Posted on / by ciaran

A Formula for Clarity and Simplicity in Pitching Strategy to Clients (and to Everyone Else)

It takes a lot of discipline to create a clear, simple and concise strategy that is easy to sell to clients, accounts directors and creatives.

Sometimes structured strategy approaches (like Diageo Way of Brand Building or Proctor and Gamble Way) can be helpful, to ‘force’ simplicity and see if our strategic thinking stands up to the test.

I recently came across another approach to simplification from the world of philanthropy, which I thought was interesting.

Mulago is a fund through which philanthropists invest in social initiatives.

They take a prescriptive approach. They ask organization’s that are pitching to them to:

  1. Have Simple Definition of the Real Mission

They want the pitch to be expressed in one sentence to include (1.) target population (2.) verb (3.) ultimate outcome – like this:

  • Get African one-acre farmers out of poverty
  • Prevent HIV infection in Brazil

The outcome must be tangible and measurable otherwise the pitch will be rejected. They bluntly explain that if you don’t have a clear simple outcome, you ‘don’t know what you are trying do’.

  1. Pick the Right Indicator

They ask the proposers to ‘figure out the best indicator that would demonstrate that the mission is accomplished’. So the indicators relating to the above are:

  • Change in farm income
  • Decrease in HIV infection rates

They explain that.. ’we notice that while things like ‘awareness’ or ‘empowerment’ might be critical to the process that drives new behaviours, we are interested in the change that results from the behavior’.

  1. Get Real Numbers

They ask that proposers (1.) show change and (2.) have confidence that it is real.

This means:

  • There is a baseline and it is measured again at the right interval, and
  • Enough of the right people (or tree’s, crops, income or whatever) were sampled, in the right way
  1. Make the Case for Attribution

Show that the change was as a result of what you did, and not something else.

This must be through one or all of these:

  • Narrative Attribution: ‘Before and after data’ combined with air-tight story on the ground of success attributable to the project
  • Matched Controls: A control group for comparative data
  • Randomized Controlled Trials: Scientific sampling of test and control groups
  1. Assess Bang for Buck

Divide total donor money by total impact.

The full reference is here The site is also worth browsing if you have the time.