• brucemckinnon

Hold that elevator pitch!!




The elevator pitch, so the story goes, came about because the only time you got a chance to see the boss or pitch to a key customer was when they took the elevator to and from their offices, so you had better get your story straight and deliver it during that short trip.


These days, we don’t use the term elevator pitch, instead, we refer to the value proposition - but it’s essentially the same thing - simply a way of briefly summing up what the customer problem is, how you solve it and what makes you different.


The good news is social media channels mean we don’t have to wait for an elevator to pitch our brand anymore. The bad news is that along with the opportunities social media affords us, there are a great many more distractions – our attention span is dropping through the floor; in 2000 it averaged 12 seconds, now it’s 8[1]!


Couple that with fact that consumers are being bombarded with over 10,000 messages a day, the need to be crystal clear about the value you deliver is essential.


But here’s the rub, less than 10% of leadership teams can define the value proposition of their company[2]! And if the company’s leadership can’t define the brand’s value, then the team whose job it is to deliver that value won’t be able to either.


Simply put, if you can’t define the value of your brand, then consumers won’t be able to define the value of your brand. And if your brand is not seen as valuable, it will become invisible.


But the good news is that by developing a brand strategy, not only will you be able to capture the vision and values of your brand, but you’ll also end up with a value proposition. Here’s how.


Broadly speaking, there are four stages to developing a brand strategy:


Defining a vision or destination for the brand, understanding the characteristics of your audience, prioritising a set of key messages, and the final stage, developing the brand positioning, proposition, and values.


And it’s the third stage, where the messaging is developed, that will yield the value proposition. In the Brand Arrow framework, we look at 5 elements.


1. A sentence to define the customer problem

2. A sentence that provides a solution to that problem

3. 5 bullet points that capture the benefits the brand delivers

4. 5 bullet points that show how the benefits are delivered - the features

5. One single thing that differentiates the brand from its competitors


Once done, simply write out three sentences - the problem, the solution and the differentiation and you’ll have your value proposition.


Make sure to pass it through the R&D test - is the value proposition (and therefore the brand) relevant to our customers and different from the competition because if it’s not relevant you won’t have a customer and if it’s not different, why should they choose you?


So, there it is, you should now be able to clearly express the value of your brand, or as I prefer to put it, you’ll know, what’s your point!


You can, by the way, read more about this and how to generate all the elements that go into a brand strategy by reading my award-winning book ‘What’s Your Point?’ that can be purchased from Amazon. The book explores how brand strategy can fuel business growth, referencing some of the world’s most successful brands as well as sharing case studies from his own global consulting practice. You can work with Bruce in a number of ways, from mentoring to one-day workshops to consultancy, to find out more click here

[1] Ainsworth R. “Attention spans are getting shorter. Or are they?” Source Global Research. Available at: https://www.sourceglobalresearch.com/attention-spans-are-getting-shorter-or-are-they (Accessed: 16 July 2019) [2] Bruce McDuffee. “Only7% of leadership teams can articulate a common brand proposition! Can you?” Available at: https://www.mmmatters.com/blog/value-proposition (Accessed: 04 January 2022)



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