How to ‘Pitch’ workshop

Below is an elevator pitch ‘workshop’ I gave for the ‘Agents of change‘ entrepreneurs club of  Melbourne University. The video below is the one of 6 x 10 minute videos. The first (the one below) includes an ‘example’ pitch I did for rentoid – then has ‘alot’ of questions and answers. The last of the videos, workshop 6 – all of which are here has some ideas on great pitcing practice.

It’s kind of long, but the largely due to the discussion afterwards!


Brand Manners

Brands are the personification of things and services. In fact they are the amalgamation of a group of people, which creates an organizational culture and eventually, a set of brand values. Values which in real terms are like those of a person.

In the spirit of the reasoning above here’s an interesting question:

Does your brand have good manners?

That’s actually what we’ve been getting at during this Business 2.0 Post Industrial Complex Devolution. We’ve been getting back to basics. The basics of acceptable behaviour. Moving away from the school yard bully – (read here – large inconsiderate conglomerate) – to something which deserves our attention.

In case we happened to forget – here’s a ready reckoner of ‘Good Manners’

–          Listen to others
–          Have patience
–          Wait your turn to talk
–          Never interrupt
–          Ask for permission
–          Always say ‘please’ and ‘thankyou’
–          Be honest, truthful and pure
–          Be punctual
–          Be tidy
–          Never be rude to anyone – older, younger, richer, poorer
–          Keep out of bad company
–          Be kind to those around you
–          Don’t be selfish, but share your good things
–          Don’t cheat
–          Be polite at all times

Here’s the ironic thing…. some of these sentiments and ideals came directly from the Children’s National Guild of Courtesy – a Good Manners chart which was distributed to elementary / primary schools in UK and Australia from 1898 until approx 1950.

You can download the PDF here: goodmanners

And yet it’s akin to the language we are now hearing from business re-inventionists. In real terms, we’ve just realized that often with success comes bad manners and attitude. Then after the bad manners and attitude comes the inevitable decline. This is why the new world brands are winning – they simply have good manners.

Startups – if we personify our brands, then let’s ensure they have ‘Brand Manners’.

Small Companies vs Big Companies

If I could give one piece of advice for anyone who has reently escaped their cubicle of the large corporate scene to start up it would be this:

Do the opposite of whatever large companies do.

…and be quicker than they are.

if your startup is in the same industry you worked in…

Do the opposite of what you ‘were told to do’ within your large company.

To beat them you must focus on momentum. We most not do what they do, we must not compete on their level.

To gain momentum, we simply cannot behave the way they do.

Old media / new media

We all agree that media is changing – “ing”, not “ed”.

So it still makes sense to consider both options for our limited marketing and startup budgets.

So here’s a simple summary of each:

Old media
Costs a lot, but is really quick. Reaches people who might not have been looking for you. Leverages solid infrastructure so demands less human capital. But has a high wastage rate. Suits mass markets

New media
Usually free, and reaches those who are seeking you. Can be quick, but only for the lucky few who nail ideas people want to spread. Uses fragmented infrastructure so requires more man hours. Leaves a digital footprint and so effort compounds. Suits niches.

Until old & new media fully merge, we need to allocate budgets. But it’s also important we remember we can replace money with time when we are financially constrained.

As seen on (TV) Google

As seen on TV Google… 

Back in the halcyon days of the TV industrial complex, an oft used selling point was the fact that something was actually on TV.

The thinking went something like this: 

  1. TV advertising is expensive
  2. They (brand X) are advertising on TV
  3. They have the money to make this investment
  4. So people must be buying this product
  5. This product must be good
  6. I will buy this product


It built a sense of trust. Trust that evolved from assumed scale.  

Guess what? It’s back! Only this time it’s ‘as seen on front page of Google’. 

The new thinking isn’t too different:

  1. Google knows everything on the web
  2. It’s on the front page of Google
  3. Google has done the sorting for me
  4. Lots of people must be using this site
  5. Lots of sites must be linked to it
  6. I can buy from (trust) this website

The cool thing about this for start ups, is that it really only takes an investment in time and thinking to get there. Not a big media buy.

Simple permission marketing – in action

You may recall a blog entry I did on Simple permission marketing. The basic premise being, if we have a startup which is ‘interesting’, it’s not difficult to get some good media coverage which is ‘content’ – not advertising.

In the spirit on practicing what one preaches, here’s a little summary of how we’ve achieved this for

* You can see the article for each by click on each listed below:

          The Leader Newspaper (metro ciculation)

          The Herald Sun Newspaper (biggest circulation in Australia)

          The Age Newspaper (most respected broadsheet in Australia)

          The Age – Livewire (web weekly of above)

          The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney’s broadsheet)

          ABC radio – National Public radio – interview

          The Australian Financial Review (Wall Street Journal of Aust)

          The Pod Cast Network – G’day world interview

          Multiple targeted magazines & blogs

Net cost of all this was zero. No PR firm, no dodgy deals. Just honest conversation with people about and what we are doing.

It works, but it takes 2 things: effort and a lot of follow up.

Try it for your start up, and let start up blog know how you go!