One of the first questions that always comes up in EVERY messaging project I am part of is, “well who should be on the team”. This may seem obvious, but the make-up of the team may be the number one determinate of the success of the project. So before we blurt out an answer, let’s look at three of the factors that determine a messaging projects success and their implications on the selection and make up of your messaging team.
Success Factor 1 – The quality of the output. Messaging projects have MANY possible outcomes, and there is no single answer to any project. The quality of the output is dependent first and foremost on the quality of the input. Other factors such as framework and process can also have an impact on output quality, but without the right inputs, the best models and processes still lead to poor outcomes.
Team Implications: It is critical that messaging teams include those with the most customer and market insight.
Success Factor 2 – Implementation. At the end of your messaging project, you’ll be left with artifacts such as stories and key messaging frameworks. BUT the success of the project depends on taking those artifacts creating deliverables that are both internal and external facing. From website content to sales enablement to corp comms to trade show booths, all the way to customer experience, messaging works when it is used consistently and ferociously across all.
Team Implications : Include key implementers across the organization. If the implementation team is not bought in to the message, the delivery will be inconsistent and lackluster.
Success Factor 3 – Alignment and Adoption. It’s not just implementation in materials and programs that matter, it is widespread alignment behind and adoption of the message and it’s delivery in the thousands of small ways that happen in every customer interaction from sales to support to customer success. One of the biggest failures of messaging project is lack of adoption by a major function, be it sales, product or customer success.
Team Implication : When alignment and adoption fail, messaging flounders and is not impactful. To ensure success of your messaging project, Everyone from senior management to first line managers to key influencers must get behind the message to drive organizational alignment and adoption.
In summary, three team related factors drive messaging project success or failure, Output Quality, Implementation and Alignment and Adoption. Without the right team, any of these can take to best project and turn it to failure. Given that, it may seem that the entire company should be on the project team, everyone is part of success. But there still must be a core project team. In part 2, we will look at how to structure this team to maximize quality of the output, the strength of the implementation and the assurance of successful alignment and adoption.