Paris-fashion-week-beauty-yohji-yamamoto-620bes031011Maybe it's because I'm a recovering English major. 

But, if it's important, I write it down. Sometimes, it becomes important because it gets written down.

By "it," I mean "anything."

Bing! Bing! Bing!
So, as I look around the home office, I see that there are a variety of documents that form a figurative fence around my desk.

They are a collection of aspirations, projects, tasks, photographs, and guidelines. I naturally bounce like a pinball, so I created these flippers to keep me in play.

If you care to see some of them, I'll show you.

Starting with this one…

Top 5
Years in advertising and marketing — and several key ones with creative director Alan Bumpus — led to the creation of a marketing strategy statement which I call Top 5. It's been called lots of things like, "North Star," "Brand Message Strategy," and "overpriced."

Whatever it's called, it helps remove the guesswork from making messages.

Here is one now…

Top 5 VistageMy Own Top 5
I have several Top 5 statements. One for my public speaking, one for my consulting, and — at right (click to enlarge) — one for my Vistage Columbus practice.    

Is this the message? No!
This is the strategy, not the ultimate message. I don't usually share the Top 5 statement with my target audience.

I share the strategy with the designers, copywriters, sales representatives, and receptionist. So they all know who we are trying to reach, what we want that person to do, based on what belief, motivated by what, and trusting us for what reason.

But the Top 5 is not the actual message. It's like the difference between:

  • "You are the first. My last. My everything."


  • "I will seduce this beautiful potential mate." 

Now you get it. Even Barry White couldn't win by crooning the latter. (To prove this, warm up by singing the first statement. Then try saying the second in Barry voice. Won't work, except when courting Coneheads.)

Should this be kept confidential?
For decades, I have recommended that clients keep their brand message strategy confidential. This is mainly because the statement doesn't have the words that are ready for the target audience.

When I owned an advertising agency, I always kept our brand message strategy confidential. Wouldn't let clients see it. 

Looking back, I wonder what I was hiding. I think I was hiding the truth and the process. Why would I hide that? Now it seems like a avoidance of authenticity.

If a prospect for my next Vistage group were to see my Top 5, we could talk about it. It's authentic.

Who needs it?

  • Anyone who wants to keep communications consistent, especially among colleagues.
  • Anyone who wants to take the subjectivity out of judging creative messages and marketing tools.  
  • Anyone who wants to focus their message on key points.

First Step
You can read more about how I develop these statements here, but I recommend you just write one of your own.

That will save you money and me time.