On average, 158 million people use Snapchat every day and create 2.5 billion Snaps. While those figures are impressive, they weren't revealed until a full twenty minutes into the 35-minute video that accompanies Snap Inc.'s IPO roadshow. There's a reason for it. In order for statistics to be compelling, they need perspective. A persuasive presentation puts numbers into context before they're revealed.
The CEO of Snap, Inc., Evan Spiegel, positions Snapchat as a storytelling platform and, true to the mission of the company, Spiegel's IPO presentation is also in the form of a narrative. "We're a little more than 100 years into the history of the camera. We are excited to contribute to the story of what the camera can be," Spiegel says.
While I haven't worked with Snap, I have consulted with at least three high-profile companies prior to their IPOs. You might not be preparing for a massive IPO, but you can learn from those who do go public because they put a lot of thought into their presentations. Here are five presentation tips that you can learn Snap's IPO video.
Reframe and explain
Spiegel owns the story and positions the company as more than a fun app. "Snap is a camera company. Our products empower people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world and have fun together," Spiegel says. Snapchat "empowers a human desire to feel closer to someone."
The metrics that will be introduced later are largely meaningless unless Spiegel explains the 'why' behind the product: why it's popular, transformational, and addictive. He also takes the viewer on a short history of computing, communication and the camera.
"We are at the beginning of what cameras can do," Spiegel continues. "If you think about the keyboard and how that became the primary input for everything you do on the computer, with Snapchat the camera has become the primary input for the phone. Throughout history, people have wanted to communicate in intimate ways...the handwriting on a letter, the sound of their voice. Today Snapchat taps into the human desire to communicate in a way that feels like it's face to face, even if you're far away."
Steve Jobs used this technique brilliantly to explain Apple products. Before launching into the features of a new product like the original Macintosh, the iPod, the iPhone or the iPad, Jobs took a few minutes in his presentation to clearly explain what consumers were demanding, how technology was changing and how Apple's provided a solution to meet this intersection of technology, need and desire.
Don't assume your audience knows everything about the history of your product and where it fits into the world. Build the narrative.
Introduce a cast
A great presentation is like a Broadway show with a plot, a set (Snap's video is recorded at the beach house which acts as its headquarters) and a supporting cast. In Snap's roadshow presentation, eight different people take turns telling part of the story. The main characters are Spiegel and his co-founder Bobby Murphy. The supporting cast is also made up of leaders overseeing technology, finance and communications. Finally, partners representing brands such as Gatorade and Adidas provide the cameos.
Adopt the rule of three
The rule of three is a fundamental building block of communication. It simply means that in short term memory people can only remember three or four 'chunks' of content. The concepts in Snap's presentation are often presented in threes and fours. For example,
"A snap is a piece of content, layered with expression, and sent in the moment."
"We're investing in four key areas..."
"We think of our journey in three phases..."
"We've differentiated ourselves in four key ways..."
A strong presentation provides roadmaps--an outline--of the discussion to follow. But don't clutter the roadmap with twenty points of interest--keep the list short.
Stick to one metric per slide
The data in the Snap video is presented simply and cleanly, with one key statistic per slide. For example, on one slide we learn:
"60% of our community creates Snaps every day."
On the next slide we learn:
"Average Snapchatter visits the app 18 times a day."
On yet another slide we learn:
"Users spend an average of 25-30 minutes on Snapchat every day."
Average presenters would have placed all the data on one slide. Great presenters focus on one metric at a time.
Go heavy on the visuals and light on the text
Snapchat is a visual platform--pictures, videos, chat and stories. It would seem odd and incongruent to present the Snap story on text-heavy PowerPoint slides. Discounting the legal disclaimer at the beginning of the video (which must be presented at the beginning of all roadshow presentations), the first three minutes of the presentation has no text or data. Instead Spiegel describes the evolution of the camera over videos and photos. "Cameras have evolved from being a piece of hardware, like a chip, to software that's connected to the Internet," he says.
Why clutter a history lesson with boring PowerPoint slides with text and bullet points? Use visuals to complement the narrative.
Snapchat represents the intersection of communication, creativity and storytelling. If you use Snap's IPO roadshow presentation as a guide for your next pitch, you will certainly stand out.