Cotton Candy @ The Amusement Park –
We all have been in new business pitches where we were either made it through to round two of an RFP or were asked to introduce our company and brand to a CEO, CMO or company representative that was looking for marketing help on their brand(s).
I love those opportunities, because it forces you to think about what you have built, what kind of clients your brand should focus on and what is it that makes your brand so unique.
We all have the case studies, the reels, the agency structures and processes in place. You know that every other agency presenting is just as sexy, so it then becomes a beauty contest of whom do they like best.
It’s like the final question in the Miss America contest when you’re asked to stand up at the end and give your final perspective on what and who you are and why you are right for this prospective client.
When they ask that question, “what is it that makes you the right agency for us?”
Having been in many of these I had formed a strong point of view, that the last thing an agency should do is to sell itself. It becomes demeaning, pretentious and you inevitably say things that stretch the truth and many times over promise
I had a partner that would embarrassingly wrap up our new business meetings by complimenting everybody in the room by telling them just how wonderful they all were and go into a personal story about how their product affected his life in some manner. Then he would begin to sell, finding himself wandering and at the end promising that no other agency in the pitch could match our price.
Yes, he would simple imply or say outright, we can do it cheaper. Not what any smart client really wants to hear.
They want talent, quality, accountability, and reliability and to know that you are committed to working very hard to help them build a successful brand.
So to help us avoid this reoccurring embarrassing act, I wrote a line for our agency that I believed represented the soul of our company’s brand.
“Every brand has a soul. But not every agency has the heart to find it. We do.”
My partner had a hard time adjusting, once it was time for the wrap up, the line was presented to the room. There would be about a minute or two of silence and my partner would begin to get nervous and want to start selling, but I would raise my hand as if to say quiet.
You could see the client’s faces reacting and reading between the lines on the implications of that thought and what it meant to them and to our agency’s commitment to their business. It implied the kind of thoughtful relationship they would have with our agency.
We didn’t win every pitch, but we did win respect and the pitches we did win were clients that understood our brand’s commitment.
Not every client and agency is meant to be together, but when honesty and the intangibles come together the results are exciting and the relationships tend to be long term.
It’s true less is more.