facebook and Google are placing on marketeers.
Based on the experience we have gained, we see three common themes pop up during the Message House construction process:
Find your long tail
If you think the Message House is going to solve today’s problems, you are already too late and a rival has probably done that already. The B2B technology industry evolves rapidly so Message House builders just need to be a step in front of the market. A question we normally ask is, “Will the House be relevant in 18 month’s time?”
Some organisations are too revenue-driven to focus on the bigger picture, others voice their objection based on the product not being available to solve the issue. Those Message House builders must rise above these concerns and highlight the most problematic long tail issues and their solutions.
Being different wins
- Did Donald Trump win the US Election because he had better hair? No.
- Did Donald Trump win the election because he had superior experience as a politician? No.
- Did Guinness build a globally recognisable brand which is further expanding in North America because it had better beer? No.
They won because they offered something different to the norm. Furthermore, they offered a clear explanation of what different means to their target audience. Corporate storytelling has to be different. Using other people’s language and terminology is copying and not leading.
KISS (not the band)
If your Message House is ten pages long, stop! If your five-year-old child cannot understand the document, stop! If you cannot link your market issues with how you can solve it, please quit your job!
The best stories are often the shortest. They stick in your buyers’ minds more. Defining the issues and their solutions simply goes a very long way.
It is time-intensive to build a robust Message House, some Houses take 15 revisions before being finalised, but it is a righteous struggle for many in the B2B technology industry. In a previous blog, we highlighted the changes the industry will be facing in the medium term so it is a smart time to review your message to see if it correlates to what issues your customers will face in the future. Most importantly, lead, not follow.
Do let us know what you think the most pertinent messages in the B2B technology industry will be in the next 18 months here.