The reality of branding is you will have various moments when you have to define your brand–sometimes you get 7 seconds, but other times you might be asked to expand, and expand yet again. What I coach my clients on is: can you define your brand in 7 seconds, 60 seconds and 30 minutes? Regardless of the length of your story everything must feed off a simple BIG IDEA that defines you–and then you must build your story under that BIG IDEA. In too many situations I see, the story meanders and changes as it gets bigger.
When do you need a 7 second pitch?
- In advertising, it should be the idea line at the end of the TV ad, the billboard ad in Times Square or the button on Facebook.
- Internally, this is the rallying cry to R&D to focus their innovation, to HR on building the culture and to Senior Leaders for how to define the brand to everyone in the company.
- In sales, this is your opening line to the store manager or the dentist you’re trying to get to recommend your product.
- Start of the job interview, you should lead off with a 7 second pitch that describes yourself (e.g. I’m a marketer that finds growth where others can’t)
When do you need 60 second pitch?
- If you’re with your agency and you’re trying to describe the big idea for your brand, you sometimes need to elaborate to help paint the picture.
- At the end of the job interview as you’re summarizing 2-3 points under the big idea of your personal brand, as you go for the close as to why they should hire you.
- In sales, as you go beyond your opener, it helps to build on the big idea and frame what might be a discussion. And as you go for the close, use the 2 minute pitch.
- If you’re pitching new business, this could be your opening and/or your close at the end of a presentation.
When do you need a 30 minute pitch?
- Most times when you’re pitching new business, you’ll get the opportunity to use a Powerpoint presentation. Many times, it’s a bit more formal and helps the pitch stay organized.
- If you’re in front of investors and trying to tell why they should invest in your brand.
- As you’re presenting a new direction on your brand, it’s a great tool to use with senior leaders if you’re trying to secure funding behind a new strategy, or with the entire organization if you’re trying to rally support.
Here’s how to find the 7 second elevator pitch: what’s your big idea?
Everyone talks about the 7 second elevator pitch, but it’s not easy to get there. I suppose you could ride up and down the elevator and try telling people. That may drive you insane.
The Big Idea (some call it the Brand Essence) is the most concise definition of the Brand. For Volvo, it’s “Safety”, while BMW might be “Performance” and Mercedes is “Luxury”. Below is the Tool I use to figure out a Brand’s Big Idea revolving around four areas that help define the Brand 1) Brand’s personality 2) Products and Services the brand provides 3) Internal Beacons that people internally rally around when thinking about the brand and 4) Consumer Views of the Brand. What we normally do is brainstorm 3-4 words in each of the four sections and then looking collectively begin to frame the Brand’s Big Idea with a few words or a phrase to which the brand can stand behind.
As an example of how we use the tool, here’s a completed one using Beloved Brands. Our big idea is: We make brands better. We make brand leaders better.™
Here’s how to find the 60-second pitch: why should I buy you?
Once you have your Big Idea, you should then use it to frame the 5 different connectors needed to set up a very strong bond between your brand and your consumers.
Brands are able to generate love for their brand when the consumer does connect with the brand. I wish everyone would stop debating what makes a great brand and realize that all five connectors matter: promise, strategy, story, innovation and experience. The first connector is the Brand Promise, which connects when the brand’s main Benefit matches up to the needs of consumers. Once knowing that promise, everything else feeds off that Promise. For Volvo the promise is Safety, for Apple it is Simplicity and FedEx it might be Reliability. It’s important to align your Strategy and Brand Story pick the best ways to communicate the promise, and then aligning your Innovation and the Experience so that you deliver to the promise. To make sure the Innovation aligns to the Big Idea, everyone in R&D must be working towards delivering the brand promise. If someone at Volvo were to invent the fastest car on the planet, should they market it as the safe-fast car or should they just sell the technology to Ferrari. Arguably, Volvo could make more money by selling it to a brand where it fits, and not trying to change people’s minds. As for the experience, EVERYONE in the company has to buy into and live up to the Brand Promise. As you can start to see, embedding the Brand Promise right into the culture is essential to the brand’s success.
- The brand’s promise sets up the positioning, as you focus on a key target with one main benefit you offer. Brands need to be either better, different or cheaper. Or else not around for very long. ”Me-too” brands have a short window before being squeezed out. How relevant, simple and compelling the brand positioning is impacts the potential love for the brand.
- The most beloved brands create an experience that over-delivers the promise. How your culture and organization sets up can make or break that experience. Hiring the best people, creating service values that employees can deliver against and having processes that end service leakage. The culture attacks the brand’s weaknesses and fixes them before the competition can attack. With a Beloved Brand, the culture and brand become one.
- Brands also make focused strategic choices that start with identifying where the brand is on the Brand Love Curve going from Indifferent to Like It to Love It and all the way to Beloved status. Marketing is not just activity, but rather focused activity–based on strategy with an ROI mindset. Where you are on the curve might help you make strategic and tactical choices such as media, innovation and service levels.
- The most beloved brands have a freshness of innovation, staying one-step ahead of the consumers. The idea of the brand helps acting as an internal beacon to help frame the R&D. Every new product has to back that idea. At Apple, every new product must deliver simplicity and at Volvo, it must focus on safety. .
- Beloved brands can tell the brand story through great advertising in paid media, through earned media either in the mainstream press or through social media. Beloved Brands use each of these media choices to connect with consumers and have a bit of magic to their work.
As you take this to a summation stage, here’s an example of the 60 second pitch, which is my summary of why you should use Beloved Brands. You’ll see it builds on the 7 second pitch above.
How to find the 30 minute Brand story: Telling your brand story
There are a few different ways to do the 30 minute pitch story.
The first way is to build a Brand Strategy Road Map which combines your long-range strategic plan with the Big Idea and 5 connectors underneath. Here’s an example using the “Beloved Brands” brand. The beauty of this document is that it easily fits everything on one page, ready to share with anyone that touches the brand.
The second way is story telling. If you are struggling to tell the story and building a presentation, here’s a simple format that involves answering 15 questions related to the brand. Play around with the specific order, but if you answer these 15 questions you can tell everything you need to about the brand. This should also keep you lined up to the Big Idea, especially as that is the first question to answer.
The third way is a pitch presentation which would include
- Your Big Idea
- How you can help the customer, detailed benefits.
- What experience do you bring to the table
- What clients have to say
- Who you are: Biography
- What are your beliefs that set you apart
Here is the 30 minute pitch presentation for Beloved Brands:
You should align and manage every part of your Organization around your Brand’s Big Idea
At Beloved Brands, we run a Brand Leadership Center to train marketers in all aspects of marketing from strategic thinking, analysis, writing brand plans, creative briefs and reports, judging advertising and media. To see a workshop on THE BRAND LEADERSHIP CENTER, click on the Powerpoint presentation below:
We make Brands better.
We make Brand Leaders better.™
We offer brand coaching, where we promise to make your brand better by listening to the issues, providing advice that challenges you, and coaching you along a strategic pathway to reaching your brand’s full potential. For our brand leader training, we promise to make your team of brand leaders better, by teaching sound marketing fundamentals and challenging to push for greatness so that they can unleash their full potential. Feel free to add me on Linked In, or follow me on Twitter at @belovedbrands If you need to contact me, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone me at 416 885 3911