Uncover & Share Your Story: The value of a key message workshop

Written by Jamie Boelens on Monday, October 16th, 2017

I met with Paige recently to discuss our social media marketing approach. I asked questions like how do we want to portray our brand? How often should we post? What kind of content should we post? And so on. The answer to many of these questions boiled down to who MPD Ventures is and how to best go about portraying that essence to our audience.

While I’m sure Paige could have spent quite a bit of time describing to me the company that she’s built over the past 16 years, she steered me toward our key message briefing book for the answers.

A key message workshop is a service we provide for our clients at the beginning of our work with them to define and build their brands. Members from our team facilitate a client team brainstorm to identify core values, goals, purpose, etc., in addition to learning about client examples and even competitors. We help them build the message and then craft it into a compelling set of scenes, stories, and examples.

Not only is a key message workshop an opportunity for our team to learn how to better serve clients, but clients often answer questions that they haven’t considered since their founding (or ever). The workshop creates a structured environment for clients to really dig into their brand, goals, and purpose, and decide what kinds of messages they want to send to their target audience. I wasn’t an MPD gal when the team conducted our own workshop, but even reviewing the notes provided me with more information about MPD and why key messages are important…and how, if you get it right, those key messages—that foundation—can withstand the test of time.

Know Who You Are

From evaluating strengths and weaknesses to considering what they’d like to be famous for, key message workshops help clients remember who they are, where they came from, and where they want to go. We ask questions like:

  • What is your reason for being?
  • What do you want customers/clients/prospects to think about you?
  • What is your vision for the company?

Evaluating who you are in a key message workshop also provides the opportunity for key stakeholders to ensure their goals and ideas for the company align with one another. If everyone has a different vision or perspective, how will you uniformly portray your brand? Key message workshops help prevent a branding and messaging identity crisis among stakeholders by putting everyone on the same page.

Competitive Curve

While key message workshops are all about clients, we also want to know who their top competitors are and what they espouse to give our clients a competitive marketing curve. Extensive research on competitors is conducted to learn ways in which we can help clients stand out. We work with clients to identify competitors and analyze their mission, services, website, personality, culture, social footprint, and more.

Brand and Project Foundation

Key message workshops also provide a solid foundation on which to build future projects. Our clients and team are equipped to collaborate on creating messages and designs based on the thorough understanding gained from the workshop. With this as the first step, we can skip the “Is this in-brand?” debates that would occur later.

After observing a key message workshop and reviewing our own notes, I would describe these sessions as fascinating and inspiring. It is almost as though you are traveling back in time and seeing what happened at the company’s inception when these elements were being discussed. There is also something very special about listening to clients share their passions and vision. During a key message workshop, the enthusiasm clients have for what they do becomes apparent, even contagious.

In fact, through reading our own key message briefing book, I learned about MPD’s approach to marketing that has given me a greater appreciation of the work I do: It’s not a profession; it’s an art. It’s not a project; it’s an opportunity. And they’re not clients; they’re part of the MPD family. I was reminded of our high standards for ourselves and high expectations for where we can take our clients.

We believe that our job as marketers is not to make your story, but to help you tell the one you already have. And it all starts with our key message workshop.

If you’re interested in conducting a key message workshop for your organization, please contact us.

About Jamie Boelens

Jamie Boelens is a Marketing Coordinator with MPD Ventures Company. She supports clients with social media management, content writing, and website management.