how we help

we give you the confidence you're saying the right thing in the right way to maximize impact

research

By combining rigorous message development and emotion-based testing methods, we identify what to say, what not to say and why it matters.

What we bring:

 

We deliver a

Language Strategy that

tells you what to say,

what not to say and

most importantly,

why it matters.

Does your audience understand what you are saying?   We’ve learned that often your audience doesn’t know what you think they know.

 

Do they believe you?  Today’s skeptical public will tune you out if you haven’t earned permission to communicate your message.

 

Does what you’re communicating truly resonate?   Or is your message too nuanced for an external audience to appreciate?

 

The bottom line: too often what we are trying to say is not what our audience hears. 

 

Our expertise is finding the words, phrases and messages that close that gap, providing you with a Language Strategy you can use.  

 

What we've done:

 

  • Helped launch a new credit card that reframed the rewards conversation and generated breakthrough results. 
  • Helped catapult an insurer to the top of the industry with a new product launch.
  • Helped the biotech industry win the messaging war and successfully shape federal legislation on a key issue.
  • Helped a major auto manufacturer learn to tell the right kinds of stories in the right way to have a positive impact on its reputation. 
  • Helped CEOs build credibility with employees, companies improve reputations and brands establish or reestablish their position in the marketplace.  

 

How we do it:

 

We focus on emotions.  Neuroscience shows people hear and interpret communication based on how it makes them feel – and only then make rational sense of their reaction.  Our research methodology uncovers both the visceral and the intellectual.  

 

We optimize words and phrases. Similar words often elicit very different reactions.  Finding the right words and phrases can be the difference between success and failure.  Our methodology is designed to identify the optimal articulation of what you need to communicate.     

 

We uncover what matters to your audience. Every audience brings their own set of experiences, preconceptions and perspectives to the conversation, all of which impacts how they interpret your communication.  We find the most effective way to succeed in light of this context – not despite it.   

training

Getting the message right is an investment. We’ll make sure your team reaps the benefits long after we’re gone.

What we bring:

Our training programs

help you build

your team’s communication skills

and drive alignment

behind your message   

What happens when you have a great story to tell, but few people who are capable of telling it? 

 

We understand that changing the way a company – and its leadership – communicates takes a lot of work. It can’t be achieved by simply sending a memo.

 

So we develop and execute training programs that give your team the tools they need to communicate more effectively. 

 

Our team can help you:

 

  • Educate and train sales and communication teams to increase the success of a new product launch
  • Build alignment and buy-in for key messages
  • Support culture change in your organization by educating your team about the Language of Trust
  • Coach leaders to be more effective communicators

 

How do we do it? 

 

We facilitate training in a variety of forms, including in-person coaching sessions, “how-to” communications manuals, online learning platforms and interactive media content.  Our approach is to: 

 

  • Teach the WHY behind your message strategy, not just the WHAT
  • Show teams how what YOU SAY affects what your AUDIENCE HEARS and
  • Provide a lasting FOUNDATION of key language that can be ADAPTED to a variety of situations

 

consulting

When you need an outside perspective that can truly understand your audience and provide you with a tested approach for engaging them, our customized Language Strategy will help you communicate consistently, clearly and credibly.

What we bring:

 

A proven framework

for creating messages

that will resonate with

your audience

When you spend your life writing messages, testing them and watching people react, you learn a lot about communication that connects. From the average voter to the opinion influencer and the beltway staffer, we’ve done extensive message testing with every type of audience.

   

We use that experience to help clients address a range of messaging challenges.  In every case, we apply our understanding of the audience’s perspective – and skepticism – to help create the most effective Language Strategy to meet your communication objectives.   

 

We've worked with:

 

  • Fortune 100 CEOs to develop investor narratives, fight activists and reposition their companies to the analyst community
  • Chief Communication Officers to help train executives to be more effective communicators and storytellers
  • Tech start-ups to more clearly communicate their value proposition
  • Financial services firms, health insurers and electric utilities to develop verbal brand standards to drive consistent communication across their organizations 
  • Marketing teams to launch new websites and develop marketing collateral for brands and products
  • Customer service teams to create new CSR and IVR scripts to become more customer-centric  

 

How do we do it?

 

We have heard too many stories about consulting projects that create more work than they save.  So we see our job as providing clear and actionable recommendations – whether that is a message platform or a final script.

 

Our approach is customized to the situation, though we always bring two things to the table:      

 

First is a set of best practices that have been refined over time to distill our team’s collective insights into effective communication.  Based on CEO Michael Maslansky’s book, The Language of Trust, this framework has been used to drive successful communication strategies around the world.

 

Second, we bring a heightened sensitivity to the challenges communicators face and a deep understanding of how to put ourselves in the shoes of your audience to develop an effective message strategy. 

content

Though we probably won’t create your next viral video, we help you turn your message strategy into content that engages and educates your audience.

What we bring:

We create content

that's on-strategy

and focused

on effectively

communicating

your message

We’re in the business of words, but we know that the right picture is worth 1,000 of them.  

 

We work with you to help make your message matter by creating content and digital tools to share your strategy in the most engaging way possible.

 

Inside organizations, we help our clients use content to more effectively educate their colleagues about research and message strategies.

 

Outside organizations, we create content to help tell stories, educate customers and introduce new ideas.   

 

What we’ve done:

 

Worked with a health insurer to bring their target audience segments to life through custom videos.

 

Created a single web-based story platform that all communicators across an organization can use to find the best company stories.

 

Developed an online training platform with classes and resources to help drive buy-in for a message strategy.

 

 

Video

Engaging, high-quality videos that demonstrate and share communications recommendations

Online classrooms

Instructional Technologies built into online communications training platforms

Infographics

Representative graphics that give our data the most impact

Wikis

Private or public wiki sites that make our communications samples accessible to everyone

 

 

storytelling

You have a great story to tell, and we help you tell a great story.

What we bring:

All stories are not

created equal…we

help you create

and tell stories

that help drive

strategy

What makes a good corporate story?

 

After testing hundreds of stories with different audiences, we think we have a pretty good idea.  And while it starts with something emotional or interesting, it is much more than that.   Our approach to storytelling is designed with strategic objectives in mind.  We want stories to change attitudes about an issue or a brand, or prompt people to make a purchase or take an action. 

 

What we’ve done:

 

Held storytelling workshops to train teams on effective storytelling and to mine stories for further development.

 

Created comprehensive web-based story databases that are legally-approved for use and accessible to communicators across an organization.

 

How we help:

 

We recognize that it isn’t as easy as it seems to write stories for most companies.  You have to find them, fact-check them, run them through legal and then write them in a way that resonates.  And even after that is done, you have to make sure that the story helps you achieve your goals. 

 

Our job is to help you through all of those steps in the process. 

 

Whether it is finding stories for a speech or developing a database of stories for your organization, we work with you to tell stories that drive strategy. 

speaking

Lasting communications insights and live research, presented in-person by our consultants.

What we bring:

Keynotes and live interactive research sessions

that help you bring

a message to your team 

Sometimes it takes an outside voice to challenge an organization to change...

 

 

 

 

Or it would help your team to listen directly to your customers about key topics...

 

 

 

 

Our keynotes are designed to provide real-world insights into the changing consumer and public opinion landscape and to provide practical tools for more effective communication.  All of our presentations seek to communicate from a consumer perspective, either by literally bringing the customers into the session for a live research session or by bringing the results of more than a decade of research into the presentation. Our provocative and entertaining presentations are well-suited for executive retreats, industry conferences, leadership meetings and sales training seminars.

 

Topics we speak on include:

 

  • Using The Language of Trust in a World of Skeptics
  • The Language of Leadership
  • The Language of Change
  • The Language of Technology
  • The Language of Financial Services
  • The Language of Energy
  • The Language of Healthcare

 

All of our speeches are customized to bring in relevant examples and entertaining stories from your industry and target segment.