Hey, Brendan!

Hey, Brendan!

Let’s crack your messaging, shall we?

Let’s crack your messaging, shall we?

A 3 step process to clarity

What a journey you’ve been through: From a small niche software that solves a specific problem and saves the customer a few bucks to a strategic backbone of the world’s largest BPOs. From a dozen employees to approaching 100 pioneers who drive the remote working revolution.
On the flip side, every growth comes with challenges: Is our messaging still consistent with who we are? Is it flexible enough to meet our growing customer base? Can all of our employees clearly say – in plain English – what it is that we stand for? And more importantly: Can our customers?
When done right, clear messaging trickles into everything you do. It creates tension and curiosity. It strengthens identity and belonging. But it also simplifies decision making and fosters agency. It aligns everyone on the same path while allowing anyone to walk it in their own unique way.
This is not something that you hastily write together. Or that you hire an agency to quickly create for you. It must come from within.
In a 3 stage process that involves your whole company, we’ll uncover the messages that communicate who you truly are – in a way that everyone easily gets it, starting from within the company and transforming the way you communicate with your customers and partners.
Let’s look at what we want to achieve concretely in each of the three steps, before we finally look into how we’re going to achieve it.

Step 1: What do you want to be known for?

It’s a noisy world and it’s not going to remember much about us. Which is why we need to make sure that it remembers the right things. The things that we truly stand for and that we are proud to be associated with so that it fuels our motivation and inspires our actions.
This is not to be confused with a fancy sounding marketing slogan. First comes clarity about what we want to be known for, only then comes the genius marketing plan, the communication strategy, and the actual implementation.
We’re going to start with clarity and deal with wording later.

Step 2: What matters to them?

One thing’s for sure: You’re proud of what you do and you have all the reasons to want to be known for what you do. But let’s be honest: No-one outside the company cares for your visibility problem! Even inside the company, people might have very different views.
People care for their own struggles. They are looking for solutions to their own problems.
If you want to be seen by others – in a way that they remember the right things about you – the best place to start is to see them first. To look at your business from their perspective. To deeply understand what matters to them.
With that understanding you can bridge the gap and find the common ground. You’re much better informed to find the words – and stories – that resonate with your customers (as opposed to yourself). Ultimately, what you want to be able to achieve is to put into words, using plain English, the things that deeply matter to your audience but that they can’t put into clear and concise words on their own.
Importantly, “them” can mean different groups in different contexts – it can be your customers, it can be your employees, your partners, the press, etc.

Step 3: What’s the message?

Ok, now that we know what we want to be known for and what matters to our audience, let’s try to put it into words.
All too often, corporate messaging suffers from – let’s be straight – bullshitting. Promising the blue from the skies, using fluffy statements, and decorating vague claims with some sweet candy and cream.
Here’s the thing: If you’re selling a diamond, you don’t need to decorate it. You much rather polish it to surface its pure beauty. You don’t hide it underneath fluff and stuff.
What we’re looking into here is the truth, told in plain English, making clear statements and bold promises.
So, what’s the boldest statement that you can confidently make and be able to keep it (or even overdeliver on it)? How can you say it in plain English, using their language?
But most importantly: how can you say it in a way that anyone on your team and your customers and the press can – and wants to – pass it along, while thinking: this is exactly the solution I’ve been waiting for. It’s made for me!

<<< -- US + THEM = TOGETHER -- >>>

How are we going to achieve this?

(Dates are suggestions to give the project a scope and to start the discussion on the actual dates)
Step 1
1.1 Workshop with the leadership team (April, 11th)
We’re analyzing the vision that the leadership team sees for the company, giving everyone a voice and visualizing it so that the common path emerges. The focus is on what each one on the team believes the company should be known for so that we can uncover the true path that spans these different perspectives.
1.2 Workshop with the management and sales team (April, 12th)
We’re broadening our view to include the perspectives of those who are in close contact with the market and the customers. We’re explicitly excluding the leadership team so that everyone in the meeting can feel free to speak from their heart – without worrying about what leadership would think about it.
1.3 Written summary of the workshop results (April, 13th)
Step 2
2.1 Company wide survey (April, 12th–April 19th)
We’re broadening our view even further to include the whole company. Through a survey that goes out to every employee we want to get a complete picture of why people work here, what they love about the company but also about what they are proud of and what makes them get up in the morning. But most importantly: what’s the impact that they believe the company makes? The results of the survey will inform the next stage.
2.2 Workshop with the leadership team (April, 25th)
We’re going to review the results of the previous workshops and the survey and use it to kickstart a discussion about the outside perspective. This workshop is all about what matters to your audience – the customers, the partners, the press. But also to the employees (you don’t just want to impose your new messaging on them.)
2.3 Written summary of the workshop results (April, 26th)
Step 3
3.1 Workshop with the leadership team (May, 2nd)
In this final workshop, we’re going to get really concrete. What is the boldest promise you can confidently make? What is the pass-along phrase that you would want your customers (or other audiences) to pass along about you? Our goal will be to state this in plain English, using your audience’s language (as opposed to your own internal jargon.) We need to beat the “Curse of Knowledge” and answer the three questions any audience has:
1. “Oh really?” i.e. can I believe this?
2. “Huh?” i.e. do I get it?
3. “So what?” i.e. why should I care about this?
3.2 Written summary of the workshop (May, 4th)
4 Debriefing-Workshop  (May, 9th)
A week after the final workshop, we’re going to have another look at it. Does it still sit right? What are some early results from using it? But more importantly: What are the next steps to make this messaging a reality? To make it feel second nature and guide your team to actually use it and color it with their individual personalities? And finally: What will be the first instances to apply the messaging to?

How will we work together?

We’re meeting on zoom unless we agree otherwise in one of the meetings. We’ll use additional software to facilitate the meeting and help us keep track of our train of thoughts. The meetings will be recorded for future reference unless there is any objection to this from your side. Judging from experience, meetings will last approx. 3 hours – but they will be planned open ended from my side. I’ll be available for as long as is needed to arrive at the clarity we need.

The survey logistics will be provided from my side. It will be fully anonymous – no-one, including myself, will have the possibility to connect survey answers to the person giving the answer.

I will be available for chats and informal discussions with the leadership team and people involved in the process in between meetings via mail or mobile and usually respond within a couple of hours (except for public holidays).

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Shall we make this happen?

Please don’t hesitate to reach out with any questions:

Dr. Michael Gerharz

Dr. Michael Gerharz helps leaders crack the clarity code to get the impact and influence they deserve. He is the author of the daily blog “The Art of Communicating” and publishes the “Leaders Light the Path” podcast. Dr. Michael Gerharz has a Ph.D. in Communication Systems and he is a passionate guitarist. At the intersection of highly structured thinking and the pure joy for creative expression he makes you separate the signal from the noise and express it in a way that’s true to who you are. Time and again, this turns out to be transformative to the way people speak, act, and lead. I’d be honoured to make that happen for you, too. Here are a few companies I worked with:
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How to work with me

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