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Writing an Elevator Message

In corporate communications, it is essential to crystallize your purpose and mission in a short, succinct message that describes what your company does. Imagine taking a short ride on an elevator and someone asks what your company does. The message of course goes even further than an elevator ride; it should be delivered as an opener when meeting new people or organizations related to your business. These elevator messages are not taglines, but rather a short message that clearly defines a company, product, brand, or even a person.

Companies must look for a positioning message that separates them from the rest of the pack…I like to call it an FBO (first/best/only). What does the company do that was first to the market, only in the market, or best in the market. This differentiator or positioning angle grabs attention and separates you from the masses. Good is not good enough and middle of the road loses sales—strive to be the best at one particular phase in business, life, etc.

Take for example the new Mercedes-Benz 2010 S400 HYBRID Sedan. The company states: “The 2010 S400 HYBRID Sedan delivers extraordinary fuel efficiency without sacrificing any of the legendary S-Class performance and luxury.” Pretty clear…hybrid, fuel efficiency, performance and luxury.

With the elevator message, companies should address what the organization does, why it is different, and what’s in it for the customer. Of course, strive for something memorable (for you and the recipient) that rolls off the tongue. Then, after the elevator message, a more lengthy discussion can take place.

What is more effective…”I’m a doctor.” Or, “I’m a pediatrician in Peabody helping families with young children.” The company should consider themselves a solution provider who solves problems, relieves pain, and provides benefits.

President Lincoln is often considered our greatest president-perhaps, it comes from what might be his clear, concise, and powerful elevator message, “I saved the union and freed the slaves.”

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