Key Messages in a Bottle

CFM helps the electrician’s union hoist its centennial celebration key messages by putting them on the side of a special-label bottle of beer.You can find wisdom in a lot of places, but usually not on a beer bottle. However, for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 48, Old Voltage Meter is a perfectly appropriate place to look for secrets to the union's century of success.

This month Old Voltage Meter Ale rolls out to Local 48 members. The bottle carries a message that reminds union members of Local 48’s accomplishments.

“Brothers and Sisters:

Savor the taste of 100 years of history making. Since 1913, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 48 has:

  • Achieved many advancements within the electrical industry;
  • Won respect as a national model for labor-management relations;
  • Gained national recognition for innovation and leadership; and
  • Played a key role in making regional growth possible.

The foundation of a prosperous Northwest is built on the labors of Local 48’s members as they’ve led the industry through the dark days of two world wars and on to meeting today’s technology challenges and opportunities for the 21St Century.”

Identifying messages

Creating a key message vehicle often is a forgotten step. It should be one of the first tasks undertaken when starting a major project. An effective vehicle is essential for success whether writing an advocacy piece or annual report, pitching ideas or a product.

Key messages are boiled down from talking points. The words may be inspirational expressions or statements of fact. All subsequent written pieces should flow from this founding statement. Your fact sheet, news release or blog don’t need to repeat the messages verbatim, but they should capture the spirit of the key messages.

CFM provides message management as a central element of either marketing PR or public affairs. Where do we find the best messages? Some steps include:

  • Literature review: Start by reviewing existing documents and identify common themes that are repeated through your project or organization’s literature. Can these themes be distilled into a succinct and fresh expression?
  • Group discussion: Consider gathering the project team for a quick brainstorm. What is the consensus about the best messages?
  • Research: Or use more formal research tools such as a survey or focus group to understand what messages resonate with key audiences.
  • Reputation review: How do you want to be known? In some cases it will be important to determine what core values and characteristics are desired in describing your organization.

Creative application

We don’t need to list all the standard tools used to deliver your messages. But we suggest adding a dash of creativity to make lasting impressions. This is where beer comes into our story.

CFM recently started communications work for the International Association of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 48. The labor organization wanted to find a memorable way to excite its members about the union’s 100th anniversary in 2013. With the summer picnic coming up, CFM suggested using a gift item of a special-label beer to spread the centennial message.

Key messages may be found printed on the side of each 22-ounce bottle. The keepsake brew proclaims the role played by Local 48 during its almost 100 years, in which the voltmeter was an essential tool for an electrician.

Drink up those messages.

Link: Old Voltage Meter