Crafting your message – what it is you want to be known for – takes a lot of work. Both internally and externally.
Internally, because self-awareness grows when you create the space and time for introspection; externally, because your message doesn’t spread unless you invest energy and resources to share and communicate it.
Given all you do to craft, manage, evolve and sell your message, shouldn’t you do everything possible to protect it, too?
I sure think so!
Much like you do quarterly financial reviews and check-ins (I hope), it might behoove you to do the same regarding your message. Not from the perspective of changing it. Rather, as a way of making sure it continues to connect with those you want to serve and is creating the impact and the results you want.
Part of that review should, in my opinion, include a litmus test designed to ensure you are protecting your message, and not inadvertently diminishing its reach or impact.
Because like a lot of things in life, none of this is one-and-done. Your message demands your ongoing and focused intention and engagement.
An 8-Point Litmus Test
In the first piece of this series, I shared how your message is one of your greatest assets; last week, I focused on your secret weapon when it comes to selling it; in this, the last piece in the series, I want to share eight (8) ways you can protect your message.
Listed in no particular order is how I suggest you go about doing that:
I. (Re)confirm there is consistency
Review your social media channels, sales decks, pitch emails, follow-up emails, presentation decks and blog/newsletter content to make certain you are consistent across the board.
And if you outsource any of these activities, make sure they – be they employees, contractors or agencies – understand not just your brand/message, but as importantly your why.
In other words, make sure how you are communicating your message is hitting the mark in terms of the key impressions you want conveyed and the takeaways you want to inspire.
II. Take a pulse check
You want your message to spread and have more impact. This could look like more people in your company knowing about you, your body of work and the results you produce. Or, it could like your company expanding into a new market.
As you receive more exposure, it becomes evermore important to double-down on who you are and what you stand for…as well as who you are not!
Because the increased exposure will not only bring with it new fans, but also naysayers and challengers. So, doing a pulse check serves to fortify you and your message.
While the fundamentals of your message may not change, you will likely need to evolve how you communicate the messaging of it. Especially, if the “market” for it changes.
Keep the message, but be open to adapting the method of how you spread it.
IV. Create guardrails
Having said the above (#3), there may actually come a time when what it is you want to be known for changes. And this could be for any number of reasons. If this happens, then create a solid communication plan that explains the why behind the change, how your current fans will be impacted, and what they can expect next.
Don’t assume they’ll “get” why you’re making a switch and that, with it, you can still help them with their problems, challenges and tasks.
Either invite them to join you and continue the journey with you, if appropriate. Or, redirect them elsewhere. Because even if you’re no longer the “person” for them, they can still be a raving fan!
V. Get trademarks/registrations
Of course not every message can be trademarked or copyrighted. But if yours can, do it!
VI. Beware of off-message partnerships
There is a saying, “not all money is good money.” The same sentiment can be said for partnerships. Whether that takes the shape of teaming up with another person or another company.
Especially as your recognition grows, take the time to dive deeper and make sure collaborations (potential or existing) really, really make sense. If the partnership isn’t (or is no longer) congruent or creates any degree of confusion for those you serve, you might create a trust gap. Rebuilding trust can sometimes be harder than the time it took to build trust in the first place.
VII. Set up a Google alert
Set up a Google alert on your name and/or company. This way any time either is mentioned online, you’ll get a notification.
VIII. Make self-promotion your friend
No, not in an obnoxious way. More in the vain of being a strategic brand ambassador and communications leader.
As odd as it may sound, when you promote your message, this represents a way of binding your message and the story surrounding it to you in a way even your best fans cannot.
If you really embraced…
I am pretty certain everyone reading this wants to be known for something. Your body of work to date is proof thereof.
However, I bet not everyone reading this truly appreciates the power and impact of their message. I mean, really: how often do you give yourself permission to acknowledge the good you have done, are doing, and will do?!
How often do you acknowledge the degree to which you and your message serve as agents of change?
When you do your quarterly review, reference the above as a checklist. (And add to it as you come across different suggestions.) This way, you can identify opportunities to get ahead of most challenges and potential crises – either having to do with you and your message specifically or tangentially with your industry.
Plus, it can highlight where minor tweaks may be beneficial.
In the end, protecting your greatest asset is all about staying in the driver’s seat of your business identity. It is how you ensure you don’t dilute your message and/or impede your desire to be heard, seen, valued and acknowledged. Or, hinder your financial success.
It is how you maintain control over your message, which is your unique brand. Otherwise known as the thing that only you can do!