We are currently involved in many active pitches and proposals – which is fantastic. Some are competitive pitches, some are complete tender documents, and others are simply proposals based on our relationship with existing clients or recommended contacts. One thing we are always more than happy to do as part of the pitching process, is design concepts and articulate our creative ideas to the prospective client. Some may see this as a risk. Why give away your ideas on the hope of maybe working with another business? What if they use what you are putting forward internally, or worse still pass it onto another supplier? Of course these are all questions that run through our mind when partaking in both competitive and non competitive pitches. However I believe the benefits of laying it all on the line, and giving the pitch everything far outweigh being protective, paranoid and cynical.
No doubt often ideas are stolen (or used as ‘inspiration’) from pitches. People might see one element of what you are presenting that they love, but decide to work with another team – but thems the breaks.
We are currently responding to a fantastic tender at the moment. We have moved to the next stage and been invited to provide some creative concepts. Our main contact at the potential client also told us that they totally understand if we have an ‘anti-pitching’ policy, as another agency had told them they won’t be supplying concepts due to such policy. My colleague turned to me and said “LJ, What’s anti-pitching?”. As stupid as the term is, I explained it is where agencies refuse to send their creative ideas, or concepts in support of their proposal, through fear of having their work stolen.
Personally I think the term ‘anti-pitching’ is a massive oxymoron. How can you respond to a competitive tender with the attitude of “We are anti-pitching”. Surely this automatically leaves a bad taste in the potential clients mouth that they are not willing to provide some creative ideas or design examples to support their tender. The obvious argument is why can’t agencies or studios simply provide past examples of their fantastic work. Well true, we can, we all have an archive of great sites and designs we have done in the past. But if I was a client sitting on the other side of the table, I would like to see how you would interpret my brief and execute our specific project (not something from the past).
Overall, I am glad our internal policy is NOT ‘Anti-Pitching’. One of the most fun, exhilarating and team fulfilling things about working at an agency is working on pitches. Yes sometimes they are tedious, exhausting and the deadlines are insane. But at the end of the day, it is a huge part of what makes you a great agency, team or studio. Being able to work together as a group, collect ideas and illustrate them visually is I believe one of the highlights of our jobs. I mean, really, what is the world coming to when agencies are refusing to pitch properly? In today’s business environment, building trusting and professional relationships is more important than ever. Being guarded and protective from the get go certainly shouldn’t bide well with potential business partners.
OK, so now I step down from my soap box, and get back to working on some of our great pitches.
Posted by LJ.