Ever wonder what’s behind messaging experts’ brilliant ideas? How do they come up with those shiny silver-tongued strings of syllables that make customers feel they could betray their mom and hand over their firstborn if they had to, just to buy your brand?

For over a century, messaging experts protected the creative “black box,” that internal voodoo magical, mystical “process” that commanded huge fees and commensurate reverence for ad agencies and messaging consultants. Then, as marketing and advertising became more and more accountable for its spend, brand managers and marketers began to demand a process-driven approach to message development they could understand. This trend led to agencies “positioning by process,” whereby their differentiation was tied inextricably to process and results.

With as many “proven processes” today as there are promotional agencies, it would seem that these processes have commoditized themselves into oblivion. Yet when the best of breed are closely scrutinized and compared, a pattern of best practice begins to emerge.

Message Mapper Message Map

Over the last 11 years, I took it upon myself to reverse-engineer the creative brand messaging process, overlaying the business end of marketing, in a quest to produce a universal process for message development. I studied the most mystical of messaging gurus, reread the classics (Porter, Stone, etc.) and pored over the new classics (Davis & Dunn, Godin, Aaker, etc.). Finally I landed on a process that’s pretty simple, but requires discipline and a bit of data management.  I tested and refined the process with nearly 100 brands and launched a software version that was successful, but relied on expert facilitation and needed a database management component to make it easy to use. So, to make it more accessible to more people, Message Mapper online message development software was reconstructed to include built-in facilitation and a visual database tree to help users see brand stories come alive.

I’ll delve further into how Message Mapper 2.0 can bring order to the chaos of developing marketing messages in my next post. In the meantime, you can explore this new offering at https://www.9align.com. And check out the current promotion that lets you try Message Mapper 2.0 for just $1.