Actionable messaging and competitive positioning describes the way a company, candidate or institution creates a preference in its market or target audience for its goods, services or ideas. It is the mandatory basis for a successful public relations and marketing program.

Done well, it has influence over a host of activities, ranging from naming and recruiting to fundraising. As a result, it is the best first step when creating a communications program.

By answering a set of five essential questions –
  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you do and what problem do you solve?
  3. Who are your competitors?
  4. What does the market expect?
  5. Who says so?
– the ability to position a company, candidate or initiative comes more clearly into view, as does the capacity to craft actionable messaging around it.
Meet the Expert

About John

  • 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


President • Credible Context
2009 — Present
  • Helps companies market their products, services, even themselves by tapping into the persuasive power of their own story
  • Clients include: Neustar, Signature BioScience, Sapient, Oracle, RKO General
Managing Director • Zeno Group
2003 — 2007
  • Communications Agency specializing in consumer marketing, corporate affairs, digital engagement for healthcare and technology companies 
General Manager • Fitzgerald Communications
1999 — 2003
  • San Francisco Bay Area-adjunct to a Boston-based, high technology oriented communications consultantcy.
General Manager • Fleishman-Hillard
1996 — 1999
  • San Francisco-based office of a global public relations agency based in St. Louis.
Deputy General Manager • Hill & Knowlton
1983 — 1996
  • GM of Washington, DC office
  • Senior Vice President, Gray & Co. acquired by Hill & Knowlton, 1986


Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
BA, Communications, 1974

Academic Awards

Gannett Journalism Scholarship


  • Board of Directors, International Association of Privacy Professionals (2002-2008). 
  • Board of Directors, TRUSTe (1997-2004). 
  • Board of Directors, Market Street Railway (2001-Present).

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