Firm Narrative
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Firm Narrative

Pitch the Promised Land

How to craft the most important part of your strategic message.

Before pitching his product, he describes a Promised Land that his product will help customers reach.

What’s the Promised Land?

The Promised Land is my shorthand for the desirable, difficult-to-achieve future that you commit to make real for your customers (or other relevant stakeholders). The Promised Land is the North Star that guides everything that everyone does in your company, and should always be the thing that you are ultimately pitching—on your website, in sales conversations, in recruiting discussions, and with potential investors.

Elon Musk delivering keynote for Telsa Model 3
Google search results for Slack

How to Design an Effective Promised Land

Again, your Promised Land is the future state of the world that you commit to bringing about for your customer or audience. Ideally, it should be:

  1. Improbable. It should be unlikely that your customer will reach the Promised Land in a world without you and your product/service, even through efforts of competitors. After all, if your customer can achieve the desired future without you, why does your company exist?
  2. A balance between short-term and long-term aspirations

How Uber’s Promised Land Evolved as its Market and Strategy Changed

I wish I could offer a rule of thumb for when to go high and when to go low, but I’ve seen both work for companies at different stages. Maybe the right answer has something to do with market maturity — how well buyers already understand what you do.

Uber home page, 2011
Uber home page, 2014
Uber home page, 2016

5 Questions for Evaluating Your Promised Land

While we all recognize a good Promised Land when we see one, here are five questions I ask teams to consider when evaluating a Promised Land, along with illustrative examples:

#1. Does it motivate your target audience?

Men’s Health covers

#2. Is it emotional for your target audience?

Parsable home page

#3. Will it align everyone in your company?

Facebook home page (when user is not logged in)

“…we often make improvements to News Feed, and when we do, we rely on a set of core values….Facebook was built on the idea of connecting people with their friends and family.”

#4. Is it worded the way people actually talk?

Wootric home page

#5. Does it define a huge, profitable, differentiated category?

Airbnb home page

Your Product? Pitch it as a Means of Reaching the Promised Land.

Once they’re bought into the Promised Land you want to help them reach, audiences are far more likely to pay attention to your product and its features. In that context, your product is a lightsaber that helps save the universe, the divine power that parts the Red Sea.



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