So Long Elevator Pitch Welcome Personal Branding Statement

personal branding statementSay so long and ‘au revoir’ to the elevator pitch and welcome the personal branding statement. It’s part of the AOL to Gmail, Boomer to Millennial, desk top to mobile shift.

“What do you do?”

By far the question we are asked, and will be asked, the most on a daily basis when out meeting new people and expanding our networks. It’s the ultimate opportunity to make a first impression and peak someones interest.

It’s the branding question whose answer most people struggle to articulate into one succinct, clear sentence that we remember.

The answer to ‘what do you do’ is much more than talking about products and services. The elevator pitch was fine when the product was out front. Now we are fronting our products and services more.

Creating our branding statement is the most important personal marketing activity we all need to get right.

Coming Up with the Right Personal Branding Statement is a “Process of Refinement”

It’s the sum total of where we are and what we are doing now, plus all the experiences and knowledge we bring from what we have done, driven by our personality, charisma and energy. Our charisma is what makes us stand out.

We change and the world changes and that changes our answer over time. Things work, then they don’t work. Circumstances force us to change. Trends lead us to change. Regardless of change, articulating our core values, who we are and what we believe in shouldn’t.  

If you keep up with these things, you will always have what you need to update and deliver your ‘what do you do’ question:

  • Be in your zone and sweet spot so you’re authentic and not forced.
  • Make sure your visual marketing and messaging is relevant and fresh.
  • Be consistent and purposeful with your networking and content marketing.

The reason we remember is because the person, their value, message and how it is consistently delivered strikes a chord with us.

One of the best resources for personal branding is Millennial Branding expert Dan Schawbel, and his Personal Branding Blog. Having a fully developed Linked In profile is also a must.  Here are some great examples of brand statements that work because they grab our attention.

Are you a Sales Whiz, a Career Catalyst? a Turnaround Ace?

What do you do in one clear, succinct and engaging sentence?

Career Branding Catalyst: I help plug in and power up personal branding for small business, entrepreneurs and professional consultants through networking, social media and content marketing so they stand out, get noticed and are remembered better.

Is your personal branding statement ready?

What Do You Do Photo via Shutterstock


Deborah Shane Deborah Shane has been recognized as a Top 100 Small Business Champion and Top 50 SMB Influencer (Dunn and Bradstreet 2015). She is a career transition author, personal branding and social media specialist. Deborah's book "Career Transition: Make the Shift" is available through all major book sellers.

20 Reactions
  1. I think this is brilliant. A personal branding statement is much better than a cheesy elevator pitch. I’m sure it’ll be much more effective. Thanks for sharing with us.


    • Thanks Ti..I have been seeing this transition for the last 3 or so years, as our engagement on social media through our content continues to grow in importance. It just doesn’t seem to be relevant. It’s kind of throw back to the past now.

  2. You’re spot on about the “What do you do?” question. I get it all the time and it makes or breaks a lot of first time interactions. However, I would add one caution: Avoid overloading your personal branding statement with buzz words and jargon. I hear some answers to that question where I could win “Buzz Word Bingo” in 10 seconds. Keep it clear and relevant.

    • Robert, the buzz word overload is so true, and that’s where the “process of refinement” comes in. You don’t know what you don’t know..So good to ask for help and get other ideas about what you do.

  3. Fantastic post, Deborah! It’s less about “what do you do” and more about “who are you as a brand.” I love it. I need to rethink my own response to that question…

  4. Susan, thanks for your comment. Indeed, today we drive our products and services via our relationships and the value WE bring to them. More than just the sell it’s the serve and experience we provide. Loved your article about 1o Ways to Avoid Becoming a Social Robot! Very smart approach, esp “take a break”. You hope they miss you!?

  5. I get it, but am not in love with everyone being their own brand. What happened to just being human? Not scaleable enough?

    • Kay, branding is about standing out as human being. It’s very scaleable actually. Just go to a website, blog, podcast, or video channel or site. Not to mention LinkedIn, Facebook or Twitter or meeting someone in person who you connect with.

  6. I think most small business owners under-sell their expertise when they answer “what do you do”… their depth of expertise is usually the real story behind their business… what they bring to the table that makes their product/service unique and better than the rest. Toot your own horn!

  7. I agree Diane, the depth and breath is difficult to represent but content marketing tactics are great tools. Thanks for your comment.

  8. Great point. We are the brand ambassadors of our business. People want to be excited and interested by their business partners. With so much being said about content marketing. We and our personalities need to be an extension of this content (and vice versa of course).

  9. Good points Deborah, especially finding your sweet spot that guides your authenticity. The challenge for many is to make sure the sweet spot is not a comfort zone preventing one from moving forward, or effectively repositioning their skills for new opportunities in emerging industry sectors… personal branding that reflects aspirations to where one wants to evolve next in their career to be marketable and remarkable.

    • Glenn, Love your take on how being in your sweet spot is more a motivation zone than comfort zone! Thanks for your thoughtful comment. Come back and visit us more.