Crafting key messages to tell your brand’s story


Amanda Haines Lazeski

The more people hear something, the greater resonance it has. Speechwriters often say, “tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them and then tell them what you’ve just told them.” This holds true in the public relations industry, especially when utilizing key messages.

What are key messages? 

Key messages are the foundation of any brand’s communication strategy. They focus on important core concepts that educate, advocate, promote or explain your brand. You will not always be able to control what is publicly said about your brand, but you do have the ability to develop relevant and compelling key messages to tell your story, and ultimately, create connections with media, consumers, and other stakeholders. An effective key messaging strategy will resonate with your target audience, often resulting in earned media coverage that reiterates your messages, and shared social media posts that spread your story.

Client Famoso Neapolitan Pizzeria launched a new menu campaign earlier in 2019, which included a partnership with Mealshare. For a limited time customers were able to purchase a jar of Famoso’s family-kept Authentico Pomodoro Sauce with proceeds going towards Mealshare, providing a meal to Canadian youth in need. A key message developed for this campaign revolved around the charity component, how by purchasing this sauce customers are helping end hunger. This was reiterated in all communications efforts including social media copy, influencer partnerships and media relations.

Why are key messages important?

Having key messages as a solid foundation creates consistency, helping to stay on track in communicating the right things to the right people. It is important that the same messages are shared across the different areas of communications, from traditional media relations to less formal social media copy. Being clear and consistent by utilizing key messaging creates credibility with outside sources, such as media or consumers. They are a resource to refer back to when faced with questions and are a guiding structure when formulating responses.

How to craft the right key messages

Before starting to craft key messages, the essential first step is identifying your audience. Key messages are crafted with language and vocabulary that resonate with the group in mind. For example, targeting teenagers requires different language than targeting an older generation. 

Using the acronym CAPS is particularly useful when writing key messages. CAPS stands for: 

  • Concise and credible: avoid jargon and acronyms. Use examples, stats and facts to back up the message. 
  • Active: write in an active voice. 
  • Positive: tell what one can do, not what they cannot. 
  • Short and specific: write in one memorable sentence of less than 25 words. When spoken, a soundbite of 10-15 seconds. 

Key messaging is a critical part of a comprehensive and well-rounded PR strategy. Contact us to learn more about how we can design a modern public relations strategy for your brand, and train your team on how to deliver your key messages flawlessly.

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