Creating a comprehensive and effective messaging strategy can take a lot of time and resources–whether you’re working with an agency like us or planning to build your own. And, let’s face it, the world doesn’t stop turning just because you don’t have one yet. Unless you’re in the position to build out your strategy before your campaign, startup, or rebrand is launched, messaging still needs to be created, leads still need to be converted. This is often true even while you’re actively creating that strategy. So, what do you do?
On one hand, you can wing it. Just make assumptions, follow your gut, and develop communications without an organized plan. Even if you have your story in a decent place, the lack of documentation and formalization will inevitably lead to inconsistencies in your messaging. It’s like trying to create designs, in-house, without brand guidelines. Even if you have a great design team, there’s nothing keeping them coloring outside the lines. The same can be said for messaging.
In reality, nothing can beat a clear and thorough strategy for communications. But, as an alternative, we’ve co-opted a solution from the sales world that can address quite a few challenges:
A battle card is an internal tool, usually a single-page document, that acts as a cheat sheet for sales teams. It highlights important details of a company’s products/services, features, differentiators, and other important talking points to help guide the direction of a sales call and close more sales.
To create your battle card, jot down answers to the following questions. Then just apply them to a one-page template that’s easy to scan.
While the details in a battle card were initially developed as a quick reference for sales teams, it’s pretty clear that these foundational elements are important things to understand and utilize for any form of communications. In fact, most of these elements are the same details that form the foundation of a comprehensive communication strategy. So, for brands that don’t yet have a formalized strategy, or are in the process of building one, and need to be able to move forward with marketing and content creation, building out a battle card can ensure that your messaging is on-target in the meantime.
Even if a complete strategy is available, it’s often helpful to have battle cards at the ready for times where pulling out a multi-page document is impractical. Workshops or brainstorms can benefit from a quick reference to the battle card, as can briefing new team members or freelancers. They can always look at the full strategy document to get the depth, detail, and specific guidelines needed for actual messaging development after the call.
This one is pretty self explanatory. If both teams are working off the same foundation, there are fewer risks of miscommunication to customers or inconsistency in messaging. We believe brand consistency is extremely important, so using a tool like this for internal team alignment is a great insurance policy.
Creating a battle card for your business requires that you have a good understanding of your offering, your target audiences, your competitors, and your position in the marketplace. With that information as your foundation, the battle card is a quick reference that answers many of the key questions that come up in a sales call. If you’re having trouble answering the questions needed to create your battle card, or want to flesh out your company’s overall messaging strategy, get in touch with us. Our communications consulting process has helped us enable many businesses to better understand and communicate their unique value to their ideal customers.