Why Bake Off reminds me of design pitch processes: Emma Nicol
Watching the reruns of panicked-filled The Great British Bake Off episodes recently reminded me of how badly thought out some pitch situations are – and how they could be much improved.
Asking an agency or designer to creatively and speculatively pitch is like asking them to take part in the technical challenge on Bake Off. It’s akin to providing them with a set of ingredients and a very vague set of instructions, sometimes with key information missing, in a kitchen set up very differently, that may, or may not, have the right utensils.
Putting a cake or bake into an unfamiliar oven is very similar to presenting a creative pitch proposal without an exploratory session with the client. Asking an agency to provide a speculative design and idea is like asking them to create a dish from a mystery box of ingredients.
It could be brilliant. But it won’t be as considered and thought out as sitting down with them and investing time and budget on a preparatory meeting. In that you can really define the ‘dining experience’, what the cake/recipe is for, who will be feasting on it and how you want them feel when they are eating it.
Recipe for success
Most good agencies really like to explore the brief and meet with their client to discuss the parametres, organisational direction, objectives and desired future journey. This is why we don’t participate in vague speculative creative pitches. At Door 22 Creative we always have a robust set of questions and processes that allow us to define the brief. From this, we can work together to create a much fuller set of instructions and scope that open up informed avenues for us to explore and create to answer the brief in a confident and erudite way.
When you’re investing a significant budget on an organisational rebrand or campaign the best way to test an agency’s expertise and experience is not a technical challenge that, in this analogy, is the equivalent of making 20 identical Bienenstich that they’ve never heard of, let alone made before, in less than half an hour.
The DBA (Design Business Association) has a good best practice guide for selecting an agency. It covers important aspects for you to consider such as what a formal or informal process looks like and what to look for in a good fit, chemistry meetings and credentials pitches. CharityComms is also a great place to look for guidance on briefing processes.
Looking for an agency to help with a design project? We’d be happy to chat and discuss your requirements.
If you have a set of ingredients or a vision for a delicious campaign, let’s get our aprons on and create a beautiful cake together.