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Chapter
3

Start building your elevator pitch with the seven elements

We’ve established that an elevator pitch simply can’t capture everything you do or all the positive stuff about your freelance business.

But it can focus on the best stuff. And the best stuff can be found in several areas.

So in this step, we’ll break down the elements of our elevator pitch into certain elements to focus your brainstorming. These elements are the building blocks that your elevator pitch will be built on top of. 

But first, let’s review. Recall from Step One the things an elevator pitch can do for you:

  • Open the conversation.

  • Create associations in the listener’s mind.

  • Intrigue the listener to want to learn more.

There are many ways to accomplish those objectives. Pleasant surprise: you’re probably using some of them in your communications already.

These seven building blocks are the most common elements of an elevator pitch. Let’s go ahead and call them the “Seven Elements”:

  1. Category – your competitive frame

  2. Target – who you serve

  3. Offering – what you do

  4. Difference – what makes you better

  5. Result/Benefit – what your target gets

  6. Need/Problem – what triggers your target to seek a solution

  7. Pain – what needs fixing in the current way of doing things 

My responses to the seven elements

It always helps to see an example, so here are some ways I could answer each of these questions for my one-man consultancy, Three Deuce Branding

By way of background, my consultancy does core brand strategy, positioning, messaging and ideation only – no marketing plans, no execution. 

Category

  • Marketing consultant

  • Brand strategy consultant

  • Core brand strategy consultant

  • Strategy pal

  • Partner in brand guidance

Target

  • Challenger brands

  • Second-stage brands or larger

  • Brand leaders and executives

  • Companies in my network and Chicagoland

Offering

  • Core brand strategy

  • Positioning, strategy, and guidance

  • Positioning, strategy, messaging, and ideation

Difference

  • I handle every project personally – no junior partner

  • 25 years of experience

  • A process that involves the entire company, not just the marketing team

  • I only solve the most important brand questions – what you stand for, who you serve, how you’ll win

Result/Benefit

  • Brand clarity

  • Growth

  • Internal alignment

  • Standing out in a crowded market

Need/Problem

  • “I don’t know where to start to build my brand”

  • “It’s a competitive market and we’re getting lost in it”

  • “We know we could be more focused, but we don’t know what to focus on”

Pain

  • Most branding programs are too overstuffed and cluttered to be useful

  • The industry makes branding seem mysterious and difficult when it’s neither

  • There are an infinite number of things you could do to build your brand, but only a few are truly effective

A few things you may have noticed in my own answers above:

  • Some answers are better than others. This is good! For example, in my “Category” answers, I included “marketing consultant” – even though I would never use this descriptor because it’s just too vague. (More on pitfalls like this in the next step!) But capturing it on paper gets it out of my head and leads to other, more precise answers like “core brand strategy consultant.” So if you create some “wrong” answers of your own, you’re doing the exercise correctly. Getting the “wrong” answers out of your brain creates space for new answers to emerge.

  • Variations on a theme are not only fine but encouraged! In my case, in the “Offering” element, I tinkered with “core brand strategy,” “positioning, strategy and guidance” and “positioning, strategy, messaging and ideation.” All are technically accurate, but each emphasizes something a little different. And sometimes a simple one-word tweak can unlock the whole thing.

  • The goal is not beautiful, market-ready copywriting. The goal is to capture ideas on paper. The wordsmithing comes later.

  • If you have formal research or anecdotal feedback, use it! My “Need” statements came directly from the mouths of my clients and prospects. 

Exercise C: brainstorm your own answers to the Seven Elements

Use the prompts provided in the workbook to generate multiple answers for the Seven Elements.

Aim for at least three, and as many as 10 or more, possibilities for each of the Seven Elements. Don’t evaluate – just let the ideas hit the paper without judgment.

You’re not looking for the one “right” answer; you’re looking to generate as many possibilities as you can. This will inevitably include some “wrong” answers – so this is your permission to get it wrong.

Don’t worry about beautiful copywriting. That comes later. Just get the words down on paper in whatever language feels comfortable and natural to you.

If you have customer research or anecdotal feedback, use it.

These will be used in the next step, so don’t skip this step!

Final step: usually, at this point, you’ll have one or two (okay, maybe three) answers to each of the Seven Elements that feel “best.” Go back and highlight these. You’ll be using them in the next step.

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