6 story themes that win pitches

In today’s competitive environment it’s the softer stuff that’ll make executives stand out to investors

In a McKinsey study of the stories of 1000 funding nominees, these story themes proved to be winners when pitching.


The Six Story Themes for Pitches

1. BEST BEATS FIRST- you’re not the first but you’re better than the first. This is the tale of how you’ve improved on the original.  Sarah E. Goode, inventor of the fold-out bed, is a clear example in that she improved drastically on the bed’s precursor, the pull-out bed.

2. MASTER REINVENTORS – You killed your old product and created a better one, such as the Danish energy company, Ørsted, who are developing their wind energy production,

3. SERENDIPITY – A lucky discovery facilitates an innovation. Post its were discovered that way by Art Fry, when paper book marks in his choir book in Church kept on dropping out.  He recalled an earlier 3M invention of a type of adhesive that could peel easily from surfaces with no mark, thus birthing the Post-it note.

4. PERSPIRATION – this is about iterative learning constant improvement, demonstrated in the classic Thomas Eddison story of the one thousand attempts it took to invent the light bulb.

5. UNDERDOG – you’re fighting the system without compromising your vision. Steve Jobs capitalised on this with his bullish tenacity to create Apple.

6. RIDING THE WAVE – capitalising on existing trends brings an innovation to life. Broadband and the existence of simple video editing functions allowed YouTube to appear.


This is an edited version of the original McKinsey article .


Your Action Steps

1. Decide which theme fits your product or service.

2. Integrate it into your pitch.

3. Go here to structure it more fully into your story.



Want to know more? Download the Ultimate Pitching Checklist here.  Want help to tell your story?  Struggling with team or individual pitching?  Find some of the solutions here then get in touch for a free 15 minute Discovery Call.


Photo by Nghia Le on Unsplash

Leave a Comment.

Please note that for privacy reasons your email address is not publicly displayed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share This: