POSITIONING AND MESSAGING 101: PART 2

Tech PR Strategy Tutorial

Coming up with the right messages

Once you’ve arrived at a great position, it’s important to describe it properly. Good messages should describe the position accurately, completely, and concisely, and they should do so in such a way that they generate interest and even excitement in the recipient. Here are some suggestions:

Refer to the problem. It’s amazing how many technical product press releases simply start out with a laundry list of features without making even the slightest effort to address the “Who cares?” problem. Whenever you describe a product, you should put the description in the context of the problem it’s trying to solve, and explain why the solution is better. It’s easy to see which of the two following lead sentences does a better job:

“Company Today Announced 3GPP LTE Collaboration with ETSI, ARIB/TTC, CCSA, ATIS and TTA to Allow Applicable 3G Mobile Phone System Specifications to Operate Within the Scope of ITU’s IMT-2000 project including WiMax and WiBro.”

“Company Paves the Way to 4G; Introduces State-of-the-art Mobile Communication Technologies Enabling Subscribers to Transfer Larger Amounts of Data at Greater Speeds Across Global Networks.”

Tailor the message to the recipient. You should have a different way of explaining your position to a customer than you would to a partner or financial backer because each looks at the problem from a different point of view. Whenever possible, use the language the constituent speaks. For example, if you’re describing a networking product, you’ll probably want to talk technical features to a network manager while talking about solving business problems to the CIO and C-Level team. “Programmability” in IT parlance might become “flexibility and ROI” for the executive team.   IN short, limit the language and the scope of the message to the needs of the person receiving it.  Save the technical details for the geeks and don’t spend a lot of time on fluffy benefit statements if you’re writing for design engineers.

Be clear, not fancy. I wish I had a nickel for every time I saw words like “paradigm,” “next-generation,” “utilize,” “disruptive” and “world-class” in technology product announcements. The purpose of language is to convey meaning. Fancy words often impede that purpose. Steer clear of vague, hackneyed words or phrases like this whenever possible. They don’t really do a better job of describing something than other perfectly good words like “model,” “advanced,” “use” and “outstanding.” If your product has specific advantages, then say so—don’t hide behind general terms that could apply to half a dozen other products.

Be consistent. Once you’ve come up with good messages, stick with them.  Don’t join the “message du jour” club.   If you’ve done your job right, the messages you come up with should last a long time.  You’ll need to consistently replay your messages to build a solid position.

Ultimately, building and maintaining a strong position means executing on your business plan. But if you have put enough thought into the position you want to occupy and how you’ll describe your company, products, or services, you’ll have a clear goal in mind and a good way to explain it to the audiences that matter.

 

This is part 2 in a 2-part series about the positioning and messaging strategies that we use for our clients at Gallagher PR. We are a full service Silicon Valley/San Francisco Bay Area tech PR agency serving companies in the high tech and green tech arenas. 

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