31/07/2008

Pitch perfect

I'm working on another pitch right now. It's a good brief that requests a 'big idea', but in this instance it's a matter of showing how we work, rather than the complete work.

I've
read a few interesting articles about selling work in to clients lately. it's such an important part of the design work that it can't be ignored by designers. It's nice to think that great work sells itself, but the truth is that anything that pushes the brief in to a new, unexpected solution is going to take some hard work to get through.

smashing magazine is running an article, which gives a much more confrontational point of view. however it does have some good points about backing up creative with stats and facts. i don't subscribe to the notion that 'business people' talk a different language and should be treated differently. in my opinion, that kind of approach does nothing but open the 'them and us' divide between client and agency.

anyone who has been in a pitch or worked for a creative agency can see a little bit of themselves, somewhere in mad men. even if your not interested in the drama you can't deny that the pitches are as close to perfection as you could expect. design observer has a beautifully written post on the show and it's approach to pitches.

scamp has blogged about 'how to present ideas' which makes a very good point about having conviction in your pitch. it's our job as designers and art directors to bring the passion and excitement to the presentation. if your flat and detached the work will be tainted with your demeanour.

here is my top five tips for good pitching
  1. don't just chuck it down on the table.
    create a fuss and generate some excitement.
  2. back up your plans with stats and facts
    your strategy needs to be based on something solid.
  3. pour yourself in to it
    it's OK to make it personal, in fact the more powerful you make it, the more people will connect with the sentiment behind it.
  4. be convinced by yourself
    if you don't truly believe in your work then you'll need the world's best poker face on, in order to convince the client.
  5. choose your battles
    carefully gage the situation and carefully pick the points at which you fight and submit. it's important not to fold at every decision, but don't wage a war.
and one last thing. how you set your pitch up, is entirely up to you. but make sure your comfortable. if you prefer to stand up and be formal or if you like to invite conversation throughout, ensure you control the environment and let everyone who goes in with you know how your going to run it.