Messaging Document 101

13 Nov

This great post and this one are what have been referencing while creating my collateral for our Client Project for class.  I have no real idea what a Messaging Document is, and I am kind of making it up as I go along.  Here are some of my favorite quotes from the articles:

“A good messaging document is the go to place to understand the essence of what should be communicated about a product, service, brand or company that is written with a specific audience in mind.”

“You will also benefit from having consistent messaging across all of your communications−regardless of how many different writers produce the pieces.”

“When done right, everyone in the company should be singing from the same hymnal on who the company is, what they do, and most importantly how their clients/customers benefit from using them.”

“[A messaging] document…guides everything you do from a marketing perspective, and serve as the platform for all of your messaging.  Everything you do moving forward will be anchored to this, so you want to make sure you take the proper approach.”

But what content should a great messaging document have?  Here’s a list I’ve brainstormed:

-Mission statement

-Vision statement

-Key clients / key publics

-Elevator pitch



What else would you add to a Messaging Document?  Am I overlooking anything? 





Killing it.

28 Oct

I was reading through some really great blogs recently when I came across this one about Twitter.  I’ve been meaning to write a post about all this “professional Twitter” stuff but haven’t gotten around to it.  I’m going to try and formulate my thoughts here in one coherent post.  

I am the Twitter generation

It is my generation that has catapulted Twitter into the limelight over the past few years.  It is my generation that started live-Tweeting, RTing and DM-ing like nobodies business.  It is my generation that actually created and developed Twitter.  The strange / sad reality is that the generation that raised us- our Aunts and Mothers and Fathers- who are working in the “real world” currently are what will kill Twitter.  Mark my words.

If there is one thing my generation doesn’t like, it’s being bombarded with advertisements and promotions.  We don’t want to be marketed to.  We have DVR and subscriptions to NetFlix just to avoid commercials.  As a generation we’ve gone from sporting Hollister and Abercrombie graphic shirts (walking billboards!) to opting for neutral, natural clothes with little to no branding on them. 

You just don’t get it

One of my favorite sayings is “thinking outside the box assumes there is a box.”  This is SO true, and I apply it to my life in many ways.  The problem is that instead of thinking forward and trying to find what the future of marketing / advertising is, advertisers flock to the social media where we already are and guess what happens?  We leave.

It hasn’t happened yet, but advertisements were what killed MySpace.  We were sick of being marketed to and there was this (relatively) new and exciting thing called Facebook that New York based advertising big wigs hadn’t latched onto yet.  We escaped for a more serene space.

We did it with Twitter, too.  Advertisements got creepy and now we’ve branched to Twitter, and although we’re still strung together by the idea of seeing friends and family members updates, we use Twitter for the fast paced social media outlet that goes along with our lives.  It’s what we’re drawn to.

So why?

Well, we’re already there.  We have Twitter accounts and you can now promote your Tweets, just proving that whatever amount of money you have can buy you some time on my computer screen.  But I don’t like it.  I don’t want it.

I’ve added these professional networking connections to my Twitter family specifically for class, but I firmly believe that the “professional” crowd are discounting Twitter.  It is not the board room of a fortune 500 company, it’s supposed to be like sitting around your best friends living room drinking a beer.  No one gets it.


The takeaway: Twitter and Facebook will be killed by advertisements (and old people) if we’re not very, very careful.  We don’t want it and we won’t put up with it.  As a generation we’re already looking for our next outlet. 


PS- Not everyone agrees with me.

Where do you keep your to-do list?

26 Oct


I tend to keep my to-do lists in some very strange places.  Recently my evening to-do list was stuck to my favorite black-and-white polka dot coffee cup.  The reason?  Each time I picked it up to take a sip of steaming hot cocoa I was reminded that I should actually be working on conquering my list.  This tactic did actually help since I knocked everything off of the list before bed.

Also seen here are some of my favorite things:

-a small black elephant I bought from Target with a dear friend ages ago

-gumballs leftover from my Mom’s birthday celebration

-the new Taylor Swift album my friend Taylor burnt for me (SO good!)

-my GRE study supplement (which has been barely used)


I believe that all spaces should be filled with things you love.  If it’s not practical or it’s not something you love then it has no room in your life.  I use this philosophy when pairing down things I own and donating.  Those pants that don’t fit just right?  Gone.  That sweater that sags a little when I wear it? Gone.

I only have room in my life for the things (and people) I love the most.  The rest of it will have to find somewhere else to be.


A post on postings

19 Oct


I’m part of the real world now, friends.  I’ve started applying for jobs.  Yes, it has happened.  I’ve been to career fairs and Graduate school expos, interviewing professional connections to get some insight into the industry and much, much more.  It’s a delicate balancing act of working on school work, RA stuff, studying for the GRE and applying for jobs.  I’ve dropped the ball a few times, but I’m starting to get better.

I’m really interested in working for a company who creates a “lifestyle brand” and fill a niche in a market, and this company has a really great opening on their ‘Careers’ page:

Gifted with extraordinary attention to detail and a creative knack, the people who make up BRAND — our store associates, designers, merchandisers, art directors and production teams — truly love what they do.

At our home office, there are battleships, historic buildings and groundbreaking modern architectural design. There is open space, lots of trees and one big river. There are bicycles. There are dogs — at our desks, in the grass, at our feet. There is color, texture and limitless personal style. (Meaning, we wear what we like.)

In our stores, there are beautiful, ever-changing vignettes and surprises hiding in every corner. There are spoons and skirts and sofas. There are award-winning window and product displays. There are passionate and devoted customers. There are plants, parties and personal shoppers.

But most importantly, at our office and in our stores, there are people. The most creative, inspiring, dedicated people you’ll ever meet. Care to join them?

What brand do you think this (lovely) introduction is for?  I’m curious to see if anyone can guess it.  Let me know your guess in a comment below.

I’ll be applying for this position soon, and I’m loving the way they word the requirements:

Communications Responsibilities:

  • Support, and develop all internal and external communication strategies for BRAND stores.
  • Act as BRAND primary point-of-contact to support daily operations needs for stores.
  • Anticipate and plan for communication needs and find creative, timely and quality solutions to meet needs.
  • Plan, coordinate, execute and edit store and district communication materials.
  • Manage store workload and calendar to ensure deadlines are met and projects are completed in a timely manner..
  • Field questions concerning policies and procedures on a day-to-day basis.

Store Operations Responsibilities:

  • Interact and partner with Home Office Departments to contribute to store-related projects.
  • Partner with Product Information team to develop incentive contests and manage reward distributions.
  • Identify challenges and opportunities in current processes in an effort to improve via communication/future initiatives.

Employee Relations Responsibilities:

  • Provide guidance in the handling of performance management issues to ensure that requirements are met.
  • Act as a non-biased representative for fielding comments, concerns and anonymous complaints
  • Liaison with the company’s Employment & Benefits department to provide support to store management

Customer Service Responsibilities:

  • Serve as a point person for the Ecommerce Operations team to handle escalated customer service communication.
  • Act as a liaison between District Management and General Counsel for all stores General Liability issues.
  • Work with the field and Home Office partners on customer service initiatives and customer service survey

You can see how they’re getting the point across, but the language used here is really positive and upbeat.  It sounds like a company I want to work for.  I know my peers have come across these same type of job postings and some that are not so outstanding.

The big takeaway: I want to work for a company who does their work in recruiting the best people possible.  A job posting like this gives me a glimpse into the corporate culture of the organization, and I can tell I would be respected, nurtured and appreciated if I worked with this company.

10 items that make a good Crisis Communication plan

14 Oct


In my search through Crisis Communication blogs I must thank Melissa Agnes for her user-friendly blog that has linked me to so many other wonderful Crisis blogs and professionals.  This post is a summary of a post I read on recently and wanted to share with my colleagues and peers.
Oftentimes the idea of a Crisis Communication plan is a little daunting, unless you hire some outside consultant it’s hard for the general public (even someone who’s familiar with the organization) to delve into the deep end of Crisis planning.  I think that by nature we try to avoid the idea of Crisis at all costs- in planning for it the superstitious amongst us may think it will then happen.  This 10 item list is the bare bones of what makes a good Crisis Communication plan for any business, company or organization:

  1. Current SWOT or risk analysis
  2. General organizational communications crisis plan. Social media is only one part of your communications plan. Be sure you have a general strategy document that covers all communication channels, online and offline. This document houses your main message points.
  3. Current staff and organizational flow chart that shows chain of command in a crisis.
  4. Key stakeholder groups prioritized and segmented for content. Who will you communicate with, what will you share, in what order, and when?
  5. Command center logistics/operations for onsite and offsite.
  6. Designated on-site and off-site spokespeople for communications and operations. Include a media training component.
  7. Social media policy that includes triage response. We will delve into the specifics of this component in the next post.
  8. Guidelines and schedules for training, table top exercises, and post-crisis evaluation.
  9. Inventory of all communication channels and how they will be used including signage, website, internal communications, and any other touch points the organization has including social media channels. This sections may include “holding messages” for different channels.
  10. Appendix of all forms, logs, and templates.

Really a Crisis Communication plan is about organizing all of the important information into one place so it is easily accessible.  The plan needs to be organized in a functional user-friendly way so everyone from an Administrative Assistant to the CEO knows what procedure is next.
Do you think there is anything missing from this Crisis Communication list?

Coke is “Flawsome”

4 Oct


This quick video is a great glimpse into the higher level masterminds behind Coca-Cola. It’s rare to get this sort of glimpse into the industry.  I’m not entirely sold on the phrase “flawsome”, but I like the idea of having authentic interactions with people on social media.

…someone will be wearing the stupid hat today.

29 Sep

Recently I was delving through some of the posts on that my professional connections post on Twitter, I’ve starting following many Crisis Communication professionals and experts, and I have learned SO much.  I am heavily interested in the field, so I’ve decided that this blog will focus mostly on crisis communication.  I came across this great article and wanted to share it with my personal network.

The idea is simple: we messed up, we’re really sorry, here’s what we’re doing to fix it.  You can follow the link to read the entire post, but the previous sentence essentially sums up the email that went out to Pingdom’s clients.  What I really love about the message is the tone of it.  It’s hard to get a casual-yet-professional tone across in an email.  I struggle with that on almost a daily basis, I have been on the receiving end of some not so professional emails that made me cringe, and I’ve been the sender of an overly professional email.  It’s all in the balance, word choice and the writers ability to craft the message.

These two sentences are extremely powerful at expressing the companies sincerity:

“Even if the issue affected monitoring for less than 90 minutes for a limited number of customers, it’s of course frustrating if you were one of them. We take a lot of pride in delivering a reliable service and this doesn’t represent what Pingdom stands for.”

After this they go on to list the three effects the shut down may have had on their clients:

“After a thorough investigation we’ve already initiated actions to minimize the effect this may have had, including:”

I’ll echo the words of my friends from Bernstein Crisis: major kudos to the Pingdom team.