key messages

Putting the Zip in Your Communications

A media audit is an excellent way to see whether your media coverage conveys your key messages — and whether your communications match up to your strategic objectives.

This simple form of research can yield invaluable insight into the effectiveness of your communications and how they can be improved.

It is common nowadays for organizations to conduct social media audits. Nothing wrong with that, but too often a social media audit misses surveying the broader impact of all communications, ensuring they reinforce, not confuse, your messaging.

A comprehensive media audit will examine both internal and external communications, talking to employees, customers, stakeholders and the media. What you learn from these focused conversations can be lined up against objectives such as key messages, target audiences and successful calls to action. Did you actually send the messages you intended? Did those messages reach your target audience via the tactics and channels you chose? Did employees, customers and stakeholders respond? Did the media find you believable?

Even highly successful communications programs can benefit from a media audit, which can illuminate ideas to freshen your message and leverage new channels. For example, an award-winning communications program designed as recently as three years may not have integrated Pinterest, Instagram or Cinemagram into its arsenal.

A practical value of media audits, which senior managers appreciate, is information that can be used to allocate always-scarce communications resources. You may discover it pays richer dividends to strengthen the content on your website and spend less time on Twitter. Or maybe your networking on LinkedIn can be expanded through more intensive blogging.

Creating Your Winning Online Video

A good video shoot can produce gems. Video is the ultimate visual asset. From online TV to YouTube videos, how-to videos to viral videos, people watch and share quality content. With new tools, it no longer takes a Hollywood director to make quality video.

CFM produces lots of videos for clients for websites, marketing PR campaigns and advocacy efforts. We invite you behind the curtain to view our video-making process.

Act One

After determining if video fits with your communication goals and strategy, we focus on three areas: key messages, brand personality and emotions.

Key messages are what you want to say to your audience. Effective videos are edited tightly, so we find ways to weave those messages into the scenes and images we capture on video.

Brand personality informs video style. Is your brand modern, traditional or elegant? Fun, energetic or reserved? This step sets the stage for our creative brief for the video project.

Emotions inspire action. Should the video be inspirational, humorous or hunger-inducing? Peaceful, calming and inviting? Video can convey emotion, but it takes planning and skill to capture it.

Act Two

Informed by your key messages, brand personality and desired emotions, our team curates inspiration. We gather video examples to show style, approach and tone.

We recommend a video screening that includes your creative team and CFM. We’ll explore likes and dislikes and have a brainstorming session.

Act Three

This is when the process goes from concept to reality. It’s time to dig in to the nitty-gritty and logistics.

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.”

A Queue for Communications Audits

In Justin Timberlake’s song, Losing My Way, he sings: "Can anybody out there hear me?" And while the song is not about public relations or marketing, the question is essential. Are your target audiences receiving your message in the way you intended? Is your media buy investment delivering a reasonable ROI? Do people remember your key messages?

There is a strategic process to help you answer these questions, evaluate your recent efforts and chart next steps with confidence. The process is called a communications audit, and CFM’s track record includes numerous communications audits in its 20+ year history.

The communications audit provides an opportunity for CFM communications specialists to objectively evaluate the effectiveness of your communications toolkit. After conducting a comprehensive study of your communications efforts, we provide our findings and recommendations for increased effectiveness and efficiency. From that point, we can work with your team to develop next steps.

While the audit process is tailored to each client, there are six key lines of inquiry we recommend for communications audits.

Does Your Brand Need to be On Social Media?

When we ask company officials and marketers why they are on social media, they often say they aren’t sure. Don’t waste time. Have a plan that integrates your social media into your overall brand strategy, connecting you with your loyal customers.

Here are tips to help assess your online strategy:

Step 1: Listen.

Start monitoring your company or brand on social media. Find out on which platforms you’re being discussed the most. Doing this is easy. By setting up a Google Alerts search, as well as Social Media Firehose. Assess the number and quality of the conversations. If you can facilitate positive relationships with your customers on these platforms, then you probably should be active on social media.

To Be Memorable, Be Remarkable

Important messages may not stick if not creatively delivered. It’s one thing to craft well-honed key messages. It is another to leave a lasting impression.

At this year’s Portland Communicators Conference, one of the workshops covered creativity in messaging. The presenter, Betsy Hanning of marketing communications agency AHA!, said that to communicate key messages effectively, we need to create something remarkable.