A three hour interactive workshop to create your elevator pitch
Resonate with your natural audience. Learn the art of the elevator pitch and harness the power of your story.
Friday, March 21, 2014
2:30 – 5:30 pm
800 St. Paul St.
Baltimore, MD 21204
Learn the art of the elevator pitch and harness the power of your story.
Who would benefit?
If brand is how your customers perceive you, then positioning (your elevator speech) is where you fit into their lives. Your elevator speech is the story of your future value. An elevator speech is a short, persuasive description of a person, organization or group, or an idea for a product, service, or project. The elevator speech shines a light on the story of your higher purpose and why it matters. Your elevator speech is the key that gets you in the door of your next customer.
Produced by Heather Bradbury
Delivered by Peter Davis Branding
A leader’s most powerful asset is the story of what he or she wants and why it matters. Mandela, Gandhi and MLK each moved mountains with story. In business, typically, the story changes many times before it reaches your employees, customers and stakeholders. Your message gets weaker as it moves farther and farther from the source.
As a leader, you are your company’s principal storyteller. Employees, customers and stakeholders all look to you to set the theme and develop the plot. Tell a great story and they all want to be characters in it. Every business transaction becomes charged with meaning and drama. In a good story, threats and setbacks are sources of narrative suspense, motivating the protagonists to fresh feats of ingenuity and daring. If you want your employees to act like heroes, you’ve got to provide them with an epic. A leader’s most powerful asset is story.
Manifesto—Declare your intentions and beliefs.
From Wikipedia — A
is a published verbal declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government.
Do you have a personal or business manifesto? Developing a set of principles that you believe in and constantly strive to stand by is important. If your brand signifies : I am like this,” then your manifesto is a bright beacon that attracts your natural audience and allies.
Care and dare
Feel more, think less
Want more, take less
Is there a manifesto that you’ve always admired? Here are a few that I admire.
The Architect: Frank Lloyd Wright.
1.An honest ego in a healthy body.
2. An eye for nature.
3. A heart to feel nature.
4. Courage to follow nature.
5. The sense of proportion (humor).
6. Appreciation of work as idea and idea as work.
7. Fertility of imagination.
8. Capacity for faith and rebellion.
9. Disregard for commonplace (inorganic) elegance.
10. Instinctive cooperation.
The Designer: John Maeda
1. Reduce: The simplest way to achieve simplicity is through thoughtful reduction.
2. Organize: Organization makes a system of many appear fewer.
3. Time: Savings in time feel like simplicity.
4. Learn. Knowledge makes everything simpler.
5. Differences: Simplicity and complexity need each other.
6. Context: What lies in the periphery of simplicity is definitely not peripheral.
7. Emotion: More emotions are better than less.
8. Trust: In simplicity we trust.
9. Failure: Some things can never be made simple.
10. The One: Simplicity is about subtracting the obvious, and adding the meaningful.
Contact your most profitable clients and offer to listen to what they have to say about your offerings and your company. From the results you’ll know whether it’s time to repair or nurture the relationship, or if you have the green light to ask for new business.
No one inside your company (or your competitors) has the time to do this. This could be your greatest competitive advantage. It will cost you much less than a) getting new client or b) hiring expensive consulting firms or creative agencies who are motivated by inflated billings.
Every business person I talk to complains that he or she is too busy: too busy putting out fires, too busy getting new clients, too busy meeting project deadlines, and too busy protecting their turf. I call this business as usual .
The problem with business as usual is that it undermines your reputation and considerable business is lost (or avoided!) from the very source where it can be won most…your existing client base. You worked hard and spent much to win them. Don’t lose them and the opportunities with them that are waiting for you.
In theater, listening is the necessary skill that delivers consistent peak performances over time. Listening is a simple act. It requires us to be present, and that takes practice, but we don’t have to do anything else. We don’t have to advise, or coach, or sound wise. There’s profit in listening. We just have to be willing.
Out of college I produced theater in southern New Mexico, mounting a new production every four to six weeks non-stop for 5 years. People rehearsed with me for three hours a night after working eight hours a day. Then they performed on the weekends, all for little or no money. Why would they do this? Working together in service of something greater than you is very satisfying. Theater is a culture of commitment. At the core of theater is belief. Theater people have unlimited belief power. If a 16 year old playing Mark Anthony in a high school production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar believes he’s Mark Anthony, then we believe it to. Even though we already know the story the meaning of it bears repeating. And most of all we get to experience the meaning of it together with others. Years later living and working in Chicago, I realized that, through brand, business can offer the same experience as theater; I became a brand strategy consultant.
Being human is to make meaning, together. Business people, and rightly so, believe in profit, shareholder value, market share, annihilating the competition, and so on. This may not be compelling or relevant for employees. Even when you pay them they’re unhappy. Knowing you’re in it for the money doesn’t endear much customer loyalty either. Branding is a way of signifying through story, symbols and metaphor, what you believe in and why it matters. It’s a beacon to attract fellow believers to the cause.
There are many business leaders who have a higher purpose. When fulfilled, profit is the by product. If you are one of those leaders, or speak for one of them, I want to meet you. Coffee is on me.
Branding is about the law of attraction. Modern branding harnesses the power of story to attract your most profitable customer. Your story is like a beacon that helps people who want to buy from you, work for you, and invest in you find you in a noisy cluttered marketplace.
What’s in it for you?
Your executives, managers and employees make decisions more strategically and do business more efficiently.
There is unity between your vision and strategy. Marketing and sales are in alignment instead of being at odds with each other. Your story has integrity and rings true. You have message impact and consistency across channels.
Your sales are more profitable, your customers more loyal, and employees more committed to your cause.
It’s the one thing you own that your competition can’t replicate. It is the most compelling way to explain your value, difference and relevance.
Why Peter Davis Branding?
I’m the only brand strategist who is a playwright and director. I know how stories connect with people down deep where they make critical decisions…emotionally. I’ll work with you to make your story a compelling and powerful force so that you can make the difference you were put on earth for.
This week we’re talking to Steve Ziger, a partner at Ziger/Snead, a Baltimore architecture studio with a national reputation for design excellence. Ziger/Snead’s predominantly urban expertise includes work for academic campuses, cultural institutions, non-profit headquarters and community centers, religious spaces, urban redevelopment and mixed-use projects, and custom residential design.
Peter: Where does your passion lie?
Steve: In community. I love being an architect and being able to design places for people to use, live in, and enjoy. I’m in a profession and a position to give back, and I’m passionate about that.
Peter: You use architecture to do what?
Steve: I’m fundamentally an optimist. In order to enter this profession you have to believe there is a good future and that you can contribute to that future. So we use architecture to make your community a better place. Make places where people get together, that are the focus of a community. That’s why we focused our practice primarily on cultural, institutional and educational projects. Those buildings can be the nexus of a community. We know in our hearts that design matters. I’ve wanted to be an architect ever since I was seven years old.
I think our role as architects is to translate the aspirations of our client institutions into physical form for the long term. Most of our work will live much beyond our life time, and hopefully be appreciated for generations. There’s something nice about that timeless aspect to what we do…leaving a mark on the city that we love.
Peter: How does design matter?
Steve: Design itself is a process. There are design products at the end of that, like buildings, furniture or clothing. It really is more a way of approaching the world, thinking about the world. It starts with identifying a problem or an issue. Looking at options on how to approach it, and valuating those in an iterative process based around an idea of how something can be better. The design itself is a result of intellectual and creative synthesis.
Once you have a design you have to implement it. With most things it’s a collaborative process from the designing itself to the implementation. In architecture it takes hundreds, often thousands of people to go from vision to reality. It’s that collaborative process, of getting people to focus on the end vision, that’s a real challenge…part of the creative process.
An art teacher once said, that “Art radiates the energy it takes to create it. So, invest everything you have. And the piece will shine.” I’d like to think that architecture is that way.
Peter: How does a business leader show what he or she cares about besides making money?
Steve: Back to community; that’s an easy one for me. We’re very invested in this community. I was one of the founders of the Baltimore Design School, which is a three year old transformation school in Baltimore City. It’s sixth through twelfth grade, and focuses on architecture and design and fashion. It was the vision of Senator Catherine Pugh. We’re so excited about this. We’re creating a national model for design thinking. We have a full middle school now and next year we start our first high school class. We move into Station North in the specially designed and renovated Lebow Building. The Superintendent, Mayor and Governor have chosen our school to walk through on the first day of classes. It’s been very well received. A lot of fabulous people on the board have come together to commit to the school because they see how important it is to have a model for design thinking that engages students at an early age. There are three or four design public high schools in the country, but we’re the only curriculum that starts in the sixth grade.
I’ve spent so much time on this, probably spent half of every week on Baltimore Design School. It’s really rewarding. We’re offering an internship to one of the students next year.
That’s my real passion right now.
Peter: If you could wave a magic wand, how would Baltimore be different in five years?
Steve: We attract residents to Baltimore City. We double our population. I would love to see a significant population growth because people have chosen to live here, because we have strong schools and we’re known as a strong cultural and art community. That we’re innovative, entrepreneurial, have great public transportation. If I’m waving a magic wand then it’s easy to come up with these things. I do think Baltimore has a lot of potential and is poised for growth.
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My goal with 5 Questions That Matter is to create a bridge between the up and coming cultural creatives and entrepreneurs driving the Baltimore Renaissance and established leaders who have made an impact in the world. We have much to learn from each other.
This week we’re talking to Paul Wolman, CEO at Feats Inc ., Board Chair of the Greater Baltimore Committee’s LEADERship Program, and Adjunct Faculty at Maryland Institute College of Art.
Peter: What inspires you?
Paul: People who are actually changing the game, developing new ideas and models, rethinking what’s possible, and raising the bar.
Peter: What makes and higher education a good fit?
Paul: Having a group (FeatsEDU) that’s fully focused on higher education gives our clients a depth of talent who share the same purpose. Our most successful work helps deliver important messages to individuals who will do something more meaningful or significant as a result.
What’s exciting is that shared experiences – the core of what we conceive and deliver - are most effective when there are important stories to tell. Colleges, universities, and, really, any organization in the business of delivering education and other human services, are typically doing transformational work - finding better ways to deliver learning, discovering cures for disease, developing our communities, etc …
Our particular expertise comes from understanding what creates impact
and what moves people to action. Designing and producing appropriate, immersive environments, programs and engaging experiences, with hat emotional or intellectual connection in mind, can result in triggering a response.
And when we do this through a continuum of experiences, we increase the likelihood of larger action. Examples include moving one from giving a wonderful contribution to making a legacy gift, or instigating one to inspire another, creating the beginning of a movement.
Peter: When asked what he was trying to do, Steve Jobs replied: “Tweak the Universe.” What are you trying to do?
Paul: Accelerate change and increase impact, one experience at a time . By helping people experience the joy that comes from seeing and, more importantly, feeling the impact of their own actions… we can mo ve the flywheel of action.
Peter: Why does that matter?
Paul: If we don’t, who will?
Peter: Besides making a profit, how does a business demonstrate what it cares about?
Paul: We say, “Feats Speak Louder Than Words”… It’s about how we as individuals, and collectively, show up, how we engage, how we help others see opportunity they didn’t see, move others to action. One of our favorite sayings is, “Think Big, Act Locally, and Instigate Others.”
If we can help others bring together their core values with the larger impact they want to have on the world, we can help them find ways to live that – not just create a promotion or marketing scheme that sounds good.
Perhaps it comes back to helping people feel the positive results of their own actions – there is such power in that.
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When is it time to rewrite your brand story? When things change, when there’s new leadership, a new process or new technology, a volatile marketplace, or when a maverick competitor takes market share, then you change your story. I’ll help you provide the context in which your story can be believably elevated.
When it’s business as usual and your story has become diluted or hijacked before it reaches your target audience….when your employees bolt for the door at five o’clock…when your sales are flat…when your departments operate in bunkered silos…when you do double down on “hard work” instead of collaborating and innovating, then it’s time to change your story. I’ll help you find common ground, something everyone can feel passionate about, find the one thing that will tip sales in your favor.
If you want your employees and stakeholders to act like heroes, then you have to provide them with an epic.
Is branding bullshit?
If you care more about your brand than your customer…yes. Relevance and difference, not awareness, make your brand strong. Stand for something people feel passionate about. Tell the story of how your great work makes your customers happy. Then prove it. Your brand will follow.
Too many companies connect their brand to market share. That usually doesn’t work. Instead use story to connect with customers down deep where they make critical decisions…emotionally.