Political season is well upon us in the United States (for my International readers, both of you, you might find this interesting as well) and one of the tried-and-true keys to developing a message in a political/issues campaign quickly is to use a message matrix.
A message matrix lets you set up a grid and take a look at your situation and helps you answer the following questions:
1. What can your opponents/activists/competition say about your organization/product/etc?
2. What can your opponents/activists/competition say about themselves?
3. What can your organization say about itself/product/etc.?
4. What can your organization say about your opponents/activists/competition?
When you take the time to sit down and look at your matrix, this is the time you need to take a critical look at your organization and your competition. Be honest with your organization’s strengths and weakness, and develop your potential messages accordingly. As a part of the message box, you might want to conduct a SWOT and/or PESTLE analysis, depending on your time.
If you look at your competition or activist groups in advance, a message matrix can help you organize your thoughts as you prepare questions, responses and talking points before you need them. It’s always good to show the executive leadership you’re prepared in advance for any media problems they might run into. It can also help you determine those messages, talking points, and possible responses on the fly if you need to.
This is just an overview of the message box, we’ll get into closer detail soon enough. But keep in mind, these messages will probably need to be vetted by your legal department, executive leadership, etc.