Preparing the proposal
On my first day at Bottle as Content Lead, I was invited into a pitch meeting where we were planning a proposal for a prospective client. By the end of the meeting we had come up with some really promising ideas that would go on to form our proposal. On top of the proposal, we wanted to do something to stand out from the other agencies and this was a good opportunity to put my film-making and design skills to the test.
By the end of my first day, I had created a 30 second video, shot on an iPhone, with some post-production effects created in Adobe After Effects.
We’re not talking high production values here but it was a neat idea, well executed. We made a different video every day that week, keeping them up to date with how our proposal was coming together, culminating in the final video, titled “Nailed it”.
Our client told us that her colleagues were starting to really look forward to the little video that would be waiting in their inboxes each morning.
Our proposal clearly stood out, as we were shortlisted – then went on to win the account. Cue popping champagne corks!
Why content matters
The videos alone didn’t win Bottle the job. Our strong ideas, good reputation and clear understanding of the brief is what shone through. The videos were a fun gimmick but a gimmick that worked – and as a non-London agency we’re always aware that we often go into competitive pitches as the underdog – the videos allowed us to demonstrate our creativity, skill and enthusiasm.
We wanted to prove that they’d be an important client to us and we could deliver great ideas quickly and with panache. Every bit of correspondence is a vital chance to reveal personality and to add emotion to an often clinical process.
Ideas for your next pitch
The possibilities are endless when it comes to standing out: hire a brass band to walk down your client’s street, get a plane to write your agency’s name in the sky or train a parrot to recite your entire proposal – or, there are some more down-to-earth things you can add to your next pitch.
Illustrate your ideas
Stop relying on pictures of cats you found on the internet to sum up your ideas in powerpoint, work with a designer or illustrator to create something simple but original that ties your idea into your potential client’s brand. Send your client small pieces of artwork ahead of the meeting to get them excited.
We’re not talking a case of Dom Perignon here, you can’t bribe your way into your client’s hearts (well you probably can but you’ll feel dirty and hemorrhage money very quickly). Think about something small and quirky that relates to their brief.
Make it personal
Whatever you decide to do, it’s important to relate it to your potential client’s brand. So if you’re pitching to a shoe company, recreate their logo with shoelaces or make a portrait of their CEO using footprints. Real creativity involves going the extra mile.
Agencies often rely on the final meeting to make a good impression but at Bottle we pride ourselves on thinking differently and catching attention… from chemistry meeting right up to the end decision.
Would we recommend it?
A lot of time and effort was put into the videos and it’s hard to justify that much investment as, no matter how good you are, you’re never going to win every pitch. However, I think it was a good lesson for us on the importance of demonstrating your creativity when pitching, not just telling people about it.
By Wes West, Content Lead at Bottle