"Most people who pitch their brand don't know that the person listening is experiencing a slow, merciless, painful death. The problem is usually that the person giving the death pitch is so embedded in the day to day of the business that they a) forget what's only necessary for an introduction, and b) assume the person they are talking to has the same level of familiarity with the industry, so they forget to speak in an easily understandable way."

Rajiv Nathan grew up writing lyrics during class in high school on the back of notebooks. He would often times write them as a way to recall information. Today he runs RajNATION Innovation which consults individuals, startups and brands on making their pitch into a performance. Rajiv is also a part time rap artist and creative.

Rajiv says, "An elevator pitch [or your quick brand story] is one of the most important parts of your business, because it's the first impression. And that's true of every employee at the company because they represent the brand wherever they go."

An elevator pitch is what you have to say about the brand in under a minute. The term comes from the idea that you could be in an elevator with someone important, and if they ask about you (or in this case your brand), you only have until the doors open to get your point across. Rajiv has actually tested this out in elevators and asked people to pitch him. He has seen people struggle to even come up with a sentence.

Rajiv is a firm believer that everyone should always have 2 pitches in their back pocket: Their 'who am I?' and their 'this is what my company is about.'

Here are 3 tips on how to make sure your brand story is well communicated and gets across effectively.

1. Understand the problem your brand addresses

Rajiv explains that the number one issue businesses face is the way they position their problem in the context of their solution and doing so too soon.

For example, he says:

I oftentimes hear things like "businesses don't have a good enough email CRM provider." Them not having your product is their big problem? And you mean to tell me this supposed problem happens to all businesses?

If you can state the real problem, identify the customer, how you approach that problem, and the solution you can provide then you are better positioned.

A good example is: Brick and mortar small businesses can't tell if a customer will come back after their first store visit. So this makes it very hard to predict revenue every month. At ACME, we found a way to use behavior science to make shopping predictions. We have this effective email CRM platform that helps a store owner know, down to the percent, how likely a person is to buy again, and when, and recommends ways to email them so they come back. You can imagine how much that helps with predicting revenue.

2. Start with a headline

Write a headline that gets people behind your brand message using this formula: Action Verb + Audience Aspiration

For example, Rajiv says, if a homeless person were to come up with a headline it can be constructed as "Be the change."

Here, Be = Action Verb, The Change = Audience Aspiration. This will instinctively get the right people behind your cause, making them feel a part of something bigger than themselves. Rajiv says, "there's also a play on words working in your favor because change also refers to the spare change you have in your pocket to give to a homeless person."

If you construct a strong headline then you will be well positioned to avoid the death by over-explanation that most people engage in. Getting your message into a headline will allow you to then build one or two sentences to follow that can elaborate on the headline in under a minute or before the elevator doors open and you need to get off.

3. Test and tweak

Take your short brand pitch and start telling everyone you come across your brand story. Testing it on an ongoing basis for live feedback will allow you to continuously tweak your story to be ever more effective.

Rajiv says, "when you tell someone new your brand story do they say, "wait, tell me more!", or "Oh...cool." I also like the eyebrow test. Do people's eyebrows go up as you talk, or down? Generally speaking, eyebrows up means they're interested, and eyebrows down means their confused or skeptical."

Talk to your team so that everyone has clarity on the brand story as you continue to grow on your journey. If everyone is out there pitching your brand story and bringing back real time feedback, your brand story will always be set up for success.

Published on: Feb 22, 2017