How Small Business Owners Should Talk About Their Brand
If I haven’t captured your attention in this first sentence, then you are not likely to read the rest of the article. People have short attention spans and are constantly inundated with information; it is the information age after all. So, to actually capture someone’s interest and get them excited about what you’re saying is no small feat.
Then there’s another issue. Talking about yourself is hard. Remember how intimidating it was the first time you had to write a resume? Writing your bio is just as excruciating. And you know what else fits into this category?
Talking about your brand.
As if it’s not hard enough to balance bragging about your best attributes with staying humble and likable, you also need to articulate your value quickly.
I see a lot of small business owners struggle with this.
Knowing how to talk about your brand is incredibly important, especially in PR. If a journalist calls you out of the blue, you should be prepared to get them excited about your brand. This means boiling down your message into just the most enticing parts.
The worst thing you can do is ramble on about details that don’t capture interest or set you apart from your competitors. It’s a wide trap. You probably do get excited about the little details and can go on forever. As the business owner, it’s your job to be obsessed with your company! But for everyone else, you need an elevator pitch.
Here’s an exercise to figure out how to talk about your brand.
First, Introducing Our Example, Fictional and Dog-Centric Companies
To make it easy to understand, we’re going to use examples from a few fictional companies.
Most of the brands I work with fall into one of three categories:
Makers: companies that sell a product
Service-based: companies that provide a direct service to a client
Personalities: influencers, bloggers, and celebrities.
I’ve concocted the following made-up companies to use for our exercise.
The Maker – Real Clean Pup
Real Clean Pup is an organic dog soap company that makes an array of shampoos, conditioners, ear cleaners, and more. Every product is made from natural, organic, socially and environmentally conscious ingredients and are guaranteed to make your pup feel and smell great.
The Service – Prime Pup Sitter
Prime Pup Sitter is a service where you can hire Ann, a certified dog trainer, groomer and vet technician to stay in your home and watch your dog. This is a service for people who want their dog to be trained, pampered and cared for at the highest level and in their own home while their owners are away.
The Personality – JoJo the Cute Pup
JoJo is a famous dog and has starred in several movies. Her fame is attributed to the fact that she is a forever puppy with no visible aging. In addition to her time on the silver screen, JoJo is an advocate for lost dogs to reunite with their families.
(And yes, JoJo is my real dog’s name, but no, she is not really famous)
With these examples in mind, let’s continue.
Step 1: WHAT?
Your elevator pitch needs to have a clear and short statement that describes what you do. This should be straightforward and simple.
Real Clean Pup: I sell organic dog soaps.
Prime Pup Sitter: I am a professional dog sitter.
JoJo the Cute Pup: JoJo is a famous dog and advocate.
Step 2: HOW?
Your how should describe how you achieve your what.
Real Clean Pup: My products are made from all-natural ingredients sourced from local farms.
Prime Pup Sitter: I use my knowledge as a certified dog trainer, groomer, and vet technician manage your dog’s special needs while you’re away.
JoJo the Cute Pup: JoJo uses her undeniably adorable puppy face to direct attention the countless lost dogs who want to return home.
Step 3: SO, WHAT?
Whatever media source you’re talking to, they probably have heard your competitors’ pitches too. It’s not enough to just say what you do and why you do it, you need to explain why they should care.
So, what do you do that makes people’s lives better?
Real Clean Pup: Dogs washed with Real Clean Pup soaps are a pleasure to cuddle. More dog cuddling makes the world a better place, and we make sure we take care of the world when we make our soaps, too.
Prime Pup Sitter: Dogs with special needs and their owners feel at ease with a professional caring for them at home.
JoJo the Cute Pup: Rather than tossing all lost dogs up for adoption, dogs should be reunited with their original family, leaving room for more adoptions of the dogs that need it.
Once you’ve been through each step, combine what you have come up with. Tweak the wording to make it sound fresh and interesting. And then commit it to memory.
In just three sentences, maximum, you should be able to describe your company and capture interest.
Real Clean Pup: Real Clean Pup makes organic dog soaps for extra fluffiness from all-natural ingredients sourced from local farms. Dogs washed with Real Clean Pup soaps are a pleasure to cuddle. More dog cuddling makes the world a better place, but only if we take care of the world while we make our soaps, too.
Prime Pup Sitter: Prime Pup Sitter is a professional dog sitting service known for providing a certified dog trainer, groomer, and vet technician to manage your dog’s special needs while you’re away. Dogs with special medical or behavioral needs (and their owners) feel at ease while receiving the highest level of care at home.
JoJo the Cute Pup: JoJo is a famous dog who uses her undeniably adorable puppy face to direct attention the countless lost dogs who want to return home. Rather than tossing all lost dogs up for adoption, more effort should be given to reunite them with their original family, leaving room for more adoptions of the dogs that need it.