by Su T Fitterman
It’s tough being something of an introvert in the era of networking. Here I am, a partner in a creative agency. Most of our work comes through connections. Yet when someone asks me what I do for a living, my first urge is to change the subject. I feel embarrassed to talk about myself. I can’t imagine how many opportunities have passed me by because of this reticence to describe the type of work I do to people interested enough to ask.
Which is why I know that everybody needs an elevator pitch.
This is a speech that sparks interest in what your organization does, or what you specifically do, in 30 to 60 seconds—about the time people spend riding up or down an elevator. Of course, you don’t have to be in an elevator to give this spiel.
No matter what, an elevator pitch must be engaging and persuasive. It requires thoughtful work and lots of practice to get right. The greatest communicators hit their points quickly and clearly: who they are, what they do, how they do it, who they do it for, what makes them or their organization unique.
While I’ve written elevator pitches for many clients, I’ve been tongue-tied for years when it comes to explaining to others what I do for a living.
But no longer. Behold my elevator pitch:
My name is Su T. I’m a partner at Combo Creative, a marketing and communications shop in Vancouver. We help companies, not-for-profits and individuals develop or enhance their brand and voice through strategy, writing and design services, not necessarily in that order. We work often with organizations in the education, sports and start-up sectors.
Over the past five years, we’ve done everything from edit letters for one client to become another’s de facto communications department. Most often we determine a client’s marketing needs and recommend a combination of our services. This can mean a brand refresh for one, a new name for another, a website and marketing materials for still another. Sometimes our clients choose the combo they want. Hence our name.
I’m the creative director. I have to say that companies are most impressed by the emphasis we place on good writing and how thoroughly we integrate this with design and strategy. It’s been our experience that people either find writing a chore or are petrified of it, and are amazed when their rough drafts of letters and speeches are edited into crisp, clean copy that makes them look smart. Great writers and editors are hard to come by these days, and Combo has a department of senior professionals with vast experience in all writing formats.
We offer a gamut of word-related services: tone-of-voice development, brand positioning, letter and speech writing and editing, web and social media content development, corporate print materials such as annual reports and brochures, long-form articles and ghostwriting. We even name companies.
Add in our senior designers and strategy experts, and we become a pretty irresistible combo.
Here’s my card.
(Now I just have to practice. Which is why I’m headed to the nearest elevator.)