Sparklers: What they are, why you need them, and when to use them


If you’ve been through media training, you probably know what a sparkler is. But even if you aren’t a spokesperson or in PR, you should be actively using sparklers throughout your marketing, your talking points, your public speaking and more.

Simply put, a “sparkler” is a memorable line that helps accelerate retention and impact of your core message. Think “tweetable moments” and you’re close.

Sparklers get beyond product descriptions and elevator pitches. Those are nice, but they’re far too descriptive and tactical to drive the kind of “wow” moment you want in your conversation.

Good sparklers often communicate some kind of comparison, putting your message into a context that’s both easier to understand and highly memorable.

For example, if you’re selling marketing services to real estate agents and want to communicate how successful your customers are after using your products, you might try saying something like “Customers who have been with us for over a year earn more than a graduating Harvard MBA.”

It’s short, efficient and memorable.

If you’re in sales, or part of a marketing team driving leads for a sales team, sparklers can drive deep interest before a single word about the product or service is discussed. It can quickly put your value proposition in context and speak directly to the prospect’s core needs or desired outcomes.

If you’re in PR or a spokesperson for your company, have a set of sparklers at the ready and use them often. Tweetable moments are quotable moments. The earlier you give your sparkler as an answer to a question, for example, the more likely it will get picked up.

If you’re speaking or giving a presentation, use sparklers throughout and put them on screen to reinforce and drive deeper retention of the message.

These are statements, not stories. A little alliteration doesn’t hurt either.

The idea isn’t to be cute, but to communicate in a way that accelerates interest, pass-along value and the right to share more to put the sparkler into context, and make it actionable.

You don’t have to start from scratch.  Pull out your positioning framework (you have one, right?) and think about how your core statements might be translated into sparklers.  Look at your sales scripts and prospecting talking points.  How could you reinforce or improve impact of those messages with sparklers?