Ah, pitching. The tricky art of saying ‘Hey, I’d like your money. Here’s why that’d be a great idea for you.’ Regardless of who you are or what you’re pitching, it’s never a cut and dry process. There are however some best practices known to increase your chance of pitching success beyond simply having a great idea: make your pitch short, make your pitch focussed, and make your pitch interesting. Using a dynamic presentation format that inherently hits all three points is ideal for making the process as easy as possible for you and your team. But what format could possibly be so ideal for creating a quick, informative, and memorable pitch experience? Enter: the explainer video.

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1) It speeds up your pitch

The prevailing advice is that a good pitch should be as short as possible. Whether you’re pitching a new product to a client, or a whole new startup to an investor, you want to sell the sizzle rather than the steak. Exactly how long it takes to sell that sizzle will vary from project to project, but generally a brief pitch is always better due to our natural human tendency to get bored, get restless, and lose focus. After all, a steak will only sizzle so long before it turns to an inedible pile of ash (speaking from personal experience as a failed steak cooker). Explainer videos are short by nature and work best when they pack their punch in under three minutes, meaning this format is inherently ideal to accompany (or replace) a pitch deck. Developing your pitch around the explainer video structure ensures your pitch won’t go over time and is only exactly as long as it needs to be, because:

2) It’s designed to give you the lowdown without the nitty gritty

The problem-solution format of explainer videos is ideal for pitching new ideas to potential investors, collaborators, and customers. A problem is presented through the eyes of a character, then a solution is offered in the form of the brand, product or service you’re pitching. Complex ideas can be narrowed down and articulated easily through the simple visuals and supportive audio, and deeper discussion on exactly how the product works, technical talk, and history of the brand are generally left out. This means the viewer can focus solely on the core ‘sizzle’ of your pitch and more easily respond to a call of action at the end, without getting distracted by sideline information.

3) It’s designed to be memorable

Using text and audio together (rather than one or the other) is proven to increase message retention by a staggering amount. Audio alone results in a 10% retention of information, but stimulating both visual and aural senses increases this number to a whopping 68%. By carrying your most valuable points of information in a clear audio-visual way, you drastically increase the chances of your audience walking away from the pitch with your ideas ringing in their minds.

4) You can pitch it anywhere, to anyone with access

Ahh, the wonders of technology. No longer are we forced to take a 14 hour flight across the globe to present a two minute slideshow to an international investor who may or may not have been thinking about what to order for dinner that night. The great advantage of using videos in your pitch vs. face-to-face pitching is this increased accessibility – pitching to anyone, anywhere, all across the globe. 

And the flexibility for how to present your explainer video pitch is immense – you can send it, embed it, share it, make it public, keep it private, put it in a larger slideshow, let it speak for itself, present it in a live video chat, or send it for the viewer to watch at their leisure. This type of preprepared video pitch means brands are unrestrained by timezones, by others’ schedules, or by physical disabilities which might otherwise make an in-person pitch problematic.

5) It’s attention grabbing

When you see someone whip out a powerpoint presentation it can be hard to hold back the yawns. There’s some shared, knee-jerk association between slideshows and boredom, whether for you personally it harks back to school lectures or the tedium of business meetings. Animated videos on the other hand have managed to gain a reputation for quick-paced fun and visual stimulation, thanks to the prevalence of childhood cartoons and the growing popularity of adult animated sitcoms. Use this association to your advantage to grab your viewer’s attention with an animated explainer video, subconsciously starting your pitch off on a positive foot.

6) It shows off your brand’s personality

Animated explainer videos are especially good at expressing personality and aesthetic because they can be visually and audibly designed in whatever way serves you best. From the writing to the character design to the setting to the narration, the possibilities aren’t limited to real world physics or abilities. The script can (and should) be written in a way to show off who your brand is – your voice and your look – not just your product information. Your visuals can (and should) reveal a style consistent with your branding materials and ethos. Your narration and music can (and should) sound exactly like the mood of your brand – fun and cheeky, or serious and motivated, or whatever feeling it is you’re trying to share with your pitching audience.

7) It proves your preparedness

For all its benefits, animated video requires planning and intentionality, and cannot be created live in a smooth and appealing way (although advances are gradually being made in this area). However, the advantage of using pre-prepared material in a pitch environment is that it proves your readiness to your audience. Investing time in producing a quality presentation in a labour intensive medium makes the viewer’s time feel especially valued, and evidences you as a reliable source of good work.

Written by Maree Railton.