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Swan Buildings, 20 Swan Street
Manchester, M4 5JW

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Recipe for a successful pitch

Our very own Business Development Director – Claire Critcher – knows a thing or two about pitching. She has come up with the criteria to make sure you have all the ingredients for a great pitch:

Every agency feels the pain and the gain from pitching, but every now and then you do feel the relief of an agency-savvy client that understands exactly what you need to do the best job possible. We aren’t in the pitching game for fun, this is a serious source of new business that takes time and energy and this can often be overlooked with the lack of insight given in a brief. The components of a great brief are pretty straightforward but often hard to come by. We take each brief very seriously, even the fun ones, in order to do both ourselves and the brand justice. So, in order to make smart, calculated decisions we developed our own pitch criteria.

Fancy a brew?

Face-to-face – We put a lot of emphasis on finding both staff and clients who are the right fit for us as an agency. You also only really get the full story when you sit and have a conversation with someone. In order to deliver a well rounded pitch we have to meet our potential clients and get a sense of what this project means to them as an individual – it’s the only way we can truly be confident that we are doing the right thing.

What makes you shine?

Proposition – A good brand proposition clearly identifies the benefits that any customer gets from using your brand. A great brand proposition tells the customer why this is unique and that they can’t get this anywhere else. This is vital when creating any communications piece for a brand, and if it doesn’t already exist then we’ll need time to find it!

Show us the money

Budget – It can sometimes feel pushy to ask for a budget if it is not disclosed within the brief, however this is a critical parameter for us to work within. It not only helps us gauge the amount of work we are able to commit to at pitch stage, it actually defines the brief. Without a budget we run the huge risk of pitching our ideas at completely the wrong level and wasting both ours and the client’s time!

What will make your day?

Vision of Success – This encompasses aims, objectives and both hard and soft KPIs. In knowing exactly what a client wants to achieve, it allows us to create the right solution. Without understanding what our clients deem as ‘success’ from each and every project then how would we ever measure our own value?

Give us a clue!

Insight – In order to determine what is right for the consumer or end user, we need to speak to them. And if we can’t speak to them, we need the client to. It’s all well and good for us sitting round a table saying what’s right and wrong but if it’s not relevant to the end user then it’s redundant. The more consumer insight we get, the better the result. Give us a clue!

Up for a challenge?

Challenges – Undoubtedly this is a crucial part to every brief – particularly in a new relationship. The process of understanding our clients’ challenges can be a lengthy one, particularly if the obvious ‘problem’ isn’t actually addressing the larger underlying challenges. Any indication of past, present or future challenges adds a very valuable layer to any brief – especially if we have successfully solved this same challenge before!

Fisty cuffs

Competition – This may be personal preference, but I like to know exactly what we’re up against in the pitching process. There are so many agencies to compete with and it’s vital for us to communicate what makes us stand out from the rest.

Story time

Stories – Storytelling may feel like a buzzword right now but it is the key to success when promoting a brand. We need to know the USPs and KSPs of a brand to identify the stories that are there to be told – without this a product can lack both emotion and relevance. Stories are our ammunition to bring a brand to life.

Two heads are better than one!

Collaboration – We are often faced with the request for a ‘one-stop-shop’ which is understandable but can also feel restrictive. As an agency of 20 permanent staff, we handle a lot in-house, however our most creative, boundary-pushing work comes when we collaborate with our close, trusted partners. It keeps our ideas fresh, it allows us to challenge the norm and it excites our clients every time. We are very open and honest about this process and it is a breath of fresh air when a client is happy to embrace a collaborative way of working.

So there you have it, winning a pitch isn’t a easy job, unless you have all the right ingredients.

Alastair Dickie

7th July 2015