By James Martin
May 31st, 2020
Every early-stage entrepreneur will have heard of the proverbial elevator pitch: the all-encompassing, punchy, pithy one-liner that is supposed to summarise your company and product in an exciting and enticing manner. To many investors, the quality of the one-liner forms a crucial part on the road to success. So, here at Angels Partners, we have rounded up the best advice around to help you form your own snappy, sharp and savvy company one-liner.
The Cocktail Party Pitch
When Mark Suster, from Upfront Ventures, was asked about the best company one-liners, instead of referring to the classic elevator pitch, he suggested the ‘Cocktail Party Pitch’. His revamped analogy, explaining that if you’re at a cocktail party and someone is boring you after 1 minute of unenthusiastic and dull conversation, you wouldn’t be likely to hang around for the next one, well, the same goes for an entrepreneur selling their product to an investor. Suster goes onto say that the worst scenarios are when there’s not only a lack of passion, but when founders mumble on and on. By using the cocktail party pitch scenario, adapted to a business setting, entrepreneurs will do better to come up with that catchy, unique and frankly, interesting one-liner that will prick up an investor’s ears and make way for more chance of success. Once you’ve got it pinned down, practice saying it over and over, in front of the mirror, to your friends and family and don’t stop until its seamless. Everything hangs in the opening line.
Emotional vs. Literal
To be able to describe your business in one sentence is a huge asset; not only does it enable investors to understand your product, but it also helps inform your employees and, eventually, your customers. However, it is not easy to capture the essence of huge operations. The days of the catchy slogan (and in some investors’ opinions, the analogies) are over and nowadays, the more emotional attachment the one-liner can include, the better. “Where businesses thrive”, the emotive one-liner from WeWork, epitomizes the power of capturing more than just the literal understanding of the product, a coworking space, but encourages the idea that this product can bring about success too.
If we take a look at one of the most successful products, Apple’s Original iPod, Steve Jobs cleverly coined the slogan “1000 songs in Your Pocket”. Simple. Thought-provoking. Slick. Time and time again, we see the best one-liners having less of a literal meaning and more of an emotional essence. By constructing an emotive desire and need for a product, the higher your chances are of market traction. Apple’s one-liner, elegant and imaginative, is successful in preserving the specifics of the product, whilst simultaneously intriguing the consumer. Find your unique and intriguing hook by capitalizing on the emotional side of the consumer.
“It’s like the…”
It is also true that companies with a more literal slogan, often using analogies, have also been successful and it’s not surprising when they refer to respected and prosperous industries. For example, a motto such as “LinkedIn for Doctors” is to the point, explicit and creates immediate value, which can be compelling and helpful for any prospective investor wanting to take a shortcut to understand your company. However, even if your company’s one-liner is framed on a valued and already thriving business it is essential to anchor your pitch in a new and different direction so that your company can create its own unique field and space. Furthermore, be careful not to settle on a slogan that is a derivative or smaller idea; you don’t want to be the next “Uber for Airports” when Uber is already nailing that one too!