In business, we often refer to and utilize, the elevator speech. The origins of the term are debatable. However, the definition is very simple. If you were on an elevator and someone asked you what you do for a living (or what your company does), how would you sum up the answer in the amount of time it takes to ride the elevator? Most people limit an elevator speech (or pitch) to approximately 60 seconds.
An elevator speech should not be confused with a tagline. A company tagline is more of a one-line summary that is typically linked to the company logo. It is often in the form of a double-entendre and has its roots in the jingles of the 1950s. An elevator speech is a more lengthy description. It is also very different from a mission statement or a value proposition. The elevator speech is purely a description of your line of business.
Elevator speeches are used in many different circumstances. They are used to describe a company’s line of business. They are used by executives in transition to describe the target job they are seeking. They are used by entrepreneurs who are pitching a new business opportunity to investors. They are even used by speed-daters to describe themselves and/or their perfect partner.
In my experience, the common denominator in most elevator speeches is that they are always changing and the author is never entirely satisfied with them. I believe that it is because it is very difficult to encapsulate all of the information in 60 seconds. This is what makes an effective elevator pitch so powerful, yet so elusive.
An effective elevator pitch should describe the product, service or project in a very clear and concise way. It should describe the features/benefits and why it will be successful. This is a simple task in principle, but a difficult one in practice.
Marketing organizations have had to focus on a similar challenge with television and radio advertising. The 60-second commercial has had a very similar goal. Communicate in 60-seconds what the product or service offering is, and why you would want to engage it. With the advent of viral video marketing on YouTube and video podcasting, the art of the 60-second pitch is becoming even more common and more refined.
There are many techniques used to create an entertaining and engaging message. The following are two examples that I find very powerful. (A disclaimer – I am not connected with either of these organizations in any way. I am not endorsing their products and/or services and cannot make any comment on the value or credibility of their companies. I simply find their online videos very creative.)
www.willitblend.com – When you have one of the most powerful blenders on the market, how can you convince the public that your blender is worth the premium price? Answer – create viral videos of your product blending anything and everything.
www.skip1.org – How do you communicate the concept of “skipping” some of your simple luxuries to help those less fortunate than yourself? Watch the video in the bottom right corner of the website.
I am curious, what are some of your favorite examples of effective elevator speeches?
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