Zach Friend’s “On Message: How a Compelling Narrative Will Make Your Organization Succeed” is a comprehensive and systematic guide to communicating that provides both an overview of why a cohesive narrative is the best way to get your point across and a blueprint for how to craft your own message, regardless of your industry or setting.
Friend explains that humans respond best to stories or chronicles, and provides a series of narratives that illustrate the importance of eliciting emotion and of narrative-based marketing messages. “On Message” provides copious examples that explain just how messages from business, advertising and politics were crafted and why each resonates emotionally with its target audience. Comparisons of messages from Apple, the Obama campaign, Southwest Airlines and others are used to illustrate and break down the elements of messages that work and those that do not.
Friend starts with chapters on narrative and messaging, which discuss the connection between story and message, why a linear story line works better than hard facts alone, and includes techniques and exercises to help you craft your own message. He then shows how to integrate non-verbal communication into the overall message, how to create a compelling brand image for marketing, and how to use visual imagery to support the message. With specific examples throughout, including comparisons of actual messages like “death tax” instead of “inheritance tax,” illustrating why emotional words work. The final chapter explains how to use the technique of a marketing narrative to craft shorter messages for use in social media, and explains how a story-based message works in a 140 character format.
“On Message” provides more than a theory. It provides Message Boxes that give real, concrete examples and directions for adapting the theories.
The author was a top communications director in several political campaigns, including President Obama’s, and uses examples drawn from the arena of politics (where very complex ideas have to be boiled down into 30 second, easy to grasp soundbytes) to show how any idea or marketing message can be clarified and put into an overall narrative that supports a branding strategy. He also uses examples drawn from the world of advertising and business, and explains why each works or doesn’t. The guide provides readers with the elements of narrative-based messaging, examples of how to craft a narrative and blueprint for using effective communication to create an overall branding strategy. “On Message: How a Compelling Narrative Will Make Your Organization Succeed” is a valuable resource for anyone who has to communicate in the business world, anyone involved in selling or marketing or branding, or anyone who wants to learn to better focus and target communications.
About the Author
Zach Friend is a policy, public affairs and communications expert who has worked for Barack Obama and John Kerry’s presidential campaigns, the White House Council of Economic Advisers, the U.S. Senate, Congressman Sam Farr and the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
With Obama for America ’08, Zach was a press secretary and spokesman in the battleground state of Pennsylvania, handling planning, writing and media relations in the Greater Philadelphia market. For appearances and interviews, he staffed and briefed Barack Obama, Joe Biden and other campaign principals and surrogates. As Deputy National Director of Special Projects for the DNC, Zach helped lead the field staff for John Kerry’s campaign. Additionally, he designed message and campaign strategy for Native American outreach in battleground states. Before the Kerry campaign, Zach served with Senator Tom Daschle, Congressman Farr and the Council of Economic Advisers as a staffer, researcher and writer. He has been quoted by MSNBC, Fox News, CNN, ABC, CBS, National Public Radio, the LA Times, the Boston Globe, Politico, the Huffington Post and others.
In June of 2012, Zach was elected to the Santa Cruz County, California Board of Supervisors. Previously, he was the Press Information Officer and a Crime Analyst for the Santa Cruz Police Department. Zach has a Masters degree in Public Policy from Georgetown University and a BA with Honors in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz.
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