Is Your Message Too Complex?

If yours is like many of the complex organizations we work with, your messaging faces a vast array of audiences, issues and internal brand architecture. Which means that creating individual messaging for brands, products and services can be quite a challenge. Unfortunately, many organizations tend to create individual messaging that, 1) attempts to communicate complexity […]

If yours is like many of the complex organizations we work with, your messaging faces a vast array of audiences, issues and internal brand architecture. Which means that creating individual messaging for brands, products and services can be quite a challenge.

Unfortunately, many organizations tend to create individual messaging that, 1) attempts to communicate complexity and therefore, creates confusion, or 2) attempts to simplify too much and therefore, lacks depth and detail.

The key, as Einstein noted, is to make the complex message “as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

As experts in the development of positioning and messaging, Cohesion has refined an approach for complex messaging that leverages a three-tiered structure. This approach works to integrate three, necessary elements in the construction of a complex message:

  1. FUNCTION

  2. POSITIONING

  3. BENEFIT

FUNCTION: Translate what it is that your brand, product, or service does. This may sound obvious, but many organizations assume this foundational layer of understanding already exists in the audience’s mind — and skip this important step. In areas such as niche technologies, healthcare services, and more, simply stating what the function of your offering is, is a critical element.

POSITIONING: The second layer of messaging is positioning the functionality agains the backdrop of competitive offerings, audience understanding, and your own, internal architecture of brand, product and service offerings. Your audience needs an understanding of where your offering ‘fits’ in the overall landscape — and why that’s relevant and of value.

BENEFIT: The third layer of messaging is translating the first two layers into something of overall and individual benefit to the audience. “What’s In It For Me,” becomes the bowtie that wraps function and positioning into a meaningful and successful message.

By integrating these three (3) key elements into a cohesive message, organizations can successfully break the cycle of confusing and/or overly simplified marketing and sales messaging that often plagues complex situations.


For 20 years, our firm has helped develop and craft the right message for some of the largest organizations in the world; for the most complex businesses and situations. Because without the right message, (and the right message architecture) marketing is ungrounded, and too often fails.

We’re not an ad agency. We’re not a digital firm. Not a design shop, nor a production house. We are a consultancy focused squarely on the business of positioning and messaging. The most important, least understood work in the marketing process.

If you run a company, or a brand — if they turn to you for marketing, or communications — you owe it to yourself to learn more about our approach and our services.

Perhaps, your organization could use Cohesion?


Cohesion | Positioning & Messaging Consultants.

Since 1999, Cohesion has focused on the development of positioning, messaging and strategic narratives for a wide range of Fortune 500 and midsize organizations. Leveraging a proprietary platform and architecture process, Cohesion has successfully positioned (and developed the messaging for) more than 150 businesses, brands, products and services. To learn more, visit: http://cohesioncompany.com.

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