Technology PR: How to Make A Better Widget
Lesson 3: Carpe di-VAP! (Seize
A well-hit golf ball that lands in its preferred location is labeled
by golfers as having legs. A golf shot with legs
is one containing the perfect synergy between power--in distance
hit--and finesse--in landing in the location most desired.
A good Value Added Proposition (VAP) is
no different. By confidently spreading the message of a VAPs
strengths, and, to the right people in the right places, you will
discover that your VAP, too, will find its legs.
In the previous lesson we learned how to
identify the forest from the trees when on the search for your
companys best VAP foot forward. Its now time to enter
those woodlands and to get the word out to its inhabitants.
Heres where your organizations
communications professionals begin to flex their muscles. These
are the folks that will take your VAP, create a message around
it, and share it with the people who will give it the best legs
The key to VAP usage is to state its strengths
clearly and succinctly. Far too often a companys enthusiasm
for its VAP leads to too much icing and not enough cake. The individuals
with whom you will be sharing your VAP messagemedia, analysts,
target customersexist in a marketplace muddled with an endless
array of existing communication messages. In this marketplace,
its tough to distinguish between the real gems and the cubic
zirconium imitators. To reach these people means getting to the
core of your VAP, and fast: you often have but one chance
to have your voice heard. Make it count.
If your widgets strength lies in a
1/10th speed advantage over the competition, begin
your VAP communication from that exact point. Expressing your
VAP is akin to a bottom line approach to communications:
just the facts, maam.
Communication professionals often refer
to this bottom line communications approach as an elevator
pitch, meaning, what you would tell a person about your
company and/or product if you had a mere couple of sentences for
them to ingest before they exited on the 12th floor.
At the heart of this pitch lies your VAP.
Whether its a reporter, an analyst
or your next best customer, stay true to your VAP by using that
as a stepping-stone when describing your company or its latest,
greatest product. Example: your 1/10th faster widget
may, in fact, also be one outstanding-looking product, aesthetically
speaking. However, if your VAP lies in its speed advantage, discussions
of its appearance are best left to follow-up and/or later communication.
Fighting the urge to stray from your core
strength, your companys VAP will almost always yield the
most positive results. This ensures that your VAP is what remains
in the memories of reporters, analysts and potential customers.
Thus, it is what ultimately separates your widgets voice
from that of the competition.
Give your VAP its legs by stating
its message with confidence. Ensure that it lands in its desired
location by sticking to the bottom line approach to