Forget the elevator speech. Can you deliver your brand's story in 6 words? In this short attention span electronic culture, people are willing to give you less and less time to "pitch" your business. And how many of us actually have elevator rides that last 30 – 60 seconds? So, what's the solution?
On my way into work today, I heard about the Six-Word Memoir Project on NPR. It's basically about how can you tell your life's story or some moment in you life in six words. You have to have a story arch, tell us something important and do it in six words. Apparently it stems back to a legend someone had challenged Ernest Hemingway to write a story in six words. He wrote, "Baby shoes, for sale, never worn." Now there's a whole movement through Smith Magazine and it's spanned several best selling books. The stories range from fun to sad to poignant. One little girl's six-word story was, "Nine years stacked upon my soul."
It got me to thinking, can you come up with a six-word story for your business, service or product? It's both very easy and very hard. On one hand, it's "hey, I only have to come up with six words" but on the other, it's how do I condense what I do into that few words and still tell my story." The good thing is it makes you boil down your business, profession, product or whatever to the essence of what it is and what you are – with no long explanation that nobody wants to hear and no meandering around to get to the point. And it's hard to bullshit in just six words.
Once you have your six-word memoir down. It should help you focus everything you do. If you have the essence of your brand story that succinct, you can use it as a foundation whether you're having a conversation with someone, writing a marketing piece or building your website.
This is especially true these days as businesses evolve and adapt to changing market conditions. For instance, our company started over 50 years ago as an ad agency. By the 90's we were primarily a broadcast marketing company specializing in retail, along with a bunch of other clients. Today, more than half the things we do don't have to do with advertising or marketing at all. We have specialists who have embedded their selves inside a hospital system for over a year to study their corporate culture and the inner workings of the business to give them a fully comprehensive study on who they are and what they need to become to be a better organization. And that's just one small part of everything we do. So how do your boil all this into six words?
I played with a few options for the Yaffe Group six-word story. I started with "Businesses are better when we're done." That sort of captures it, but often we form a partnership and we aren't ever really "done" – so that didn't quite work. I tried "Professionals who help organizations improve performance" – but that seems a little stodgy for a story. I kind of like "Questions answered. Solutions found. Business improves." But I think maybe "Making your business better is ours" encapsulates it.
So, how about you? What's your brand's six-word story? Love to see some of them. Just leave your story in the comment section.