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Uncover Your Breakthrough Message


Looking for a way to garner the affection of a new girl he was dating, a 20-something male enlists the help of his older sister. The sister suggests that she shoot a short video message with his cell phone so he can send it to his sweetheart.

“What should I say?” he asks. Instead of making up a line for him, she asks what he admires about his girl. After he lists several attributes, his sister asks, “How do you feel when you are with her?” “Well,” the boy admits, “I get this warm feeling in my heart every time I see her.”

“There’s your message!” says the wise sister. She points the phone video camera at her brother and presses “record.” He looks in to the lens and says, “Baby, you give me heartburn.”


OK, maybe our Romeo did not deliver the best possible line to his sweetie, but he was close. And the Smart Sister did what Smart Marketers do when looking for a BREAKTHOUGH MESSAGE. She didn’t make it up, she helped UNCOVER it.  

All of the breakthrough messages FARRIS uncovered for the Valley’s top marketers were derived from a question-research process. And that’s what YOU must do to develop your breakthrough message. The place to start is inside your firm.


Ask them your partners, managers and employees the following questions and keep a record of the answers.  You’ll be amazed at the ideas they inspire. 

These 12 questions were adapted from my friend Bill Schley’s book: Why Johnny Can’t Brand: rediscovering the lost art of the big idea. (Penguin Books 2005)


  1. What category is your business in/what group of consumers you serve and where do you rank in this category?
  2. Why does the marketplace need your organization? 
  3. What do your customers want most?
  4. What do you do for people that nobody else does? 
  5. Are you the “go to” organization for this in your most customer minds? If not, who is?… and why?
  6. How important is what you do for people? 
  7. What’s your “unsung” ability — the #1 thing the market needs to know about your organization that they don’t know now?
  8. Why are you (or should you be) the number one choice for what you do?
  9. What about your organization makes you most proud?
  10. Who are your competitors and what are they known for?
  11. Why do you win in apples-to-apples comparisons?
  12. If you asked five prospects, what would they say your organization stands for?
The answers to these questions will help you focus and crystallize the message you use as your primary positioning statement or, as Bill Schley calls it, your “Dominant Selling Idea.”


If you get what you need from the above questions, that’s great. But there may be more work to be done, including asking questions outside your organization. If you need help with this or taking the next step, call or send me an email.


I’ll be writing more about uncovering your breakthrough message and how to use that message to supercharge your marketing efforts. 


Stay tuned and stay smart. ##


George Farris is president and CEO of Farris Marketing, a full service marketing communications firm located in Youngstown, Ohio with offices in Cleveland, Ohio  and Tampa, Florida. Farris Marketing was founded in 1982 and provides multiple marketing services including research, strategic planning, branding, advertising, public relations, and development of sales materials, trade show booths and powerful websites. 

Farris Marketing has record of success with  top firms and organizations. 

Farris will help you 

Uncover Your Breakthrough Message and Deliver It with Maximize Impact.

Contact George Farris @ 330-782-8061 or email: consult@farrismarketing.com. 

Visit Farris Marketing at www.FarrisMarketing.com ##


About The Author

  • Author | George Farris
George Farris is CEO and Senior Brand Coach at Farris Marketing. Connect with George on LinkedIn using the icons above.

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