The elevator door closes.

After a long day at the conference there was finally some
time to head up to the room to check e-mail and find out what's happening back
at the office. I'm sharing the ride to the 9th floor with a charming lady from
Tennessee. We glance at each other's name tag. "Hi, I'm David from Inprint in
Roanoke, Virginia," I say to break the ice.

"Inprint. I've heard of you guys," she says. "You did
that brochure. You know, the one for that county."

"Yes," I answer, assuming that she meant the tourism
brochure for Botetourt County because it's a great brochure that people are
talking about and because nobody outside Virginia wants to try to pronounce the
name of the county.

"I really like that piece. Tell me a little more about
your company."

We’ll be at the 9th floor in less than two
minutes, so I’d better be succinct.

"We are a branding and design agency," I start out, "so
we work with clients who ecognize that their brand isn’t living up to its full
potential. We provide a thorough and unbiased assessment of the brand and then
offer strategic ideas to make it stronger.”

“I know our brand could use some help,” she says. Everybody says that and they're usually right. It's a natural instinct for marketing professionals to constantly strive for better results.

“Once we’re done with consultative work of defining or
refining the brand,” I continue, “we are then ready to do whatever it takes to
propel the brand forward. We have a team of creative people who can tackle any
kind of advertising or marketing project – campaigns, websites, brochures,
including writing the message, art directing the photography and every other
detail needed to make it great.”

“Well, I really like your work,” she says as the door
opens. “Let me have one of your cards so we can keep in touch.”

That was the quintessential elevator pitch. I’d given it
at cocktail receptions, trade shows, networking events, and even on an airport
shuttle but this was the first time in an elevator.

Afterwards, I started thinking about that two-minute
pitch. If only we were going to the 85th floor and I had a few extra
minutes I could differentiate our firm from others. Maybe I'd include something like this:

1. We are specialists in tourism, hospitality and
foodservice, three industries in which we have extensive experience. Lots of
agencies offer expertise in the broader categories of advertising and marketing. By
specializing we are able to offer our clients advertising knowledge AND deep
expertise in the areas in our areas of specialty.

2. We believe in the strength of great brands. Even if a
client engages our firm for a campaign or something other than a full branding initiative,
we still apply principles of brand building in our approach to the challenge at
hand. Long-term strategic thinking that strengthens the brand is the best way
we know to serve our client.

3. We crave information. The best and most effective
creative work emerges when there is a ton of data available about the product,
target market, competition, company history and anything else we can get our
hands on. Sometimes we conduct the research ourselves, other times the information
is supplied by our clients. Either way it is essential to the creative process. If you work with us be prepared to answer a lot of questions.

Now if we get into an elevator you can simply say “I read
it on your blog,” and we can spend our time talking about your business


6 Walnut Avenue • Vinton, Virginia 24179

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