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How to Capture Your Company's Essence in 15 Words

by Kathryn Roy  |  
December 22, 2009

Let's assume that your press release gets picked up by several outlets. It's a great opportunity to increase your company's visibility. So what do you say in your 15-word introduction? "XYZ, a ___ __ ___ ___ __ ___ ___ __ ___ ___ ___ __, announced today..." Would that resonate with your prospects?

Another scenario: One of your happier clients is at a barbecue listening to another guest describe a business challenge that sounds like the one you just solved for her. What easy-to-remember message have you provided your client to use in a situation like that?

Or let's assume you decide to sponsor an NPR program, and you draft a 10- or 15-second message to be read. What do you say? "All Things Considered is sponsored by XYZ. ___ __ ___ ___ __ ___ ___ __ ___ ___ ___ __ at" Is what you say clear and succinct enough that your prospects can absorb it while driving?

If people started with those scenarios in mind when they crafted their short company description, they would craft more concise and more memorable descriptions.

Now, as a B2B company, you may never advertise on NPR (though some do), but distilling your company description to its essence—as if you were—is a powerful goal. It will force you to jettison the jargon and superlatives. And your message will resonate all the more with prospects.

An Anatomy of a Company's Messaging

Here are two versions of Constant Contact's NPR sponsorship statement:

  • 10 seconds: Constant Contact, dedicated to helping small businesses and nonprofits build strong customer relationships with email marketing. Constant Contact dot com.
  • 15 seconds: Constant Contact, dedicated to helping small businesses and nonprofits build strong customer relationships with email marketing and online surveys. Constant Contact dot com.

Those versions total 20 and 23 words, respectively, or 14 and 17 words, respectively, if you exclude the company name and "dot com."

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Kathryn Roy is managing partner of Precision Thinking (, a consulting firm helping B2B technology companies boost the effectiveness of their marketing and sales organizations. Reach her via or Twitter (@karoy1).

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  • by Jeff Ginsberg Tue Dec 22, 2009 via web

    Great read Kathryn!

    I think you'll find this post at very interesting. They make the point that you should be able to do it in just 7 words:

    Jeff Ginsberg

  • by Ibrahim Bello Wed Dec 23, 2009 via web

    I found this post quite educating. The Lotus example is very instructive.

    Ibrahim Bello
    PR Value Consulting

  • by Tan Qing Hong Sun Dec 27, 2009 via web

    A very informative and practical post. I'm a fresh graduate who worked for a few months with my previous company and was tasked to create a summary for a proposal to the client. My superior couldn't get around the initial ommissions I made and it had to be revised to fit everything in. It's really hard to convince people about "less is more", especially when you're entry level like me.

  • by Terri Burnor Wed Dec 30, 2009 via web

    Writing an NPR sponsorship plug is a great exercise! I listen to a lot of public radio, and many of the company descriptions are forgettable. While I like your Constant Contact example, one suggestion is to remove the "dedicated to ..." tag. I think this (and similar phrases like "committed to") have become hackneyed. It's stronger to eliminate and get to the core of the message, such as: "Constant Contact helps small businesses and nonprofits ..."

  • by Dre Mon Jan 4, 2010 via web

    What do you recommend for a salon that is celebrating 10 years in business and reinvrnting itself?

  • by Pam Alvord Tue Nov 23, 2010 via web

    Fabulous post. So many companies miss the opportunity to effectively communicate their message because they try to say too much. Another downfall is relying on marketing buzz words. Sure, words like trust, quality and commitment sound great, but do they do anything to truly differentiate your company from anyone else? Read my list of the top 10 buzzwords to avoid at


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