Message orchestration: Creating a harmonious communications program

 All of the individual elements that comprise your communications must be orchestrated to maximize your ROI.

All of the individual elements that comprise your communications must be orchestrated to maximize your ROI.

When you hear a 20-minute symphonic masterpiece, the oboes don't play the same notes as the cellos and the french horns don't play the same as the flutes.

Thankfully. That would be so boring.

The beautiful music comes together through the synthesis of variations on timing, pitch, rhythm and volume. And the sound is rich, vibrant and more than the sum of its parts. Exactly how we should see our communications.

Each area of your organization has the opportunity to blend together into a cohesive unit, creating a comprehensive program to engage all audiences including employees, current customers and prospects.

It's essential to clearly identify your organization’s audiences, and create appropriate and consistent content that resonates with each recipient through message orchestration.

Get in tune

Imagine your business as a symphony where each department represents a different instrument section. The goal is to take each instrument of varying sound and purpose and make them come together to form a beautifully orchestrated piece. That cannot be achieved if everyone plays in a different key. If each section is working from a different piece of music, the sound will be jumbled, useless and out of tune.

The same thing can be said about a company working on engaging customers, growing the business and telling a story when everyone (that’s everyone) is not on the same page.

With so many companies fully embracing the concept of the customer experience and fostering ongoing engagement, it might be time to regroup and make sure every piece of the organizational symphony is aware of the company’s message and how it should be orchestrated.

Message orchestration transcends traditional integrated marketing communications and adopts a more all-encompassing philosophy to be practiced throughout the company from intern to CEO.

Organizational messages need to adhere to the approved practices, policies, and look and feel no matter which department they come from. For example, the booth and surveys that HR sets up at a job fair need to be infused with the company’s messages and look like the website the recruit will visit to research the company.

Sales and customer service need to work together to articulate the same messages and policies used by HR. Meanwhile, your social media, marketing and communications departments will use the same core message to attract the external customer.

This steadfast consistency creates an environment in which all pieces are working together and your internal audience can clearly see the goals of the company and their role in meeting those goals.

This idea is the basis of any integrated marketing communications program. The company’s message must be clear and consistent at every turn, including the website, RFP responses, face-to-face client interaction, etc.

However, sometimes the message is only relayed internally with a “there it is, do what you can to implement it in your department,” and no further direction. This is the equivalent of a symphony attempting to play Beethoven’s 5th without any instruction or rehearsal.

Your message must be controlled and delivered so every person knows precisely what is expected of him or her, how it fits into the overarching goal and what the anticipated benefit will be. By systematically infusing the message throughout the entire organization we increase the effectiveness of the communications and help the company to accomplish its goals.

Message orchestration makes it possible to include every possible touch point to create brand advocates out of both our internal and external audiences.

Find the right note

The message itself is supremely important in this process and should not be hastily scratched out and disseminated. The people who matter most will react more positively if the communications meet the three principles of effective messaging and content creation.

First, keep the message simple. Clearly state what is expected of each individual involved and the resulting outcomes. This will ensure each person in every department will have a clear understanding of how they fit in to the overall program.

Second, the message must be recipient-oriented. It should not be thought of in terms of what you want to tell, but rather what the recipient needs to hear. Sure, a trumpet player needs to know what is going on with other musicians involved in the piece, but it’s their specific role that is most critical to them. Targeted messages mean that everyone gets the exact information they want and need.

Finally, the message must be easy to articulate. As with music, the less complex it is, the easier it is to execute.

Play your song

Once the audience-specific messages are understood and each individual knows the role he or she plays and how it fits into the overall program, implementation can begin to take place. This does not mean, however, that everyone is on their own.

Just as a conductor ensures each section is working together in harmony, company executives must remain engaged and see that each person at every touch point is telling your story and playing their part accurately, effectively and consistently.

Proactive orchestration translates your message into something clear, useful and harmonious. The curtain is rising. Ensure your company is ready and deserving of a standing ovation.

Onward.