- The new pitch room / Unsplash
Agencies and clients may need to rethink pitching processes and methodologies if they’re to capture the best creative work in the new normal. Our Milan-Zurich experience is that while day-to-day business with clients has functioned brilliantly in the remote working environment – with 100% efficiency maintained – the pitch setting suffers from significant changes that affect everything from pitch preparation to delivery.
In terms of preparation, the lack of F2F meetings and interaction is making briefing, brainstorming and de-briefing harder, especially when multidisciplinary components are involved. We must think creatively – after all, it’s what we’re best at – to find ways of improving these important components.
Pitch delivery has been compromised by multiple factors. Firstly, the platform – generally selected by the client – has a big influence over the whole experience. Some of the most well-known and well-used platforms can be clunky and inflexible; and some are not a good fit with a creative exchange. The pitch format is often a mis-match too; there’s a trend for all presentations to be delivered consecutively, with no interruption or interaction, and all Q&A at the end. This creates a disconnect with the client and makes it very difficult build chemistry.
The virtual (visual) experience only compounds the problem; slide decks typically – and statically – remain centre stage throughout, while the presenters (also static) are barely visible, apart from the small stamp at the bottom of the screen. The client, meanwhile, is sitting at home on mute, exposed to all the normal distractions of the domestic environment; children playing, mobile texting and other random unknowns. It’s difficult to know how engaged they are, and the lack of interaction offers no clues. It’s like playing to an empty auditorium. We don’t need to bring social distancing to the virtual environment – we should instead be encouraging the dynamic interaction that great creative so often inspires.
So where do we go from here? We have lots we can do, after all, we are creative! One thought is to make pitch presentations similar to a one-hour video broadcast, with somebody acting as some sort of anchor. Videos should take into consideration tone of voice, rhythm, animations, and all the other ingredients required to maintain clients’ attention and drive them effectively through the narrative. That way, we can play to the strengths of digital technology. In the process, clients will see us at our creative best and find the best creative that meets their needs. If we want to be pitch perfect in the new normal, we need find creative new ways reimagine and reboot everyone’s virtual pitch experience.
- Maurizio Moli, CEO Sudler International Milan, WPP Health Practice