Feb 17, 2012

Brand Talking Points

In 60 seconds, what would you say about your brand?

If you do an interview on TV or radio, you have at most 60 seconds to explain who you are and what your company does. And that goes for any business, from GE to the corner store. The broadcast anchor doesn’t want an exhaustive explanation, and they don’t care why your business is so innovative or different from the rest. They just want you to explain yourself clearly and succinctly so they can move onto other questions.

Give it a shot. Imagine you’re about to speak with Ali Velshi, Peter Mansbridge or Kent Brockman. They welcome you to their show and ask, “Tell me about your company.” What do you say?

Do you have a tight explanation that the audience will quickly grasp, and will establish your credibility? Remember the anchor is only a conduit. They’re asking the question to help the audience understand you, and they are setting the stage for the rest of their questions. If you bungle the first question, it’s going to be a rough interview.

Prepare your talking points

For 5 years I appeared on TV every month to discuss the job market. I had 90 seconds to talk about the labor statistics, what happened last month and give some direction on where the job market was heading. I had a lot of information to convey in a short period of time, but I also had to carry on a conversation with the anchor. I couldn’t simply regurgitate the labor report and my findings.

To get through these interviews, I used talking points. Instead of memorizing lines, stats and dialogue, I identified 2 to 3 key points I wanted to make during the interview. Before the interview I would ask myself, “What is the one thing the audience needs to know from me?” Once I found the most important message, I developed the supporting points. Together this formed my talking points for the interview.

Talking points are extremely helpful, because they are the essence of your message. In the heat of the moment, it’s hard to recite a canned line authentically. But with talking points you can adapt to the situation, and explain the idea in your own words.

Create talking points for your brand

If you could only convey one idea about your business, what would it be?

Isolate and distill the core message of your brand. Break it down in a way so that any person on your team can share it. They’re not going to use your words, but the meaning won’t be lost. That is a talking point.

Once you have the core message, identify a handful of supporting points that build out the story. Again, share the points with your team. If they can convey it in their own words and the meaning still stands, you’ve got a good message.

Nailing down your brand talking points provides you freedom. It makes it far easier for other people to remember your business and talk about it. It also keeps your brand’s story consistent. No matter who is talking about your brand, they will deliver the right message.

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