The workshops always start out the same. A badly lit conference room is occupied by senior executives, arms crossed, questioning why these marketing guys have invaded their bubble to pepper them with questions. Some eyerolls follow introductions as thoughts of these guys don’t know my business as well as I do bounce around the room. And that is precisely the premise of the “Know Your Message” workshop that the Blue Creative Group, a Fresnel portfolio company, conducts with companies around the world. Nobody should know a company’s ethos better than the folks running it. However, surprisingly, the Blue team often finds there is not only a fair amount of fragmented understanding within all types and sizes of companies, many are not able to communicate a company’s message in a singular and concise pitch. Often before Blue begins working on any marketing deliverables, they want to ensure this foundational blocking and tackling is complete and will host daylong workshops with teams to nail the “pitch.”

“Think of it as an elevator pitch—delivered in one minute—that shares who your company is and, just as importantly, who it is not,” says Andy Hawk, executive vice president of client strategy for Blue Creative Group. “This pitch, when properly honed and delivered, will work for you to make an impression in any last-minute situation, or whenever you’re meeting someone new. Ideally, you’ll develop a statement that can evolve, but the fundamental truth of it means you can deliver it half asleep. It becomes innate.” As part of the brand and marketing strategy program offered by Blue Creative Group, Andy visits companies and runs the workshop where this elevator pitch is formed, examined, torn apart, and reconstructed. The result is a single paragraph that each member can turn to and consider… and memorize.

The exercise can be daunting, particularly in an entrepreneurial environment where strong personalities bring their own complete versions of the pitch, only to realize it needs to be assimilated with those of the other participants. Often the sales manager on the frontline might not possess the same USP as the finance team and these sessions are designed to identify the true company purpose. “You want your CTO or CFO to understand the importance of their work, but also keep the big picture in focus,” Hawk says. “By constructing the pitch together, an organization can align stakeholders at all levels around a shared outcome.”

The pitch is more than just a conversation starter. Looked at critically, it can help guide strategy sessions, create new lines of discussion for evolving the business, and even inspire development of the new pitch. But it all comes back to the session where the first pitch is worked out. “Every successful business evolves through phases as growth goals are achieved and its focus changes,” Andy says. “If you can’t say what you’re doing—and why—in a way that gets to the point, you may need to recalibrate.” Class dismissed.