Cats wearing boas for a “different” type of billion-dollar law firm. Custom flavored jelly beans for a leader in food sciences. A hidden button that sends Godzilla stampeding through the admin interface of an insurer. FATFREE has pitched – and sold – some truly out-there creative concepts to our clients in historically conservative industries.
It would probably seem like presenting clients with a recruiting campaign featuring anthropomorphized plaster animal heads would be a great plan for taking our 15 years of credibility down in flames. In reality, our fanatical planning and preparedness are exactly what makes these huge risks viable.
We have learned that the more off-the-wall and creative your pitch, the more prepared you need to be. We’ve rounded up some of our favorite ways to get ready for a meeting where your pitch might be a bit out of the ordinary.
Give Them Some Context
As excited as you are about your pitch, you need to give some context to your work. Quickly go through the process which brought you to your plans so your audience understands the research you’ve already done. Explain all the possibilities you and your team have extensively explored and why you discarded some more mainstream concepts. If you need to review any demographic data or competitive research, sum up all the high points that will support your positioning in an easy-to-digest manner.
Who’s The Demo?
Who is your campaign meant to impact? What do you want them to do? Define your demo and the desired outcome in detail. Explain what you know about their needs, pain points, and values when it comes to decision making, then connect your idea to those attributes. It’s easy to like an idea because it personally appeals to you or your client, but are you anything like the targeted demographic? Explaining the effectiveness of a pitch as it relates to a particular audience can help parse out personal bias.
Show Related Successes
It’s a great idea to show similar campaigns which have succeeded. It can help ease the minds of the risk-averse and also demonstrate that you’ve done your research. They don’t even have to be in the same industry as your client, but your ability to deconstruct other calculated risks shows that you know what you’re doing. Think Casper Mattress and Carvana. Different industries yet with a similar feel and attention to detail.
Make It Real
Mockups are your friends. Present your concept in its purest form, and then present it as it might really be encountered. Even if your ads are destined to be sized down for programmatic digital, place them in a mock-up of your client’s preferred industry publication to drive home the impact. Your client may not ever buy space in Times Square or the inside cover of Time, but prove that your idea could belong there. Projects will always change, so present them in the most impactful way at the beginning.
Yes, your lion of an idea may be reduced to a hairless cat of a mobile banner. Just because you can’t show the final product doesn’t mean you can’t provide some wow factor. In fact, back in my very first year at FATFREE, I led a pitch to create and manage the social media of a major consumer brand. We had no idea what kind of presentation tools we would have in the conference room where we’d be presenting. Rather than risk a washed-out projector screen, we printed our creative on four by six boards and put them on the plane with us. Going Mad Men with posters on an easel lent a sense of immediacy to the concept.
Showcase Your Talent
Are you using talent in your pitch like a celebrity or industry expert? If possible have them attend the pitch! It’s a fun way to energize the meeting and showcase your talent. If that’s not possible, be ready to have a quick wrap of your talent’s work. Prove to your audience why the talent is an essential piece of the puzzle.
Let The Idea Speak For Itself
After the pitch, let them sit with the creative and consider it. Very rarely will someone show their true enthusiasm for a project during a pitch. Poker faces are the standard. The silence will be deafening but that’s a good thing so be ready to allow for it. Most people don’t want to commit to liking something until they’ve seen all their options. Keep it moving.
This needs to be stated regardless of how important you think it is. Inevitably, something tech-related you rely on for your pitch will break or simply not work. Be sure to have a number of ways to pitch your ideas, including some which don’t rely solely on a projector working, or the internet having a fast connection. You can only control so much, so make sure you have multiple paths to success.