My brother is starting out in business for himself, and as we have begun talking through what he needs to do to begin marketing himself, I realised that there is much that I know that I have not shared with him. For example, he doesn’t know much about my work and the way that I go about my business … he reads my blog but confesses that he understands very little … and even when I try to explain concepts I can see him nodding while glazing over.

I have been fortunate enough in my various careers to have been given opportunities that have expanded my knowledge and skills. Often I have taken an approach from one discipline (say organisational design) and applied it to another with great success (say branding). And always, I have tried to break down processes so that the clear next step can be discerned.

So when I read Russell Davies’ recent call for propositions on maple syrup for his Account Planning School of the Web, I was reminded of how easy it is to forget the basics. And after coming up with a proposition or two … where do you go? For me … I go to key themes and messages. From there I go to in-depth audience analysis and segmentation. And then to a fuller campaign or comms plan. I also have a rather groovy individual initiative plan that helps plan each piece of communication in a modular way … but woah — I am getting way ahead of myself.

In order to help my brother out, I decided to put together a little template that tries to explain how to build your key themes and messages. It is only a template … so you still have to do the hard creative work yourself — but it is a structure that you can work with. It is free for you all to take and use as you see fit — and if you have additions or things that I have missed, please let me know.

Oh yeah … and if you find this useful let me know and I will do up some others that help make sense of the way that we communicate.