And behind every successful woman too.
A strong pitch is the foundation of every ambitious project. All throughout history, every great business, movement and social cause has begun with a powerful pitch. Armed with little more than their words, many throughout history have launched a business, recruited a team, gained funding and even changed the world.
Back in 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. gave the iconic speech which is considered to be one of the best speeches ever because of its central pitch that touched the hearts of millions of African Americans fighting for their right for equality. He said:
“I have a dream that someday this nation will live up to its creed that all men are created equal.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
These mere 20 words had such an impact that they rose to become the core pitch to the African American Movement for Social and Economic Equality which ultimately led to their win across the nation besides bringing about a major change in the mindset of the citizens of the nation and even a Nobel prize for his humanitarian efforts.
Similar attributes are seen across successful businesses all the time as well.
“Organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.” — Google
Even after the behemoth they have become, since inception Google has kept their business vision and mission centered around the central pitch mentioned above. Till date, the businesses they invest in, are a part of, or are leading have the same vision. Google’s guiding force for everything that they do, has been the same pitch they had founded the company with.
The Power of a Pitch.
Every great pitch has an awesome story at its core. This is probably the most important thing for a brand to get right, a story well-told connects with the target audience at an emotional level so well that it creates a strong lifetime loyal following among the users.
Nike is the perfect brand example for it. They realized this early on and have been using the power of strong storytelling longer than most people have been online. Long before internet became mainstream and when TV was the only source for viewing Ads, Nike decided to show their ads with the storytelling angle. Their insight to how well Nike understood the power of storytelling was shown best in the 1999 Nike’s Commercial. The final ad was a video and image compilation of precious moments from the NBA legend Michael Jordan’s life which were stitched together and played in reverse. Even though the ad was commissioned by Nike, for most part of the ad, there was no mention of the brand anywhere. Finally, the video ended while showing Michael when he was a very young kid. A simple watermark on the last image saying “Just do it” and then Nike logo was seen just as the video closed. While every other brand was busy hard selling their products, Nike decided to use stories to create powerful moments that helped connect the brand with its audience. Till date, Nike uses the same formula.
Take a look:
The Pitches You Need
Every objective in life or in business needs a well crafted pitch. Whether you are trying to become a unicorn startup, just trying to get a raise or even when buying a car, you need a pitch. If there’s a transaction, there can be a pitch.
It doesn’t need to be an elaborate one but it has to be one that is short, simple and precise. The list here shows the types of pitches one might need in business and professional life:
- Pitch for the Brand’s story
- Pitch for fundraising
- Pitches for sales and marketing
- Pitches for hiring and partnerships
- Pitches for professionals for interviews, appraisals, promotions etc.
Though not a complete list, these are all the mostly used scenarios wherein a strong pitch works perfectly. It’s no wonder that those who are able to craft unique and compelling pitches for these use-cases do really well. Businesses or professionals who don’t voice their central pitch have to struggle and ultimately disappear.
The Pitch as the Business Mission Statement
All great businesses and entrepreneurs have one thing in common. They all strongly believe in their pitch and spend hours if not days or months crafting a great pitch. Most often brands, businesses and entrepreneurs have their pitch incorporated as the brand’s mission statement itself. It makes sense too. A great pitch statement also helps in finding the right co-founders, employees, investors and partners as well. The moment you setup your startup based on a novel idea, the first thing you do is to create a pitch statement that shows your startup’s mission.
This is a powerful thought. Creating a central pitch and then staying true to it for the life of the business is a strong commitment. Hence, the pitch needs to be something that you absolutely believe in. Every time you think about your business, the pitch would be right alongside it. A great pitch then becomes the guiding force for decision-making, company culture, employee mandates, policies and procedures, and everything else the company does.
The best example of this would be Southwest Airlines. Southwest Airlines has always maintained a reputation of going beyond where the competitors stop, all in the ultimate pursuit of great customer service.
And what is Southwest Airlines’ Pitch: ‘The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit.’
The Pitch statement for Fundraising
Fundraising need not be only for startups. All businesses at multiple stages raise funds. It could be for a new project launch, product development, further investments or even for building inventory etc.
For a startup raising funds, the pitch statement is the most important. Byju, a unicorn from the Indian Startup ecosystem founded by Byju Raveendran, does this wonderfully. Their tagline: ‘Come, fall in love with learning’ is one of our favorite ones. Another home run by a well-known startup known as YouTube is ‘broadcast yourself’. Point to note here is how simple they are in the way they explain what they are all about.
This is the key. Your pitch should be simple enough for anyone to understand in one sentence what the business is all about. This clear tagline helps define the business and helps customers, investors, partners, employees gain clarity.
The Pitch statement for Sales & Marketing
A pitch statement with a great copyright has the power to completely change the trajectory of a business. Although there are many such examples, one such example of overnight success powered by a great pitch would have to be of the California Milk Processor Board. Launched in 1993, the slogan was initially rejected as it was considered to be grammatically incorrect, a year later, post launch of the campaign, the board sold 2.8 billion gallons of milk. That’s roughly 10.6 Billion liters of milk sold in one year. A far cry from what they did a year prior. Their famous tagline:
A series of Ads portraying the need for drinking something liquid post eating sticky or strong flavors with each running the tagline ‘Got Milk’ did wonders for the brand in a matter of just one year.
So what can be learnt from this is that every professional, entrepreneur or business needs a strong pitch. A pitch that showcases the core proposition while at the sametime being simple enough that anyone can understand it in one go. The simplest of the pitches are the ones that do best.
It can be very well implemented by professionals too in their daily lives. From answering simple questions like “what do you do?” to every decision you make, interviews you attend, appraisals you discuss, employees you hire, co-founders and investors you pitch to, all of these interactions need a deep understanding of your core proposition. Once you understand that, you will be able to create a simple yet effective pitch that is memorable and has the potential to make a lasting impact. But whatever the pitch may be, it needs to strike a chord with the audience and convey your idea and values. Generally when faced with such situations, professionals who have their pitch ready, will light up and under two minutes of conversation they will have you hooked. This is because their response has been honed with oodles of practice. And the best way to do that is to highlight your pitch by weaving a story angle in it, one that touches the audience’s heart at an emotional level. Now that’s a winning combination.
So what is your Pitch going to be? If you wish to learn and master the Art of Pitching, Scientity has partnered with Brand Design Academy to conduct workshops on the Art Of Pitching also called – BEHIND EVERY SUCCESSFUL MAN THERE IS A PITCH.
To find out more about the workshops and the online courses, please click here: Brand Design Academy
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