communicating change

In an earlier post, we offered guidance on how to create and structure a message architecture to support communication around a change initiative. As a follow-up, this post will give some insight on how to use those messages.

As pointed out in the previous post, the goal of a message architecture is to establish an intuitive structure that provides context for how audiences can think about and relate to a transition. The primary purpose is to simplify and amplify. The message architecture should break down complex ideas into simple sound bites that can be used as the building blocks for creating specific communication deliverables.

 Consistent Source of Context for Change

Once you have your message architecture in place, how do you use it? Think of the message architecture as the consistent source of context around your change. It’s the blueprint you can always refer back to as you build the structure of your transition. As you communicate specific details regarding the change, you can continually rely on the language in your architecture to guide and frame how and what you say with each communication. While you won’t use the copy in your architecture verbatim with every communication, you will use it as a starting point to ground every message that’s delivered outward.

While there are many ways you can use a message architecture depending upon the specifics of your transition, some of the most common ways used by our clients include:

  1. Speaking points in presentations given by executives and company leaders as they deliver important information.
  2. Internal websites where you might provide specific details regarding the change initiative.
  3. Newsletters and e-mails that offer progress updates to your teams. Copy from the message architecture can provide the context that reminds readers why this is important and what’s in it for them.
  4. Context for training that might need to occur as part of the change. For instance, if you need to train details of a software update, the message architecture can provide the context that explains why the change is happening, while the training itself provides the tactical details that need to be learned. Trainers should understand the message architecture and how it relates to the content they will be delivering so they don’t leave out the valuable context that needs to be communicated.
  5. Job aids that guide teams through new processes. Similar to training context described above, the message architecture can provide a brief rationale that reminds readers why this is important while giving them tools to learn new processes and procedures.

Investing in the creation of a message architecture at the beginning of your change initiative will save you time down the road and also ensure that consistent information is being delivered at every step. Kennedy Communications Global has created message architectures for clients undergoing change – from minor regional transitions to global initiatives. If you need help communicating your organization’s change initiative, contact us today.


About Alice Wright

As Director of Content Strategy, Alice directs projects while also designing program strategy and instructional content. She has more than 22 years of experience managing integrated strategic marketing, communication and training programs for globally recognized brands. Some of her current and past clients include Nike, Sunglass Hut, Safeway, Banfield Pet Hospital, Office Depot, Unilever, LensCrafters, EMC, Intel, Microsoft, Dell, adidas, Joann Stores and others. Alice earned her bachelor’s degree from the School of Journalism and Communication at University of Oregon. She lives with her husband and teenage son in Portland, Oregon where she loves exploring the outdoors and being a soccer/band mom.