The Red Thread in a Pitch
In this episode of The Red Thread, Tamsen takes a look at Arianna Huffington’s latest venture, Thrive Global, to show how the five pieces of the Red Thread apply to a real world example.
Looking at the four sentences on their About page, we see how the five steps of the Red Thread (the goal, the problem, the idea, the change, and the action) run through their statement and clearly outlines everything they do.
Getting in-depth with Thrive Global’s Investor Pitch Deck, Tamsen breaks down the principles of the Red Thread as they apply to a more specific pitch and business model.
- Thrive Global About page
- Thrive Global Investor Pitch Deck
- Thrive Global launch interview on Business Insider
Let’s find the Red Thread of Arianna Huffington’s latest venture: Thrive Global. Now, if you want, pause here and go read their About page on Thrive Global’s website and look through their Investor Pitch Deck. I’m going to use those two to illustrate the Red Thread at work.
Remember, the five pieces of the Red Thread are the goal, the thing that drives the situation or the thing that drives an organization or you as an individual. Second, the problem that you’re there to solve. Third, the key idea that is both the diagnosis of the problem, why the problem is so dangerous, but it also dictates the change, which is the fourth piece. And the change, of course, is the high-level direction shift, the solution if you will, though I prefer change because it indicates a change in approach. And then the fifth piece is the actions. What are the actions that you take to put that in place? By and large, any successful message or any successful brand does a good job at articulating all five of those pieces, and even better when they’re in order.
So let’s take a look at Thrive Global. Now, on their About page is one sentence that encapsulates their Red Thread. And they do it by combining their goal with their actions. So let’s take a look: “Thrive Global’s mission is to end the stress and burnout epidemic by offering companies and individuals sustainable, science-based solutions to enhance both well-being and performance.” Now the first part of that, of course, is the goal. Their mission is to “end the stress and burnout epidemic.” In other words, that’s their answer to… I’m looking for how can I do this? And their answer is, with their actions: “sustainable, science-based solutions to enhance both well-being and performance.”
Now, the second sentence is the Red Thread continued. It’s an articulation of the problem that they’re there to solve. And it’s a problem that I like particularly because it’s cast in a real problem kind of way. In other words, we think that burnout is the price that we have to pay for success, but they’re saying: “Nope, that’s a delusion, and we’re here to solve that.”
The third sentence says ah, this is the change now, that “when we prioritize our well-being, our decision-making, creativity, and productivity improve dramatically.” So now we know what is the change that they’re out there to represent, and they tie it back to the goal. Remember, the change is what you need to do to achieve your goal. So they’ve talked a little bit about impact here.
While the last sentence is a summation of everything, it’s a nice wrap-up to this very tight description of Thrive Global’s Red Thread: “Thrive Global is committed to accelerating the culture shift that allows people to reclaim their lives and move from merely surviving to thriving.” In a lot of ways, they could use either the first sentence or the last sentence to be a super-short description of their Red Thread, but I think all of it taken together is a really good one.
Now, what’s even more fascinating, of course, is that if a Red Thread is the right Red Thread, then it should show up in other places. And in fact, if you take a look at the Investor Deck that Thrive Global used to raise funds, you’ll see that the same pattern holds true. And not only the same pattern of the Red Thread, but how they answer that. So after the first slide, which is the title slide, it starts right off with the goal, that “Thrive Global is the platform to promote well-being and productivity, address the pandemic of stress, maximize creativity, and transform our culture from surviving to thriving.” In other words, that is their declaration, that this is who we’re for. We are for people who are asking, how can I get these things? How can I achieve these goals?
The second slide, exactly where you’d want to see it, is the problem. So this is the problem that they solve. And what I like about how they place this is they know they’re talking to business, so what they do is they describe burnout and stress as being absolutely in opposition to the goal of successful business. They talk about how much it costs, what it does to their employees, and they say right up front that this is the thing that we’re here to solve.
The third slide— I was so excited! The third slide absolutely represents the idea, and you can see because it says “the Thrive Global philosophy.” Yes! And they talk about how Thrive Global’s based on the philosophical principles both from the West and the East, and that their offerings will be customized according to each market. In other words, the big idea that sits at the core of Thrive Global is that there’s something to learn both from the more holistic practices of Eastern medicine when it’s backed up by and supported by the statistical significance and the proof of Western medicine, and that what they’re talking about is the intersection between the two, that there’s value there. And this is a belief that sits at the core of their company.
The next slide, the fourth slide, where you’d expect to see the change is exactly where you see it: “The Thrive Global Solution.” And what they’re saying when they’re talking to investors is now they’re talking about that larger change of promoting wellness and productivity. They’re talking about— in the terms of what an investor needs to see, they’re talking about how they’re going to do that. And the shift, as they say, is “to build and serve a growing community of thrivers.” So the big change that they’re offering, the big way that they’re going to approach solving this problem of stress and burnout is to create a community of people who believe in this intersection and follow this intersection of Eastern and Western science. So you see how it builds.
And then the remaining pages of the deck, as you would expect in a pitch deck, are all about exactly how they’re going to do that. In other words, it’s the action articulated. So they talk about, on the Change page, how it’s corporate offerings and consumer offerings, and then the rest of the deck is articulating that. First they start with the corporate offerings, and then they go into the consumer offerings, and then wrap up at the end.
Now, a quick note on how you can adapt the Red Thread for a pitch is that… Note that after they’ve gone through the actions, they’ve answered the other questions, the broader questions that an investor would have, which is: Can you do this? Who are you to do this? How are you going to do this? And do you have the right team? So they include here their Thrive Global partners, as well as the advisors and the board of directors.
And then the final piece that they have on their pitch deck is something that, again, summarizes everything about Thrive Global and why they exist. And as you’ll see, it’s a real quick recap of the Red Thread in miniature. Goal, problem, idea, change, action. Can you find the Red Thread?