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Bragging on Your Baby: Business Story Telling + Marketing

Watch the video below or scroll down to read the recap

The Bluefield WV Economic Development Authority (BEDA) hosts workshops to fit the need of the region's business owners. This class taught by Harold Patterson, a WV Small Business Development Center Certified Business Coach, teaches aspiring and current business owners how to brag about and market their business. You'll learn tips on marketing your business to others, forming an elevator pitch, and more. BEDA staff member Faith Blackwell also shared about branding for your business and tips to keep in mind.

Before Harold's presentation, BEDA Executive Director Jim Spencer briefly reviewed BEDA's Marketing Module in their MyBluefield Entrepreneur's Bootcamp. He walked attendees through the online portal and discussed some of the class content within the Marketing Module, showed a sample module video, and reviewed the Do's and Don'ts below. To learn more or sign up, visit our Entrepreneur's Bootcamp page.


Some key takeaways from the Presentation:

An Elevator Pitch, Speech, or Statement

Whatever you'd like to call it, an Elevator Pitch, Speech, or Statement is a short summary to describe your business to others, specifically potential customers. It's a way you can brag about your business. Crafting the perfect pitch can take time and practice, but it's key to put thought and effort into creating it and mastering it. An Elevator Pitch can also be written down as a way to keep track of your business's history. You might need this if you try to obtain funding from lenders too, so a pitch can be more beneficial than just sharing about your business to others.

The idea is that it is a short summary of your organization that should be limited to the length of an elevator ride and should compel your audience to continue the conversation after the ride is over. However, if not done effectively, your pitch can cause more harm than good to your organization.

Links to Example Elevator Pitches:

Tips on Developing an Elevator Pitch

  • Be Specific: Treat it much like your mission statement. Your mission statement describes the reason your organization exists, and your Pitch should do the same with some extra information about the who, what, where, and why.

Who: What is your name and what is your relation to the organization?​

What: What is your mission statement and how can you adapt it?​

Where: Where are you located and where is your impact focused on?​

Why: Why should the person you're speaking to care about your organization?​


Imagine that you're creating an Elevator Pitch that describes what your company does. You plan to use it at networking events. You could say, "My company writes mobile device applications for other businesses." But that's not very memorable!​ A better explanation would be, "My company develops mobile applications that businesses use to train their staff remotely. This results in a big increase in efficiency for an organization's managers."​ That's much more interesting and shows the value that you provide to these organizations.​

  • Keep it Short: Did you know that the average adult’s attention span is about eight seconds? That’s shorter than a goldfish’s, so you don’t have much time to work with.​ Remember, a little ambiguity is good; it can help make the other person more curious about who you are and what you do. Just make sure that you save the long details for when they inquire further. While your Elevator Pitch should answer all of the questions mentioned above, it should be concise and brief enough that your intended audience remembers keywords. When you are putting your Pitch together, time it and make sure that it is no more than 30-60 seconds. Longer elevator pitches may be appropriate in more formal settings.​

  • Practice Your Pitch: Avoid being Stiff and Robotic. Relax! ​Be aware of your nonverbals like slumping or crossed arms, these can overshadow your pitch.​ Say your pitch often, say it clearly but remember to speak naturally. Memorize the main points and be conversational by adding your personality to it.​

Practice Points: Set a goal to practice your pitch regularly. The more you practice, the more natural your pitch will become. You want it to sound like a smooth conversation, not an aggressive sales pitch.​ Practice giving your speech to a friend or recording it. This will help you know whether you're keeping within the time limit and giving a coherent message.​

  • Leave a Lasting Impression: It should be impactful and make people want to know more about your purpose and organization. Include a “Call to Action”, this will be something you say or do that prompts who you're speaking to to take a specific desired action​ (for example: Handing them a business card and encouraging them to contact you if they're ever interested or sharing your website URL with them). Show your willingness to be contacted – Business Cards, Flyers​. Customize your speech to fit your audience – “Read the Room”

Faith's Conversation on Branding:

What is branding? The promotion of a particular product or company by means of advertising and distinctive design.

Four Elements of a Brand

  1. Vision: A brand represents the vision of your business and rightly captures it. The vision encapsulates what your business represents and what you hope to achieve through it.

  2. Voice: Your brand will have a voice (whether intended or unintended) to your customers and a certain tone. It's important to put thought into the way you want your customers to perceive you and how you want to sound. For example, a local Visitor's Bureau may include copy/text on their website, flyers, or social media posts that sounds adventurous and exciting due to marketing the area's tourism efforts to potential visitors.

  3. Visuals: Branding expresses who you are visually to your customers. It's important that the overall look of your branding distinguishes you from competition while remaining consistent in look on all outlets (logo, website, social media, flyers, business cards, apparel, etc)

  4. Value: Your brand reflects the core values of your business as well as reflects the value you add to your customers. Your branding helps tell your story.

Faith also mentioned how it's important to put some thought into what brand colors you use as colors can actually make people feel certain ways and give off a sense of meaning. She stated you may not always follow this, but it's valuable to at least give this some thought. See below for some examples.

Color Impressions:

  • Red- excitement, energy, love, passion

  • Pink - sentimental, youthful, bold

  • Orange - fresh, creative, adventurous, and associated with being cost-effective

  • Yellow - optimistic, playful, happy

  • Green - fresh, natural, sustainable, prestige, wealth

  • Blue - trustworthy, reliable, calm

  • Purple - royalty, majesty, wise, imaginative

  • Brown - down-to-earth, honest, organic, wholesome

  • White - pure, simple, innocent, often with a minimalistic feel

  • Black - sophisticated, elegant, formal, luxurious

  • Multicolor - diversity, excitement, fun, adventurous, creative

Where should my Brand Colors Appear?

  • Logos

  • Website

  • Email Marketing

  • Social media

  • Advertising

  • In your store

  • Stationery

  • Staff Uniforms

  • Signage

  • Events

Faith also reviewed a couple of good and bad branding examples. Here are the two she reviewed:

Notice that on both of the good examples for both companies, their branding is consistent on all their marketing outlets (website, social media, flyer, apparel logos). The bad examples do not have consistency in their branding look such as their logos and color scheme. This may cause some people to think these are two different companies and cause confusion to potential customers.

It's important when developing your brand assets for your business (logos, marketing materials, etc.), you remain consistent with the look and feel. If your logo is blue and gold, incorporate these colors into all of your marketing materials such as website, social media posts, staff apparel, flyers, signage, billboard, etc.

Importance of Branding Consistency

It's important that all your branding through your entire marketing efforts - social media, website, logo, flyers, product labels, apparel, etc, have a consistent look and feel. This will...

  1. Increase Brand Recognition/Avoid Customer Confusion

  2. Increase Brand Reliability/Professionalism

  3. Help you stand out from your competition/ Tell YOUR Story


Link to view Example Videos of Jim's Bad versus Good Elevator Pitch: Bad Example Good Example


Let's Get in Touch!

Harold Patterson, Certified Business Coach WV Small Business Development Center | | (304) 767-0532

Faith Blackwell, Administrative & Marketing Assistant Bluefield WV Economic Development Authority |

Jim Spencer, Executive Director Bluefield WV Economic Development Authority | | (304) 902-2332 x 1

Bluefield WV Economic Development Authority Logo (The words "My Bluefield" underneath an outline of the Bluefield, West Virginia Skyline)

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