A couple of weeks ago I moved the the book Life’s a Pitch (Stephen Bayley & Roger Mavity) from my candidate booklist to my active booklist.
The book has great insights and great stories.
The next is story is from this book. It’s about Sir Gerry Robinson. He has been Chairman of the Arts Council and delivered a great pitch to Tony Blair.
His pitch is great because it simple, very concrete, emotional and credible.
The next is from the book p112
Gerry was choosen to run the Arts Council because the Blair Government thought the Council was badly and extravagantly managed, so they wanted a hard-headed businessman to get hold of it and cut the waste. But when Gerry studie dit, he quickly decided the arts needed more money not less. I asked him how he pitched this difficult case to the very people who had put him in place to recommend the opposite.
Gerry answered :
I had to point out that the problems weren’t just the inefficiencies, although there was some of that, but the arts were just ludicrously underfunded. Any civilized nation should fund the arts properly. I felt that it was a credible proposition for me to be saying that rather than someone from the arts world.
I just knew that the way to get the money was to point out that was needed, £200 million, was in real terms absolutely bugger all. I reminded them it was just about the cost of one F-11 jet.
Gerry used concreteness, surprise, emotion and credibility to be understood, remembered and to change behaviour.
The credibility didn’ t came from the message itself. It was Gerry who gave the credibility. If it had been somebody from the Arts Council and not a tough businessman the message would not have had credibility.
Gerry surprised Tony Blair. Blair expected to hear ideas for cuts inbudgets.
“Any civilized nation” is a great phrase for building identity. It creates emotion because who wants to be prime minister of a nation that is not that civil anymore.
Gerry used the concreteness for his audience. In order for Tony Blair to be able grasp the amount Gerry used an image from his world.