When someone asks what you or your organization does, are you prepared with an on-message, concise explanation? If somebody asked 10 people in your organization what your company does, would they get similar answers? If not, you may be missing countless opportunities to establish and reinforce brand awareness. To maintain consistency of message across all your audiences, I suggest you develop and share an elevator speech with your organization.
Okay, everyone might now know what an elevator speech is (you can probably figure it out). Simply put, an elevator speech is brief description of your organization—who you are, what you do and why it matters — delivered in the time it would take to move between floors in an elevator (that’s not a long time).
An effective elevator speech should leave your audience wanting more, while answering the essential questions about your organization. A great place to start your elevator speech is to adapt your boilerplate (e.g. the paragraph at the end of press releases or other marketing collateral). Whether you have a boilerplate or not, here are four tips for creating an intriguing elevator speech:
1. Incorporate a positioning statement. Why should someone care about you, your organization or endeavor? When possible, leverage an emotional connection.
2. Include a distinctive. For example were you the first or only one to do something? Perhaps you are the largest or oldest. These distinctives help set you apart and provide credibility.
3. Don’t forget the basics. Who does your organization/endeavor benefit? How does your organization benefit someone?
4. Finish with an ‘ask’. If applicable, be sure to close by saying what others can do to get involved and incorporate a website address where people can get more information.
Bonus Tip: can your elevator speech answer the “so what?” question before it’s asked? When you deliver your elevator pitch, most people will unconsciously be saying “so what?” Answer it for them. For example, instead of “XYZ company makes your grass grow slower,” try “XYZ company makes your grass grow slower so you don’t have to mow it as often.” See how the “so what?” is answered in the speech?
Here’s another tool to get you started. Just fill in the blanks to start working on your elevator speech.
[YOUR COMPANY NAME] helps [TYPE OF CUSTOMER YOU SERVE MOST] to [BENEFIT/VALUE YOU DELIVER]. Unlike other companies that provide similar solutions, [YOUR COMPANY] [DIFFERENTIATOR – HOW YOU DO IT DIFFERENT – THIS IS WHERE YOU ANSWER THE “SO WHAT?”].
Want to see it in action? Let’s answer the question, “What Does Journalistics Do?”
Journalistics is a blog about public relations and journalism, helping communications professionals keep up to date with the latest trends and developments in the industry. Unlike other mainstream PR trades and blogs, Journalistics takes a no-nonsense approach to its content, often providing honest, practical advice PR professionals and put into action today.
It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. I’m sure Jeremy would have a much different take on the elevator pitch for Journalistics, but it’s a good illustration for how you can start to put yours together.
About Jocelyn Broder
Jocelyn Broder is vice president at Robin Tracy Public Relations. She has managed the communications efforts of one of the world’s most recognized brands–Coca-Cola–and launched turn-key communications initiatives for some of the world’s most respected ministries, non-profit organizations, authors and publishers (including two book campaigns that made all four national best-seller lists). Before finding her love for PR, Jocelyn was a writer at The Oregonian, a top 25 newspaper.
(Image Credit: Elevator, MCA Denver by chad_k / Flickr)