Credo 3: Accept that messages grow from both the top and the bottom

Messaging develops in two ways: up from the grass-roots experience of the company, and down from the top-level idea. The third assertion in our Credo series is that AR managers have to accept that duality, and understand that it reflects analysts different approaches.

The challenge for the AR professional is to develop consistency, both between the different pieces for information given to analysts, and between what spokespeople say to analysts and what the rest of the organisation says to other audiences.

It’s a real challenge, because analysts are looking at different aspects of the firm at the same time. Some analysts start from the company’s products, and market performance (in a certain sense, by looking backwards), and others start by looking at the firm’s strategy and plans (looking ‘up’, but also looking forwards in time).

Few firms connect up those messages, and that leaves the analysts to fill the gap. When analysts see a disconnect between those two layer then the dissonance makes them skeptical about the provider’s prospects.

That’s a real challenge for AR manager, because many spokespeople do not initially have that ‘top level’ story correctly established in their mind, and cannot connect it to their fundamental activity. As a result, AR has the unique ability to help organisations test and develop messages, and to ensure they are joined up.

P.S. We’ve developed this idea in Credo 3.1.

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