Does Your Brand Need an Elevator Pitch?

5 Ways to Give Your Brand a Lift

An elevator pitch is the description of a person or business that’s boiled down to its bare essence. These few sentences convey the major concepts in under two minutes, the time that it takes for an elevator to go from the bottom floor to the top floor.

Why does a brand, which uses logos and tag lines, need an elevator pitch?

In today time-squeezed, message-filled world, it’s difficult for brands to break through and hold your target market’s attention long enough for your communication to reach them and make an impact. Logos and tag lines by themselves may be too short or cryptic without more context for your audience to grasp in a short period of time. Add to this clutter the ever-expanding social media exchanges and your brand may be afloat in a sea of noise. As a brand, it’s critical that consumers recall your essence without thinking too hard.

5 Ways to create your brand’s elevator pitch

To fashion your brand’s elevator pitch, take a step back and think of some of the following thought provoking exercises to generate a list of ideas. It can be helpful to invite a broad cross section of employees and others who work with your marketing and creative to brainstorm.

  1. Paint the town. Does color affect your brand? If so, how? Is it closely associated with one color? For example, UPS: What can brown do for you? Don’t forget to think about other connections. For example, green may be associated with envy or with being environmentally friendly.
  2. Show your age. While women rarely admit their age, it may be helpful for a brand. It can position your brand to be in-sync with your audience. For other brands it can carry a sense of history. What matters is how you incorporate  age into your pitch as a positive factor.
  3. Stake your turf. Does location enhance your brand? Is its hometown part of its essence? Does it add to the brand’s personality? Does the brand’s location have an impact on the accent, language and idioms it uses?
  4. Draw on well-established images. The idea is to draw a parallel between your offering and something that your audience understands. It can be a product, a well-known person or an idea. Does the comparison work for your product? Can you create a variation on it?
  5. Use popular culture. Does a book, magazine, movie, television show or musical band help explain your brand? Do you want this association to be planted in your audience’s mind? Is it positive for your brand?

Bear in mind that these questions aren’t to be taken literally. Rather, you should use the broader set of attributes and incorporate them into something that’s uniquely your brand. It can be very helpful to make your brand stand out in your prospects’ minds. Consider how this positions your brand relative to the competition. For example, at a recent tradeshow, a mobile company used confusing technology-infused lingo to describe their firm. Several minutes and multiple questions later, I realized that the company was a mobile ad network focused on jobs.

For your brand to penetrate and make an impact that builds relationships with your prospects, create an elevator pitch that expresses your brand essence in a way that’s memorable and can be easily shared without diluting its meaning.

If you have other suggestions that would help readers, would you please add them in the comment section below.

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen


Tip of my hat to Chris Brogan’s Peter Shankman inspired post, “What magazine are you?” takes the respondent away from introspection and focuses on products where there’s no emotional connection.

For further help developing your brand’s elevator pitch, here are some related readings:

Photo credit: Gruntzooki via Flickr

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