Your company evolves. Should you evolve your message too?

Is your organization the same today as it was a few years ago? The answer is probably no.

All companies evolve over time. So it’s only natural that you should evolve your message too.

Whether you’ve added new features to your solutions and services, expanded to serve a new audience or market, or changed the way you do business, you most likely need to evolve your messaging and value propositions to reflect those changes.

That’s why I recommend revisiting your Message Map at least once a year. Look at it more often if your business changes more frequently. Most of my clients review their Message Maps 2 to 4 times a year.

Just as you did when you created your initial Message Map, gather the right stakeholders in the room for the updates. That way, you co-create buy-in from the beginning, and everyone is on board with the revised message.

As you evolve your message, beware of these 3 potential pitfalls:

  • Changing more than 30% of your Message Map at one time.
  • Not evolving messages that should evolve.
  • Changing the home, the essence, or the heart of your message.

Changing more than 30% of your Message Map? Be careful

Most company messages don’t evolve quickly. Even major events such as mergers and acquisitions usually don’t cause huge changes to your Message Map. Sure, you may add a section of new capabilities, but many things will remain the same, because the merger or acquisition was likely to be in line with current company strategy.

If you’re reviewing your Message Map regularly, and you find you’re changing more than 30% of what’s on your Map, it’s time to take a step back. The key word here is “changing.” If you’re adding things because you have new capabilities, that’s great.

But if you’re changing a large percentage of the map, ask yourself why so much has changed in such a short amount of time. Make sure all your key internal stakeholders agree with so much change in a short amount of time.

Avoid hanging on to messages that should evolve

While changing too much of your Message Map at one time can be harmful, so can refusing to evolve messages that are stale or no longer relevant.

For example, a lot of my clients had to evolve their messaging during the COVID-19 pandemic to reflect concern over staffing shortages. Those that did had a current message that resonated with people in trying times.

Make sure your Message Map addresses the current concerns of your target audience. You also want to evolve your message as your audience’s language evolves, ensuring you’re using the latest terminology for your industry. For example, many companies are now updating their Message Maps to ensure they include the term “generative AI.”

If you’re changing the essence of your message, take a good look at why

Your original Message Map should capture the heart of what’s in it for your customers –why you exist and the benefit to them.

So while you may make a lot of changes to the edges of your map, think more carefully about changes as you get the closer you get to your center. If the essence of your message changes, think about why it’s changing and how you’re going to communicate this change to your audiences.

Always test your evolved message with your target audience.

How do you know you’ve made the right amount of change? Test your message with these questions as well as with your target audiences.

Lastly, in addition to revisiting your Message Map, you also may need to revisit your buyer personas and value propositions.

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