The importance of consistent messaging

By Angela, November 17, 2014

You may have noticed that we recently revamped our website in conjunction with the Fund II launch. As we updated the content, we quickly discovered that many of the company descriptions on our Portfolio page were out of date. After all, startups iterate quickly, evolve, and even pivot.  Without actively managing their digital presence, messaging gets stale pretty fast.

Around the same time, one of our portfolio companies emailed us with a communications package detailing their key messages: a narrative of what they value and do, how the app works, their funding and future plans. This document proved to be so effective and useful to us, we wanted to share the concept.

Everyone understands the importance of consistent messaging. It’s crucial in building and maintaining your brand, as well as in rallying all stakeholders (employees, customers, partners, investors, etc.) to the company’s vision, mission and strategy.  As investors, we want to champion our companies in the way they want to be championed.

Entrepreneurs spend a lot of time reflecting on their brand and image. For example, you may have thoughtfully crafted every word in your latest press release or bio from a recent event. Don’t let those efforts go to waste. Make sure all the latest and greatest messaging is incorporated into every public profile.

The first step is to take stock of where profiles are posted: your own website, Crunchbase, AngelList, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, investors’ websites, etc. Then, whenever you change your messaging, make sure each of these profiles get updated.

  • Tip 1: You can create a one-page Google doc that you can share with all your key stakeholders, like investors. The document will evolve over time, but you can always point people to it when needed.
  • Tip 2: To ensure people say the right things about your company, put together company descriptions in 25-word, 50-word, and 100-word variations.

These days, companies and people have profiles scattered across the Web. However, a little proactive maintenance will keep everything in line. When people see a consistent message behind your brand, it reinforces your unique selling proposition in their eyes.  

  • Yes! I’m a big fan of messaging and have written extensively about it, and advise all startups I interact with to take it seriously. Actually, this post was very popular and widely shared:

    The Only 5 Types of Messaging You Need
    http://startupmanagement.org/2013/09/11/the-only-5-types-of-messaging-you-need/

  • Atlee Clark

    Great advice Angela. I think this is also true as companies grow and want to communicate what their teams are doing internally. Priorities and focus can change quickly as you scale and always making sure you are consistant internally and externally is important.

  • Messaging is the foundation for everything that a startup does from a marketing and sales perspective. It’s surprising that so many startups don’t have clear and coherent messaging/stories given they operate in competitive markets battling for the attention of customers. For many of my startup clients, messaging is job one because it is difficult, if not impossible, to effectively doing marketing and sales without having a super-clear idea of what a startup does, the value it delivers, and who it serves.

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