Why Cameron’s ‘Big Society’ needs an elevator pitch

UK houses of parliament

Prime Minister David Cameron has been talking a lot this week about his ‘Big Society’ concept – but despite all the rhetoric, nobody seems to be able to define what it is.

A quick look in Google News today reveals an astonishing 1,036 articles on the topic, and a quick scan of the first 20-or-so headlines throws up words like “scepticism”, “con”, “trouble” and “delusion”. Why? Because neither Cameron nor his spin doctors appear to be able to give a concise explanation of what the Big Society concept is supposed to mean.

As any good copywriter knows, you can’t sell anything without a good elevator pitch – so named because you should be able to describe your offering to the person you want to persuade in the time it takes to accompany them to another floor in an elevator. [It should be a “lift pitch” really, but presumably it’s an American saying.]

For example, our own elevator pitch might go something like this: “Write My Site is a copywriting agency that helps other businesses keep their websites and blogs updated with regular content.”

There are three key components to this pitch:

1) A clear indication of the nature of the organisation – “copywriting agency”

2) A statement about who the organisation wants to deal with – “other businesses”

3) A concise summary of the problem the organisation aims to solve – “keep … websites and blogs updated with regular content”

This is a simple format that can be applied to just about any business, organisation or concept. David Cameron, if you’re reading, feel free to leave a comment with an elevator pitch for your Big Society …

In the meantime, if any other readers would like to have a go at an elevator pitch, you too are welcome to leave a comment. Remember: say who you are, say who you want to help, and then say how you want to help them.

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