Imagine trying to describe an elephant to someone who’s never seen one. Now imagine everyone in your company describing this elephant, each in their own special way. We’re going to have one interesting looking elephant. In the same way, a lot of people within an organization understand the organization they’re part of, but not how to describe it, how to tell its “brand story”. Or, its employer brand story.

If your company is investing in a thorough EVP development process, the message architecture protects that investment by giving everyone a clear and common vocabulary. It lets people talk about your employer brand in compelling, consistent ways, ensuring it becomes much more than just a line. It gives HR managers, hiring managers, recruiters and other personnel material for the different audiences they have to address that’s distinct and relevant to them, yet still cohesive to a central employer brand story.

Boilerplate inspires … no one.

Boilerplate is that standard paragraph or two that an organization uses to describe itself. Let’s say you’re a hospital: “A 350-bed primary care facility dedicated to healing the sick – body, mind and soul.” Switch out the number of beds, and you’re Any Hospital, USA. Worse, people you’re hiring – physicians, nurses, therapists, IT people, administrators – probably heard the exact same thing at the last nine hospitals they spoke to.

The message architecture lets you rise above that with messages unique to your organization, the collection of truths that make it what it is. For recruiters, a good message architecture is even better than that. It’s a handy, time- and confusion-saving reference book that helps you communicate your organization to people you want to hire with honesty, clarity – and context.

What a message architecture should do:

    • It gives you overall language – messaging pillars – for discussing what’s unique about your company ’s employment experience in clear, true and positive terms.
    • It breaks down your major hiring groups or specialty fields, audience by audience.
    • It tells you, employment-wise, what’s on each group’s mind.
    • It gives you specific information and talking points, proven and relevant, to share with each of these groups.

Ultimately, it gives your employer brand narrative both depth and relevancy.

Back to our hospital example. It surely has a unique and compelling brand story beyond the number of beds, just as your organization has a story beyond its number of employees or locations. The process of developing your brand positioning forces that story to the surface, and the message architecture gives you language to tell it. Consider also that the hospital’s employee groups – physicians and IT people, for example – have very different career dreams, and each plays a distinct role within the organization. Again, the process of building your brand story forces those differences to the surface, along with what you can offer each group. The message architecture respects those groups by keeping your communications relevant to them.

JWT INSIDE has created effective message architectures for many of our clients. We’d love to show you how creating a message architecture can make it easier for you to tell your brand story while keeping your communications consistent and effective.

To learn more, e-mail us at

Larry has worked at JWT INSIDE as a writer, creative director, and associate creative director since 1988. As the head writer in the Los Angeles office, Larry brings to JWT his life-long fascination with the power of words and their ability to influence ideas and actions.