I have to be honest, I suck at pitching. I wish I were better at it, as I could really grow my portfolio and business - pushing it in a direction that matches my ideas and ambition. But I suck at it. What's worse, I know exactly why.
And in the words of my future husband, Dave Grohl, I have another confession to make. I'm completely against circuses, but it was the closest I could get to a gladiatorial ring that was on-brand and suitable for children... Perhaps another reason why I suck at pitches.
I'm an ideas person. I have really good, innovative and what diplomatic people called bat-shit crazy ideas. I get really excited about said ideas and I put together a deck to present it.
I apply all my copywriting knowledge about solving a problem (lead with the benefit) - what, why and how. And, what underpins everything every company does, results.
I might even throw in a meme or two.
While enthusiastically presenting my amazing idea, that I know everyone will love, someone will ask how it fits into our strategy. And that's when I fall to pieces. I'm so convinced that everyone will be as excited about my idea as I am, that I don't think about the bigger picture.
It's the strategy, stupid - Helz (with a little help from Bill Clinton)
I enter the pitch, ready to win over the crowd with my creative skills. This idea would launch a new initiative - both internally and externally - and give us content bank. Big thumbs up.
I prepare for the execution. It would be purely digital, with new, sexy functionality. And involve regional media to create customer engagement and user-generated content. Big thumbs up.
I am Maximus Decimus Meridius.
It would bring together all the business areas, create a story and showcase the breadth of the business portfolio. It was a wrong move and I'm caught in a net. Big thumbs down.
Meeting room Colosseum is decorated with my blood.
The concept was spot on. What I missed was the brand purpose. The strategy. And how the concept fits into that.
You see, the company wanted to focus on its core business, which is absolutely the right thing to do. After all, isn't it better to do one thing well than a load of things middling to poor? I neglected this. The core business is the journey, I was all about Elysium (bored of the Roman analogy yet?).
You wanna win a pitch. You need to know the strategic audience and the direction. Otherwise, your Spartacus of an idea will end up with its loincloth around its ankles.