Storytelling & Branding For Early-Stage Ventures (S7E3)
What you’ll see this episode:
In this episode, we begin with the season’s inaugural Blox-Off. For those not in the loop, let’s break down the Blox-Offs: Winners from each pod face a spontaneous challenge presented individually before the audience, while the other pod victors head to a soundproof room. Judges then rank the contestants on a scale of 1 to 7 based on their Blox-Off performance. These evaluations, combined with the daily challenge and consult rankings, decide the top three competitors of The Blox, and these three teams will earn the season’s first red jerseys, marking them as prime targets. This jam-packed episode also delves into another daily lesson and its ensuing Bloxer challenge.
Launch of the Blox-Off
At the beginning of the episode, we see seven terrified Bloxers about to enter their first Blox-Off, a long-form pop quiz. Not only do the pod winners have to define terms from the day’s lesson like “build, measure learn,” “innovation accounting,” and “split testing,” they also need to apply the concepts to their business – on the spot. The Blox-Off goes better for some than others, and with that, the first top three teams of the season are announced and given their red jerseys – and – surprise! – it’s not necessarily the top three from the Blox-Off.
After an intense first night, some contestants take the time to relax, play some pool, and reflect on the day. Things get really emotional, and it’s a moment where we see just how much support is needed in our entrepreneurial journey and why communities like The Blox are so important. In similar fashion, the pod winners and judges gather for breakfast the next morning to discuss their businesses and begin the day by strategizing.
Day two’s lesson is rooted in storytelling and branding and why it’s so important to pitching – because real life is not like Shark Tank, and pitching is much more than just asking for money. It’s about getting the other person to resonate with your brand as quickly as possible. The contestants also learn the importance of reading the room as well as how we can change people’s perception of us by dripping bits of information to them based on what we want them to see and feel.
With multiple Bloxers having major lightbulb moments, only the day’s challenge will tell if they really grasped the concept or not. The task seems simple enough: present their Idea Introduction Patterns – but is it as easy as it sounds? Stay tuned for episode four to get a glimpse at the consults and see who won the day.
Storytelling & Branding For Early-Stage Ventures
Oren Klaff, the author of “Pitch Anything,” sets the stage for this class by highlighting a significant disconnect between how we pitch ideas and how they’re received by our audience. This results in a lack of effectiveness during crucial moments of persuasion, where our essential messages struggle to break through. Pitching often gets tied to fundraising and showcases like Shark Tank, yet it spans far beyond that – whether it’s presenting at the bank, recruiting team members, negotiating leases, or collaborating along the supply chain. The challenge lies in the wide array of situations – virtual or in-person, spanning seconds to months – which makes preparation a puzzle. The solution lies in understanding how people process new concepts and framing our narratives to resonate effectively.
The Presenter’s Problem emerges as our deep expertise often becomes a barrier when we explain complex ideas to those less familiar. Our knowledge can turn into a weakness if not managed properly. A significant revelation is that while we’re experts from the neocortex, the listener’s brain filters everything through the crocodile brain’s lens, creating a disconnect. Communication begins after passing through the croc brain, the gatekeeper blocking the way to comprehension. This mechanism seeks to mark non-crucial matters as “spam,” reacting with boredom, caution, or a need for radical summarization. To navigate this, we must tailor our stories to fit the crocodile brain’s criteria.
The reality of how new people interpret our ideas involves their tendency to ignore, focus on the big picture, respond emotionally (often through fear), have a short attention span, and demand concrete facts over abstract concepts. The Idea Introduction Pattern offers a structured way to present ideas to them. Context, such as the length and type of conversation, plays a significant role. Perception is a power that influences stock prices, recruiting efforts, sales, pricing strategies, and more, and you dictate how people perceive you by defining your brand. Defining your brand involves assets like videos, pictures, written stories, and social media content. Turning these assets into a brand requires aligning them with the crocodile brain’s thinking, effectively telling your story to resonate with your audience.
Key Takeaways From This Episode:
- How do we pitch to different groups of people? The answer is we understand the root of how people interpret new ideas and then frame our stories to sit nicely within them.
- There’s a huge disconnect in pitching: while our expertise comes from our neocortex, our listener’s brain first interprets it through the lens of the crocodile brain.
- When a fresh face encounters your new ideas, it seeks solid evidence, veers away from abstract concepts, and craves verified facts.
- When pitching, context matters. Ask yourself: How long do you have to talk? Is this a conversation, a pitch, a Q&A? What is the actual point of this meeting? Who is leading the meeting?
- Perception of your brand is everything. Perception increases stock prices, makes recruiting and retaining employees easier, makes sales easier, increases what you can charge for your product and more.
The Blox: Season 7
- Guess Who's Back, Back Again: The Blox! (S7E1)
- The LEAN Machines (S7E2)
- Storytelling & Branding For Early-Stage Ventures (S7E3)
- The Greatest Show On Entrepreneurship Treks Forward (S7E4)
- Lead Nurturing At Scale (S7E5)
- Realistic Fundraising Structures For Early-Stage Entrepreneurs (S7E6)
- Tech Stacks Designed To Scale Small Businesses (S7E7)
- And The Winner Is... (S7E8)
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