For non-marketers, it’s not always clear how to use a positioning statement beyond on-boarding and grounding creative partners. But it’s actually a tool that can be used to enhance all of your sales and marketing efforts, not just the classic creative ones like ads and collateral. A great example is using your positioning statement as the foundation for your elevator pitch.
One of my clients, an all-girls Catholic high school (GCHS), did just this. Their teachers used their positioning statement it to develop and deliver easy, natural-sounding elevator pitches.
As an all-girls high school, GCHS is on the leading edge of helping girls excel academically and their positioning statement proudly calls this out as their point of difference:
To Chicago parents with daughters 10-14 years old who want their daughters to be successful, GCHS is the Catholic high school that focuses on helping girls excel through 1) a close-knit, all-girl student body, 2) an average class side of 15 students so all students can participate and get in-depth teacher attention, and 3) the opportunity to participate in the GCHS Leadership Institute for an even more independent and expansive experience.
While it was easy for the school’s marketing and development teams to understand how to use the new positioning statement, when it came time for the annual potential student open house, the school’s “sales team,” i.e. its teachers, wanted to understand of how to use the positioning when talking to prospective students and their parents.
For an elevator pitch in a generic venue, it’s normal to start by stating your competitive set, which basically answers the question “what the heck does your company/product/organization do?” But in this case, the visiting parents already knew that they were visiting a Catholic high school, so that point was moot. We therefore recommended that the teachers start with the key point of difference, “We help girls excel.” Then, to make this as personal as possible, we suggested that each teacher pick one of the three reasons to believe (RTB), and then identify a relevant anecdote from their own experience that could bring that RTB to life when talking to the prospective students and parents.
This approach transformed the teachers’ interactions with parents into natural, organic conversations that injected genuine emotion and color into their discussions, rather than making the teachers sound like robots reciting a canned, memorized statement.
Bonus: Watch the Positioning Statements v. Elevator Pitches Marketing Minute video.