PepsiCo is bringing innovation in-house through PepsiCo10, an incubator program that pairs tech start-ups with its global brands. Join Josh Karpf, PepsiCo’s director of digital media, and Digiday editor Giselle Abramovich via Webinar on Oct. 18 at 2 p.m. to discuss how the company harnesses start-ups’ talent to create groundbreaking campaigns while providing them with mentorship and visibility.
Until then, here are Karpf’s Do’s and Don’ts for start-ups looking to pitch brand partnerships.
Don’t pitch your napkin idea: You may be pitching an incubator, but you’ll have to show your company is primed to thrive. “We look at viability,” said Karpf. “Is there a business model around it or is it just an idea that would take resources to build?” PepsiCo10 whittles down its initial wave of submissions to 25 to 30 companies that pitch to executives. Those without a real business plan are the first to go.
Do be quick: PepsiCo10 and other incubator programs attract professional pitchers who know how to articulate who they are and what they can contribute in five minutes or less. “A number of them are serial entrepreneurs. This is the second or third company, so these guys know how to pitch… They’re very concise.”
Do your homework:Make sure you’ve studied the brand’s business inside and out, including all their product lines. If you’re pitching PepsiCo10, make sure you reference Lay’s potato chips, not Pringles. “I don’t think it’s a death sentence, but knowing the business is really key. Know all the products, not just the major ones. Research is key.”
Do stand out:There’s a fine line between memorable and gimmicky, but if your pitch is smart, a stand-out execution may make the difference. The 25 to 30 companies that pitch PepsiCo10 in a single day all work hard to get noticed. Lots of presenters go the young Harvard MBA route with matching suits and slick materials, but the pitch Karpf remembered best was very different.“We had one CEO that had a music start-up. They rapped their whole five-minute pitch. It was a hip hop music type of product. He was great.”