Marketing insights question: What’s your legacy sentence?

What’s your legacy sentence?

Over the next few weeks, as we head towards 2012, I want to get you thinking about your business in a new/fresh way.  I’m going to ask a single question in each post — but I’m warning you, these aren’t slam dunk questions.

I’m hopeful that as you ponder my question — it will give you some ideas for making 2012 a break out year for your organization.  If nothing else — this exercise should fine tune some of your marketing efforts.

What’s your legacy sentence?   If a customer/potential buyer was going to describe your business in a single statement, what would it be?  Imagine yourself at a networking event and someone says…what do you do?

You can either say, “I’m a financial planner” or you could say, “I help women in transition get on firm financial footing.”

The first option tells me your profession.  The second tells me 1) who you serve, 2) how you add value, 3) what to ask you next (as opposed to just saying, “oh, that’s nice.”)

Which one would you want people to repeat as they introduce you to someone new?

Whether you’re talking about your personal brand/reputation or your company’s reputation — the rule is the same.  You need a single sentence.  Mary Stier wrote a blog post about this and she quoted Dan Pink‘s book Drive, saying:

“In 1962, Clare Boothe Luce, one of the first women to serve in the U.S. Congress, offered some advice to President John F. Kennedy. ‘A great man,’ she told him, ‘is a sentence.’

Abraham Lincoln’s sentence was: “He preserved the union and freed slaves.”  Franklin Roosevelt’s was ”He lifted us out of the Great Depression and helped us win a world war.”

Luce was worried that Kennedy’s attention had been splintered and he wouldn’t be able to solidify the nation’s definition of his presidency.

How about you?  Are you marketing messages laser pointed to a single sentence or are they scattered all over your features, benefits and copy hyperbole?

What single sentence can you use in person, on your marketing materials, in sales proposals, and in all of your sign offs and signatures?


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8 comments on “Marketing insights question: What’s your legacy sentence?

  1. Karl Sakas says:

    Love the concept — thanks, Drew!

    I had just rewritten my blog’s sidebar bio. The first sentence is, “Karl Sakas helps marketing clients navigate and launch complex website projects, something he’s enjoyed doing since 1997.”

    1. Karl —

      Glad it helped you clarify your offering. Now it will be interesting to see how people/prospects react to it.


  2. Crystal,

    Actually if you need to add a bunch of commas or semi-colons — you’ve missed the point of the exercise and need to trim back the sentence.


  3. Mine is “Jason Coleman is a cruise and vacation consultant who creates memorable travel experiences.”

    Feedback, please?!

    1. Jason,

      Thanks for offering up your legacy sentence. I get the factual gist of what you do, so it’s pretty good…but I am left without a strong emotional reaction.

      What if you twisted it something like: “Jason Coleman is a cruise and vacation consultant who creates travel experiences you won’t be able to stop talking about.”

      Or “A Jason Coleman created travel experience is designed to be one of your life’s best memories.”


      1. Justin Mills says:

        What if you took it one step farther “Jason Coleman create experiences that be able to stop talking about as a cruise and vacation consultant”

      2. Justin Mills says:

        What if you took it one step farther ” Jason Coleman creates experiences that you cant stop talking about as a cruise and vacation consultant”

        1. Justin,

          Seems a little awkward but we’re getting there. How about Jason Coleman creates cruise and vacation experiences that his clients can’t stop talking about.


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