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RENEWPR Messaging Case Study

Understanding An Industry to

Determine How Best to Tell its Story 


In 2015, the National Association of Workforce Boards was considering how best to inform target audiences of the relevance of the work of their members within the context of the economic and community development conversations taking place nationwide. The NAWB decided it wanted to take a fresh look at its messaging and determine the simplest, clearest language to use with its multiple audiences in communicating the importance of workforce development to our nation’s economy. 



At the suggestion of a RENEWPR Network Partner, NAWB hired Ben to help identify, develop and finalize messaging materials that the association staff could use internally and share with members nationwide. After internal discussions and a literature review, Ben recommended that the messaging be focused on three specific elements: definitive language (e.g. who NAWB is, what they do and why that’s relevant), declarative language (e.g. a point of view on one or more of the key issues NAWB and its members lead on) and thematic language (e.g. talking points on the key national topics that are relevant to NAWB’s work and impact). 



Ben worked with NAWB staff to develop an initial definitive messaging draft for use by NAWB staff in providing basic background and context for NAWB’s work to be used in all external communications (including press statements, speeches, materials, web and social media language, etc.). Once edited and completed, Ben worked with NAWB staff and members to develop declarative and thematic messaging for use by NAWB members in positioning their work within the context of local, regional and national conversations on workforce issues, job creation and economic development. Ben then developed a presentation based on the final two messaging elements and delivered a presentation on their use to a standing room only audience at the NAWB Forum in 2016. NAWB and its members continue to refine and use the messaging on an ongoing basis. 

National Associatio of Workforce Boards

We enjoyed working with Ben on our first-ever attempt to take a different look at our messaging. Ben took the time to understand who we are, what were critical values to us, what we needed and how best to develop it. He then worked with us to identify ways to actively engage our members in the development, approval and use of the final work product. We continue to rely on the work Ben did for us and we appreciate the important role he played in helping us develop a clear, consistent approach to talking about our association, our mission, our members and our work.

Ron Painter, President and CEO, National Association of Workforce Boards 

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