Our Credo series continues with the argument that consistency should be a compulsory consideration for analyst relations. Sadly, many firms fail to integrate their claims coherently. As a result, analysts get multiple and inconsistent visions of the corporation from different spokespeople.
Complex businesses suffer most from this pressure. Sadly, those are also the businesses that stress their desire to give customers a single and integrated experience. As a result, the analyst relations programme fails in one of they elements of our IDEAL methodology for analyst relations: Alignment.
Alignment works in multiple ways: AR has to communicate the organisation’s meaning; it also needs to ensure that the organisation’s different claims are shown to combine; crucially, it also means have a ‘completed message’, which means joining up claims, from the strategic ‘top’ to the proof-point ‘bottom’. Messages also need to tie together the rational calculation and the emotional experience consistently: the tone and feeling of interactions need to tie to the firms values (See Logic and Emotion, whose cool chart this is, for more on this riff).
That means ensuring that each claim is part of a ‘whole message’, which includes six elements:
- Umbrella statement: what is the message?
- Benefit: What experience are you promising the buyer?
- Sound bite: Say that again, memorably
- Independent Validation: who else says so?
- Customer story: Who has made work?
- Proof points: What’s the proof?
Many spokespeople have one or more of these elements, but few have the whole message. Many firms offering ‘integrated’ services, for example, struggle to provide proof points at both the enterprise and the service levels. Many businesses reply on getting internal functions to work together to sell client engagements. If companies can’t connect together their messages, then they’ll give analysts the impression that the different part of their business are similarly misaligned.
Our competitive positioning process helps organisations to tie messages together in this way, and to ensure messages have the right back-up information to meet analysts’ needs. And that points us towards the fifth recommendation in our Credo series: that AR should conform to the analysts’ needs.