September 7, 2021
When the comedy Pitch Perfect came out almost ten years ago, the character “Fat Amy,” portrayed by Australian actress Rebel Wilson, captivated audiences with her confidence and humor. Despite other characters calling her “gross” and unapologetically body-shaming her (something that would likely not fly in a film today), she remains upbeat and channels her uniqueness into lively, powerful performances. In fact, she becomes a standout in the Barden Bella Acapella group and helps catapult them to victory in the Acapella finals. But perhaps what this character can teach us goes beyond Acapella. Her unrelenting resolve in doing what she loves and being her authentic self can apply to creating winning pitch decks.
Pitch decks are presentations designed to provide potential clients or partners with a compelling overview of your business and why they should want to work with you. Whether it’s a start-up trying to raise funding to get off the ground or an established business looking to expand, a pitch deck is a key piece of marketing collateral that businesses of all stages should have onhand. Pitch decks offer the chance to convey what you do, what drives you and what makes you different from competitors in your industry.
Even if you’re a novice at creating pitch decks, there are some essential elements that every pitch deck should include:
When considering how to put together these various elements, it’s important to remember that a strong pitch deck tells a story, and this story is enhanced by conveying a cohesive brand.
Fat Amy’s real name is Patricia, which she reveals later in the film. Even after admitting this, the other characters continue to refer to her as “Fat Amy” because her “brand” is so compelling. She also tells the other members of the Barden Bella Acapella group that she is from Tasmania where she was a renowned singer. It’s never verified whether this is true, but the confidence she exudes in her performances makes it entirely believable. The combination of the character’s well-crafted, entertaining story and brilliant dry humor that reinforces it are what cause her to captivate the audience more than any other character.
Brand storyteller Robin Fisher Roffer defines a brand as “meaning beyond your name.” In other words, what comes to mind when someone thinks about you or your business? A critical part of branding is figuring out what you stand for and making sure that is conveyed through your various marketing materials. You certainly should always be truthful about your business in a pitch deck, but it’s important to frame your experience and offerings into a narrative that will resonate with the potential audience. For example, I started Bossible so I could work directly with stakeholders to make an impact on their businesses through marketing and business development efforts, rather than being at a larger agency where I had little to no control over instituting real change. By framing my brand in this way when I pitch entrepreneurs and executives, I can demonstrate why I got into business in the first place, and then show how I can help them accomplish their goals.
Fat Amy is endearingly goofy in everything she says and does, which is in harmony with the overall comedic tone of the film. Her character generates a reliable stream of laughs and generally reinforces the story (a ridiculous one at that). In fact, the film’s formula worked, as Pitch Perfect went on to become a three-part film series, all featuring the indelible Fat Amy front and center.
With all of that in mind, how the entirety of your pitch deck looks and sounds matters – from your tone to logo to fonts to layout. In addition to conveying your business’s value-add to the audience, a constant reinforcement of your brand is critical because when the messaging in your pitch deck is disjointed or your aesthetic is inconsistent, it’s much more difficult to be memorable. Plus, like any unforgettable presentation or performance, your pitch deck should show rather than tell the audience what you want them to know. Rather than including slides with a lot of terminology and figures that could put your audience to sleep, instead focus on slides with fewer words, bolder graphics, and a consistent style. Doing so allows you to convey critical information while you are presenting, encouraging your audience to actually listen and be engaged.
By incorporating powerful storytelling and cohesive branding into your pitch decks, you’re well on your way to securing a win. Or as Fat Amy would say “crushed it!”
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