Reprinted from TrustedPeer
Meet the Expert
President, Credible Context
- President, Credible Context consultancy
- Board Member, International Association of Privacy Professionals
- Board Member, TRUSTe
- General Manager, Fitzgerald Communications
- General Manager, Fleishman-Hillard
- Deputy General Manager, Hill & Knowlton
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Actionable Messaging and Competitive Positioning
President, Credible Context
Risks & Opportunities
RisksWhen a company poorly executes on its actionable messaging and competitive positioning, it runs the risk of:
- Drawing unwanted attention. Done poorly, your messaging can draw public or government scrutiny that might not otherwise have come your way.
- Opening old wounds. It's possible that a communications program could expose criticisms from industry groups or former executives, or consumer complaints that had been dealt with and relegated to the dustbin of history. Yet they're brought back to the surface because of something you have just now said or done.
- Inconsistent commitment: Poor execution and poor planning can lead to inconsistent commitment. A company may proclaim to be committed, for example, to maintaining a green profile and to sustainability, but its employees may have another take on the matter because they know from the inside that this is not true. When your commitment is inconsistent, this opens you up to further criticism, both internal and external.
- Organizational stress: This occurs in companies for numerous reasons. You might be deploying a new technology, adding to your employees' workload, hiring new employees who need to be trained, restructuring or opening a new site. All of these things create organizational stress, as do communications. The idea is to understand the nature of these stresses so that you can build in insurance against them.
OpportunitiesWhen a company focuses on strong execution and is skillful in ensuring effective actionable messaging and competitive positioning, it has opportunities to reinforce and enhance:
- Customer clarity: Translated, this means that your target audience, the people you want to purchase your products and services, understand who you are, what your offer is, and the value it delivers. It also means that these people have the right information at all times to exercise intelligent judgement as to whether to purchase your products or not.
- Market momentum: If your communications are clear and compelling, you can convince your public to test your offer. Testing leads to purchasing, which means you can create a strong momentum of positive word-of-mouth around your offer.
- Employee morale: Employees like working in places that other people like, that have a good reputation, that walk the walk and talk the talk, that contribute positively to the community, and that are perceived as fair, economically stable and innovative. All of this messaging is crafted through communications, and if done well, employees will feel better about where they work and their morale will improve.
- Competitive differentiation: This is often confusing for consumers who struggle to see the difference between one product or another, or one provider or another. If you can differentiate your offer from that of your competitors in a way that promotes customer clarity, then you stand apart and simultaneously gain momentum, strengthen your customer base and increase your competitive edge.
Actionable Messaging and Competitive Positioning: Risks & Opportunities