Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tuesday Tip No.57 - How To Present To Clients

I've said before that if you can avoid presenting to Clients, you should do so.

However, if you disagree with that, or if your Agency has a policy that Creatives present the creative work, then how should you go about doing it?

The process of presenting to Clients breaks down into two phases – ‘in the room’, and ‘before you go into the room’.

Before you go into the room, you should be marshalling the best reference you can. But don’t show too much. I have seen Creatives present five separate pieces of reference for a single press ad, saying “this one’s a reference for the colour palette but don’t look at the models, they’re not right, for the models you need to look at this other piece of reference, but don’t look at the lighting on that one, for the lighting we have this other shot…” Very confusing. Keep the reference simple, and try to find one or two pieces that say everything you want to say.

Rehearse with the account team what issues may come up. Rehearse your presentation as many times as you need to.

Make sure you know the names of the Clients before you go in. People like to be called by their names. Make sure you know who does what, so you don’t ask their research manager a question about the production budget, for example. And make sure you know who the key buyer is. Focus your energy on them, while not excluding the other people in the room.

Once in the room, presenting to the Client is very much like presenting to the account team. Plenty of preamble is needed. Much of the set-up may be done by the Planners and Account Handlers, but there may be some for you to do too. For important projects, you may even need to make a mood film.

Don’t treat any of this lightly, thinking that your ‘real job’ is to come up with the ideas. The most successful Creatives aren’t just the ones who are good at coming up with ideas, they’re good at selling them too.

And to sell an idea, nothing convinces more than conviction itself.

Perhaps the most famous poster ever produced in the UK was ‘Labour Isn’t Working’, created by Saatchi & Saatchi for the Conservative Party in 1979. Those three words, above a simple shot of people queuing at an unemployment office, added up to a piece of communication that is generally considered to have been a significant factor in Margaret Thatcher’s first election victory.

However, what is less well-known is that when the concept was first presented to Mrs Thatcher, she didn’t like it. “This poster advertises Labour”, she told Maurice Saatchi. “On the contrary, Margaret,” he replied. “It demolishes them.”

One of the reasons I love that story is that I just love the word “demolishes.” But the real lesson here is Maurice Saatchi’s conviction. When a Client looks at a concept, they first look for what is wrong with it. If they can't find anything wrong with it, they begin to suspect it may be right, but what they don’t know is ‘how right’. And here, the most important factor that can sway them is your conviction. You have to tell them that this ad is going to be great. You have to tell them that it won’t just hurt the competition, it will demolish them.

Creatives are often accused of being arrogant, and of ‘talking-up’ their own work. Well, you have to. Whether your ad gets made or not may depend on how much you seem to believe in it.

Previous Tips:

How To Know If You've Had An Idea; How To Use Social Media; How To Get The Best Out Of Directors; Don't Write Ads, Write Strategies; How To Choose Where To Work; Working Outside London; What Would John Webster Do?; What Would Paul & Nigel Do?; The Hidden Flaw; How To Write Copy; Be Funny All The Way Through; How To Do Virals; How To Negotiate Your Salary; How To Get A Pay Rise; Be Wary Of Punding; Challenge The Brief; Tell The Truth; Playing To Lose; How To Write Headlines; How To Do Direct; How To Do Radio; How To Do Press; How To Do TV; How To Do Digital; How To Do Posters; Look At Weird Shit; Why You Shouldn't Present To The Client; Presenting To The Team; Presenting To The Creative Director; How To Deal With Rejection; Look Creative; Don't Be Afraid To Ask; Your Idea Has To Be 120%; Read Iain's Tips; Don't Behave; How To Discuss Ideas; Read Hugh's Tips; How To Get A Job In Advertising Part IV - How To Turn A Placement Into A Job; How To Turn A Placement Into A Job (Ed Morris view); How To Get A Job In Advertising Part III - How To Approach Agencies (re-print of Tip No. 7); How To Get A Job In Advertising Part II - How To Put A Book Together; How To Get A Job In Advertising Part I - FAQ; Make Friends With Traffic; Get Reference; Don't Stop Too Soon; Be Very; Breaking Up; Working Well With Your Partner; Finding The Right Partner; How To Approach Agencies; Never-Seen-Before Footage; Dicketts' Finger; Two Blokes In The Pub; Play Family Fortunes; Should You Take A Bad Job?; Don't Overpolish


Anonymous said...

This Tuesday tips book of yours... how's it coming along?
All seems a bit straightforward and uncreative to me. How can you lay down a set of guidelines about creativity?
Why not have more tips about 'How to blag a foreign shoot' or 'How to shag the ECD's PA up the council gritter?'

Scamp said...

The book is coming along quite well, thank you for asking, and for your suggestions, which I shall certainly consider.

You question whether one can lay down a set of guidelines for creativity. Well, the thing is, what I am writing are not guidelines, or tips, if you will, to be taken on board if useful and discarded if not. They are actually cast-iron rules, and if you fail to follow them TO THE LETTER, then your body will be immediately vapourised and your entire memory of your existence deleted.

I do hope that clears things up.

Anonymous said...

You got the painters in?

Anonymous said...

Tuesday tip:

How to shag the ECD's PA up the council gritter.

Take your knob out, put it in her hand and cry.

Alan Wolk said...

Nice tip S.
Conviction is so incredibly important, especially if you are selling something the client hasn't done before (be it a decent ad or a new form of media-- and remember for some smaller clients, TV is a new form of media.)

The ability to present well is a gift-- I've seen many people make their entire careers on it.

Anonymous said...

Why's this obsession with PAs? Is this ECD's PA figure equivalent to daddy's little girl?

About talking-up your work, just don't be as obnoxious as the guy bigging his own Cadbury campaign. Pathetic.

Scamp said...

Sorry, 4.10

Irony never comes across on the internet. But I was being ironic.

Tips are tips, not rules. That's the real answer.

Anonymous said...

I'd say selling maybe more important than coming up with the idea itself. Example being a well known creative not able to sell a well know primate idea at least twice before someone helped him sell it to a well know chocolate brand.

Same thing about that new print campaign they're running. I just can't imagine how did they get away with visuals like that. Clean, nice, practically no visible logo.

Anonymous said...

You can disagree all you want on presenting work to clients but they will always trust you better if they feel you've first hand knowledge of their brand.It makes easier to sell great work on the long run.

I'm sure Sony is more at ease when Cabral presents. Or VW when they meet Craigen.

Anonymous said...

I have it on good authority that Cabral can walk into a meeting with Cadbury's, say 'I had a strange dream last night' in an Argentinian accent and get them to splash half a mil.

He's also been known to get his cock out, put it in the client's hand and cry.

Lunar BBDO said...

What's happening in the picture on this post?

Anonymous said...

someone 'avin a wank

Anonymous said...

Well obviously a man is in a field, with a dis-assembled kite, a few feet away from a rusty piece of arty sculpture.

Anonymous said...

looks like someone preparing at a paint ball range

Anonymous said...

in my experience, the amount of passion (energy, commitment) exhibited by the presenter is directly proportional to the number of ads sold/awards won etc.

like bill bernbach said: good doesn't always displace evil, but the energetic always displaces the passive.

true dat bill!

Anonymous said...

It's hard to fake an orgasm as to simulate energy and convinction about your own ideas:it shows. Clients, like every human being can see that.

Anonymous said...

Italiano Medio off for another wank.

Anonymous said...

What's wrong with you brittons, about sex?

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

It was a mataphor, ok ?

( the wank wasn't )

Anonymous said...

Scamp, you should nick Today's post @ Lunars and put it in your book. It's absolutely spot on.

Swedish and east european versions might be useful for certain agencies such as *bleep*.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Scamp said...

nice try

Anonymous said...

at Ogilvy we can see all the way to Kent. How far you see?

Anonymous said...

If only that'd help you write good ads, Mr Dogbot

Anonymous said...

i not a dog bot? you idiot
we can also see the river...ha ha

Anonymous said...

Good you can see the river, hope you're not tempted to jump in every time you see your shit on a magazine.

Anonymous said...

shit, the fallon guys are in here

Everyone,lets go to the other blog site now.

Anonymous said...

Ogilvy's work is shitastic.

Anonymous said...

it's quiet on here now we're not allowed to use the F word.

Ferris said...

Hi Scamp, sorry I must have missed your post about why you think creatives should try and avoid presenting to the client...why is that again? Cheers.

Anonymous said...

"The most successful Creatives aren’t just the ones who are good at coming up with ideas, they’re good at selling them too."

If this is the case, why would you recommend that “if you can avoid presenting to Clients, you should do so”?

Scamp said...

Ferris - the post you refer to is here.

Last anon - selling means selling to account teams and even directors, as well as clients.

But also, you can't avoid being put in a 'selling to clients' position as you start to go up the ladder. Many CD's (especially in the States) are little more than show ponies. But if you can stave that off for a while, it's for the best, I think. Gives you more time to think of ideas, if nothing else.

Stefan said...

As an account guy, I'd much rather, at minimum, have the creative team in the room for the concept presentation. Granted, I may be better at selling the work, but if I don't succeed wouldn't you want to hear the reasons right from the clients mouth. If the core of the idea is salvagable, then wouldn't you want to know specifically what the issues were and be a part of the discussion about them with the client?

Expecting some nasty comments in response from creatives who are shocked that we might fail in selling a concept.

Anonymous said...

Creatives should have the right to be there when their work is presented.
If they choose not to then they shouldn't bitch about the result.
Personally I only went along when I didn't trust the account man.
Dick Butler was always the account man I trusted most.
Not necessarily the best, just the one I trusted most.

Anonymous said...

your mom has facial aids and on each aid there is herpes and in each herpe, there is an annoying cotton midget in a vauxhall corsa shouting "C'MON