Why should the Left have a mortgage on talking to the heart?
The big problem with the Right is that they don’t understand the emotional power of a few short words and pictures.
They think the force of their logic should be enough to persuade people to make sensible decisions. Logic laid out in longwinded articles, speeches and press statements.
Maybe it should be. But clearly it isn’t.
Our long history of socialist governments making shortsighted decisions (both Labour and National) shows that.
I’ve made the above poster to show how a punchy pictorial message can trump the most elegantly-crafted 1000-word article on the same subject.
Imagine the effect of this in your daily paper. Which would grab more readers: the poster or the article?
No contest, right?
That’s because the mind processes in pictures. And over half of us are visual learners.
OK, so what does this suggest about the way the Right goes about its job of converting the convertible (as opposed to preaching to the converted)?
It suggests to me that it needs a retail arm to distill and showcase the excellent work of its many policy wholesalers.
(Think the Business Roundtable, the Centre for Independent Studies and the Centre for Resource Management Studies – all of whom, despite their diligence, reach only a tiny fraction of the population.)
What these think tanks need to get their messages out to the 99% of people beyond the beltway is a teach tank.
A teach tank’s sole job would be to distill the essence of all that world class research into easily-digestible, posterised morsels that can be fed to the general public one bite at a time.
The bites could be ‘nutshell’ newspaper ads, or posters slapped on walls (again, why should the Lefties control the streets?), or emails – whatever works best for the subject of the day.
Each nutshell ad would contain one fascinating factoid. Just one.
As they roll out day after day, naturally-curious people would come to trust the brand for giving them new insights into the workings of the world.
I’ve spoken about the teach tank idea to a couple of Business Roundtable CEO Forums, some potential funders, and again last weekend at the Summersounds Symposium in Nelson.
In fact, the speech was rewarded with an audience-judged Be Upstanding Award, which was nice – but not as nice as some serious funding, which has so far proved elusive.
(The heavy hitters of the Right are not as free with the cheques as the Left may like to think.)
If you know anyone who’d be keen to support the teach tank, I’d be keen to make the ads.
If the Right wants to create a real political sea change, it must harness the persuasive power of short words, simple pictures and emotion, and use it to tell the public what’s going on.