Deliver Your Elevator Pitch with a Twist

You only get one chance to make a first impression, make sure you’re ready to seize your moment.

No matter what category your brand competes in, it’s becoming harder to stand out since your potential customers are bombarded with so much information every day. That’s why it’s so important to have a really tight elevator pitch. It helps people “get” what you stand for right away and then quickly decide whether they want to learn more about your brand.

Write down your pitch in no more than 250 words and continue to practice and perfect it. Start with one headline promise that highlights what your brand enables, not what you offer – and three support points. Rotate and freshen these points depending on your target audience, but be prepared to tell your story in the time it would take to travel 3 elevator flights, not 30 or even 10.

Learn more about honing your elevator pitch in the 8 tips here:

1. Pay attention to your audience, what motivates them? Your pitch can and should vary somewhat by audience, know what your “ask” is. Do you want an introduction to someone else, a purchase, an investment, coverage on a blog? Know this up front and make sure you ask for what you want by the close.

2. Talk about what your brand enables people to do – not just what you offer – an emotional promise fulfilled will create a loyal user.

3. Add something personal and memorable to your story – perhaps something visual – the best stories give specific details we can connect with.

4. Think about your story in terms of a headline and three supporting points – more than three is hard for your audience to remember.

5. Try out different versions on different people – see which ones get the lean forward effect, and which ones elicit a yawn or maybe a distracted eye roll.

6. Keep honing and editing – a story is never actually finished. New events happen that are significant and should be incorporated. Also updating stories keeps them fresh and interesting.

7. Have a short version, but be ready to follow up with more – think about your elevator ride for your elevator pitch. Make sure you have the two-floor version but also be prepared for the twenty-floor ride to the penthouse

8. Notice stories that move you and why. This could be a movie, things you read in the newspaper… Think about what elements of that story caught your attention and is there a parallel element that could help you tell your own brand story? I don’t mean copying the content, but maybe borrowing the technique.


Brand building doesn’t mean just designing a pretty logo and creating a cool name. It means choosing a bull’s eye target and defining your unique brand promise to connect with your consumers on an emotional level. Bottom line: you need to pay attention to your brand if you’re not already. And perfecting your elevator pitch is a huge part of that.

Now you can, with Brand School’s highly effective, premier branding program.  Brand School takes best practices of beloved brands such as Virgin, Apple, and Zappos and teaches you how to apply their knowledge to build your brand. We give you engaging videos, interactive exercises and exclusive access to a private community of fellow entrepreneurs. Learn more about the next session of Brand School HERE.

“It was great pulling everything together from touch points, to pillars. I would recommend Brand School to any small biz owner or entrepreneur.” – Sarah Weiss, Event Consulting

Try to Get Fired

This post is part of our series, “Thirteen Tips For Stronger Branding.” See the rest of the series HERE.


Often, we are our own worst enemies. We come up with a fresh idea, then immediately censor it. “What if my boss doesn’t like it?” “What if it fails and I get fired?” This kind of thinking blocks innovation and is actually hindering your productivity and growth, whether you know it or not.

To snap out of the mindset you’re currently in, I encourage you to try this exercise. Start brainstorming new ideas, and make the objective of your brainstorming to think specifically of ones that would get you fired. I’m not talking about spreading company gossip on your Facebook page or throwing up on the CEO at your holiday party (Yikes. Did anyone actually do that?). I’m also definitely not encouraging you to actually get fired; work experience and a 401K is sometimes too valuable to just give up.

I’m talking about creating an idea that deliberately takes you out of your habitual comfort zone. By thinking in this way, going to the extreme opposite of what’s expected, you actually ladder up your thinking. You might just come up with a nugget of an idea that’s pitch-worthy, even brilliant and highly-marketable. Read more on this creative-thinking technique here. 

Check out tip #6 in the series, Fail Harder.



For more actionable strategies, sign up for Brand School, the premier program that  teaches you how to grow your business by growing a stronger brand. From bull’s eye targeting to strategic social media and more – Brand School shares current best practices from Virgin and the world’s best brands  and teaches you how to apply these lessons to your business for greater impact from day one. To receive up to date news of the next semester and special offers for BrandTwist social media friends, sign up for the BrandTwist newsletter HERE

“I learned a lot from Brand School.  It inspired me to think outside the box. I have a much deeper understanding of how to effectively build a brand.” – Mike Sass, Entrepreneur


Want to Get Promoted? Try to Get Fired

Stuck in an innovation rut? Here’s a technique that will help get those creative juices flowing again.

Give yourself this task: “What idea could I come up with that would get me fired?”

I’m not talking about spreading company gossip on Facebook or throwing up all over the CEO at the office summer party.

I’m talking about creating an idea for your brand that seems so patently absurd that it could get you fired.

By thinking in this way, going to the extreme opposite of what’s expected, you actually free up your thinking and might just come up with a nugget of an idea that could be refined into something more plausible, maybe even brilliant and highly marketable.

Here’s an example

Helping Creatives Become Better Presenters

Is a killer idea poorly presented still a killer idea?

Maybe, but it probably has less of a chance of getting sold through.

In my experience, many of the qualities that make creative people great creatives, don’t always make them effective presenters.

I am of course generalizing, but sometimes creative types seem more comfortable interacting with their macs then they do with actual human beings across a conference table.Especially when the conference room is quite full.

Or since they don’t want to be too “salesy” (which is understandable) they come across as lacking  conviction or passion for their ideas.

That’s why I was intrigued when a former Interbrand colleague, Darrell Hayden, emailed me and told me he had created a methodology designed specifically to help designers and other creative people hone and improve their presentation skills.

It’s called Speaking of Creative. Check out his website and you can see Darrell in action with some of his students.

Making Working from Home, Work

Snow is blanketing much of the North East and schools are closed and businesses are urging many people not to commute. So maybe you, like me, are working from home today.

Maybe this is a once in a while occurrence, or maybe it’s part of your regular routine.

But it got me thinking about an article I read in the MIT Sloan Management Review titled Set Up Remote Workers to Thrive and how to make working from home work (for entrepreneurs or both employee and employer).


According to the article, more than 10% of the 2010 work force telecommutes from home, more than triple the levels of 2000.

Lots of forces are at play here. Better remote technology, a shift towards more freelance labor particularly in areas like IT, accounting and public relations.  I am sure there is also a rise in consultants due to the downsizing in many large corporations that also contributes to this rising trend.

The article sites some clear cost savings benefits for employers; IBM saves $100 Million a year by allowing 42% of employees to work remotely.

There are also many benefits for employees including more flexibility, lower commuting costs, and saved commuting time which presumably can be re-invested in family time.

There are also several challenges outlined;

#1 Finding the Right Work-Life Balance

#2 Overcoming Workplace Isolation