Marketing & Communications Centre > Marketing Essentials > Help Sheets > Keeping the Message Consistent

Keeping the Message Consistent

When working to market your community group - in good times or not so good - it is important that the messages coming from it remain focussed and have a level of consistency.
This type of consistency becomes even more important if there is more than one person in your organisation who is going to be speaking to the media, or speaking publicly on behalf of your group.

It can be achieved through a number of relatively simple methods, and a little bit of work and discussion amongst your group.

So why is keeping your messages consistent so important, and how can your organisation make sure that consistent messages are coming from its spokespeople.

Why is it Important to Keep Your Messages Consistent?

Keeping your message consistent has a number of benefits both short and long-term.

Clarity and repetition

The first and possibly most important is that consistency makes your group's aims, activities and philosophy clear to everyone - be they inside or outside your organisation.

Not only that, but being able to communicate with some consistency what your group does and what it strives for results in further clarity; through the repetition of this consistent message.

Ultimately, the key words and phrases, repeated often enough, will stick in people's minds and become associated with your organisation.

"Brand Recognition"

Like a slogan or catchphrase, a consistency in the messages you put out into the public arena will lead to better recognition for your group.

If the messages your group sends out to the public are consistent across a period of time, then those messages are the ones that will stick in the public's mind the longest.

For example - if you are an environmental group with a key organisational message along the lines of "greening the western edge of town" - and you use this key message in your media releases, interviews and dealings with the public - it will come to be automatically associated with your group.

You can almost hear members of the public thinking to themselves when your group's name is mentioned - "That environmental group, isn't it the one that's working out at the western edge of town?"

Good and Bad Publicity

Being able to keep your group's messages consistent when your group has something positive to shout about, information to convey, or something negative to work through, is important in achieving your end goal.

If you have something to shout about, doing so by emphasising consistently-used words, themes and phrases will help get that message across. Similarly, if conveying important information, consistency and clarity are again important in making sure the information is conveyed in an easy-to-understand way.

Staying "on message" might be even more important if your group is working through a challenging situation or potentially damaging problem.

In this case, making sure there are no contradictory messages coming from your group and its spokespeople is vital in ensuring your group look like it is handling the problem in a professional and competent way.

How to Keep the Message Consistent?

Agree on what is to be said - key themes in particular

Firstly, and most importantly, your organisation needs to agree on what it is going to say.

If your organisation only has one person responsible for communicating publicly, the job becomes a little easier. However it is important that other members of your organisation don't then speak out of turn or contradict your appointed spokesperson.

If you have more than one person who is responsible for speaking publicly on behalf of your organisation, then it is a good idea for all of them to be "on the same page" - and that the messages they convey to the public are consistent.

There are few things more likely to damage your organisation, spoil a positive publicity opportunity or make it look foolish as key members contradicting each other.

Work as a group (if there is more than one media spokesperson) to define these messages

To prevent this type of confusion and contradiction, it is important those that are responsible for conveying those messages publicly work together to define the key messages and themes.

A simple brainstorming session, or discussion about these key themes, is usually enough to define them and help develop some consistency to what members of your organisation are going to say - either to the media, or to people inside or outside your organisation.

Simply put, it is no use trying to "stay on message" when the message you are trying to stick to hasn't been properly defined.
Think about writing down key phrases/words to use if fronting the media or putting together a media release
Sometimes, especially in a situation where your organisation might be in the media spotlight or under pressure from journalists, it may be a good idea to have a series of key phrases and words that you can return to and relate back to.

Again, this requires planning and teamwork among senior organisation members and those in the group charged with working with the media.

One way of doing this is to write down a few of these key phrases, messages or points of information and either:
  • Incorporate them into any interviews or discussions you have with the media, or.
  • Work them into the press release your group is preparing to distribute.
When doing this, it is important to remember to not sound too robotic or over-prepared - statements need to be smoothly wound into your media releases or interviews.

More advice on knowing your messages and then developing them can be found in a number of help sheets at the Media & Marketing Centre.

Those help sheets include:

The information contained on this site is subject to change. Our Community will not be liable for any loss or damage whatsoever coming from reliance placed on all or part of its contents.