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Message Testing

In communications programs, the goal is not simply to be understood – it is also to persuade, to change the hearts and minds and actions of individuals and organizations with power to impact change. Therefore, we must understand our target audience: their situation and environment, what motivates them, what resonates with them emotionally and what evidence they require. We must understand their emotional “drivers” (what motivates them to care) and their rational “drivers” (what motivates them to think differently). Affecting these two touch points is the first, and most necessary, step in motivating them to take the action we desire.

TRG uses a proven process for testing messages that uncovers sticking points in internal and external language and guides us toward more effective ways to talk about our clients’ issues. Our team reviews existing materials to identify key messages, and then we test those messages through an iterative process of in-depth interviews with members of key stakeholder groups. The process results in a handbook of tested, effective key messages with a list of FAQs as well as insight and buy-in from important stakeholders.

Message Testing Solutions

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    Internal media audits

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    In-depth interviews with key stakeholders

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    Message handbook development

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    Message-delivery training


Open Research Funders Group

The Open Research Funders Group came to TRG for help in growing their base of funding organizations formally committed to promoting open access through their grantmaking policies. ORFG had relationships with many leading funders, but they were having trouble getting organizations to move further along the continuum of commitment to open research. Our team interviewed a variety of staff members who had different roles and came from different kinds of funding organizations to test existing messages. The process produced new insights about barriers and decision makers as well as a message handbook with preferred language.

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

The American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA) engaged TRG to develop a marketing plan to increase the use of “interprofessional education” and “interprofessional collaborative practice” (IPE/IPP) among its members. However, the basic concepts of IPE/IPP were not readily understood or were even misunderstood by their target audiences. TRG worked with ASHA to conduct in-depth interviews with internal and external audiences. Through this process, we helped identify a consistent definition of IPE/IPP, as well as a value proposition that reduced the barriers to action by highlighting its most important, tangible benefits.