Evolving messaging to align with a growing practice
Mountain Sage Medicine (MSM), run by Naturopathic Physician Jennifer Silapie, helps people experiencing chronic problems like hormone imbalances and digestive complaints resolve their issues through natural and holistic medical solutions. A practice of high rigor that incorporates western and eastern healing modalities as well as scientific and empirical methodologies, Mountain Sage Medicine looks at each person individually to properly diagnose, treat and prevent disease while working to promote wellness and wellbeing.
In practice for more than six years, Dr. Silapie had reached a level of maturity in her business where she understood who her primary audiences were, had acquired a great track record with her patients, and felt clear about which health issues her clinic was in the best position to address. However, this clarity and her experience was not coming through her website or other marketing materials. In addition, in situations when Jennifer or her staff needed to provide someone a clear and concise description of Mountain Sage Medicine or its service offering, it sometimes felt like a scramble to find the right words.
Having a well-defined positioning statement, boilerplate text for describing services and outcomes, as well as a few options for headlines that could be used as advertising and website copy would help Jennifer and her team consistently articulate the impact of their work across all communication channels. Since Jennifer had previously devoted time to developing her business strategy and objectives, she had already done much of the thinking necessary in the first stages of creating a message platform.
To build upon the rumination already in process, we crafted a series of questions designed to help Jennifer solidify her understanding of her audiences, the health issues MSM addresses, and the mission and motivations of her practice. We also had her describe specific patient outcomes so that we could tie supporting evidence to a description of services. It was important to capture Jennifer’s thinking in her words because we wanted the text of the message platform to exude her personality so it would be authentic to her vision.
In tandem with the questionnaire, we audited MSM’s existing communication materials, such as her website, ads, and program workbooks, in order to identify alignments and mis-matches between language in the current collateral and language for the new messaging platform. With Jennifer’s help, we identified which variations of terms were acceptable to use and which ones were not, which words needed to be defined for her audiences, and which topics could be developed into content pieces like articles and blog posts.
Since a new website was already underway for MSM but website content had not yet been considered, we took the opportunity to shape the message platform into text for the new website. We built a dynamic prototype of the website so Jennifer could see the message platform in real-life context and we could make decisions about content for the new site. With the prototype, it was easy for Jennifer to see how various components of the new messaging like headlines, service descriptions, and the company bio would work together to give someone a complete understanding of MSM.
The website prototype gave the website developer a road map for what content should be present and how it should be organized in the new website.
Having a document to reference that contains the verbiage needed for various types of communication materials such as ads, rack cards, and one-sheets minimizes the stress of developing new collateral in-house and ensures that MSM is speaking consistently through its various channels.
When Jennifer recently had to put together a new flier for an event, she exclaimed how quick and easy it was to pull the text she needed from her message platform. "Compared to how hard doing my marketing materials was before we did the message development vs. after, it was like night and day."
header image © Amarett Jans