Last week we found out that our first official response to a brief was rejected. It was for a large project with Kingston Council via the Due North Pro Contracts platform (an utter monster and unwieldy experience).
Having a lot of experience with working for local councils part of my thoughts on this submission was that you tend to get scored which may be helpful in reviewing pitch technique (having this be the first of what I am sure will be many).
The application process itself was ghastly. It took 3.5 days just to complete all the legal fluff, fill in waivers that provide absolutely no benefit to anyone other than a solicitor in a worse case scenario and involved an immense amount of repetition.
It was dull.
You couldn’t write a proposal in your own format, with your own rhythm and flow, instead it required each answer as a separate Microsoft Word document, or PDF to be attached to a question tree.
There was a great deal of background research required too, with question about local resident issues, challenges and social value regarding the project. I’m not saying that was a bad thing, but it seemed out of context for what was essentially being budgeted for - training digital teams on HCD.
Why don’t we share our pitches?
We encourage people share both success and failures in their work. The design industry, notably digital is structured around a global community of people sharing how-to’s and writing about their discoveries, blockers and breakthroughs. So why doesn’t this apply for winning work too? Why do we only hear about everything else once the ‘job’ has started and ignore the real starting point of the job - getting your foot through the door?
Last week I came across something that made total sense - Pitch Protection.
In the advertising & Marketing world, Pitch Protection is the concept of logging your work that is created for pitches; most commonly that are speculative, to ensure that if you are not awarded the work it cannot be carried out by the client. Essentially it’s like getting a date stamp to say you had this idea first.
This must happen in digital services all the time, I can actually think of something from years ago where I worked on a pitch for a London venue, we lost it but some very specific elements appeared in the site launch 10 months later.
Maybe a way of covering ourselves in this way, but for me more importantly is to start sharing our pitches, what we are proposing, showing people what our approach to starting off a project is.
Is this really any different to any of those hypothetical redesigns that appear on Behance and Dribbble?
Show what you know
We don’t currently have anywhere to put our pitches, but we will soon, and I certainly want to give this a try. In the meantime, if you are interested in seeing what our proposal was for Kingston Council, you can request it by email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Thoughts from Andy Parker published 30th January 2017