Demand Generation I-Kit for Underutilized, Life Saving Commodities

Step 4: Select Key Messages

Examples of objectives, positioning and key messages for each of the commodities are provided below as illustrative examples. These examples should be adapted to the country context.

guys around tableThe message strategy is one of the most important elements of a communication strategy. It drives the rest of the program and ensures synergy, consistency and coordination for the purposes of shared objectives and clear, harmonized messaging among all stakeholders and partners. A message strategy is designed for each primary and influencing audience and includes (a) communication objectives, (b) positioning, and (c) key messages. As previously mentioned, audience profiles are used to determine whether or not the objectives, positioning and key messages are appropriate for that individual.


Communication Objectives

Communication objectives are measurable statements that clearly and concisely state what the target audience should know (think), what they should believe (feel), and what they should do (behave) as well as the time frame required for the change. “SMART” objectives are Specific; Measurable; Attainable; Relevant; and Time-bound. Communication objectives should be derived from available evidence on the factors that drive or inhibit adoption by target users, as well as influencing audiences.


Positioning is the heart of the demand generation strategy and identifies the most compelling and unique benefit that the product offers the target audience. Positioning is often the emotional "hook" upon which the demand generation strategy hinges. Effective positioning moves beyond the functional benefits of the commodity and appeals to the target audience with emotional benefits.

Positioning presents the desired behavior in a way that is both persuasive and appealing to the target audience. It provides direction for developing a memorable identity, shapes the development of messages, and helps determine the communication channels to be used. Positioning ensures that messages have a consistent voice and that all planned activities reinforce each other for a cumulative effect.

As part of the positioning, a key promise is identified that highlights the main benefit associated with the proposed change. Changes in behavior, policies, and social norms are made only because there is a perceived benefit to those changes. The benefit must outweigh the personal cost of the change.

An accompanying support statement, also called a “reason to believe” in marketing, describes why the audience should believe the promise. This could be based on data, peer testimonials, a statement from a reliable source, or a demonstration. The key promise and support statement should include a balance of emotion and reason.

Key Messages

Key messages outline the core information that will be conveyed to audiences in all materials and activities. Messages cut across all channels, and must reinforce each other across these channels. When all approaches communicate iterative and harmonized key messages, effectiveness increases. Well-designed messages are specific to the audience of interest, and clearly reflect both a specific behavioral determinant and positioning. They also clearly describe the desired behavior, which must be “doable” for the audience. Key messages are not the text that appears in print materials (taglines), or the words that are used to define a campaign (slogans). Creative professionals are often hired to translate key messages into a creative brief, which is a document for creative agencies or internal teams that guides the development of communication materials or media products, including taglines and slogans.

It is important that key messages are always:

  • Developed on the basis of country-specific formative research;
  • Derived from context-specific, strategic choices regarding segmentation, targeting, and positioning;
  • Addressed to known drivers of and barriers to behavior change in the country context; and
  • Pre-tested with the target audience and refined based on audience engagement.


Illustrative Examples of Objectives, Positioning and Key Messages, by target audience:

By clicking on the links above, you can view these examples by step either as a preview (which does not require download) or download in MS Word or PDF. A full version of each commodity strategy is also available under “Adaptable Strategies” in the right sidebar in MS Word or PDF formats. The full strategy includes both guidance and illustrative content for the entire strategy.

About the Life-Saving Commodities in Maternal and Newborn Health

Misoprostol Magnesium Sulfate Chlorhexidine

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