How messaging can make you the next CEO of the Decade

CEO of the Decade

CEO of the Decade

OK, so Fortune named Steve Jobs its CEO of the decade for 2010, which means the race is on for the title in 2020.  To win all you have to do is beat Jobs’ record of reinventing the music, computing, movie and wireless communications industries—all while growing sales in the face of the worst economic downturn of our collective memory.

That’s a tall order.  But whether your goal is to be memorialized on the cover of Fortune or just to get back on a growth track, the article highlights Jobs’ use of disciplined messaging and communications to build the image of Apple.

A key Jobs business tool is his mastery of the message.  He rehearses over and over every line he and others utter in public about Apple, which authorizes only a small number of executives to speak publicly on a given topic.  Key to the Jobs approach is careful consideration of what he and Apple say – and don’t say.

The lesson for most companies is to hone corporate and product messaging to be brief, meaningful and differentiated.  Apple showed off its mastery of its strategy during the iPhone launch, which garnered an estimated $400 million in publicity and exposure.  Most companies have the opposite problem.  When the time comes to make news, they have to fight and scrap to get the attention of their audience – and a well-defined message helps to make an impact.

The DJA approach to message development is to filter messages through a framework based on two elements – customer relevance and competitive differentiation.  We then take these messages and organize them into a message “house,” where the roof is a tightly defined key message or theme.  The upper story is composed of three supporting messages, and the foundation is the set of facts that back up each supporting message.

With this foundation, we’re able to build a message that is memorable and can be delivered effectively in either 60 seconds or 60 minutes.

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