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Pitching Better Projects

Properly diagnosing for smarter prescriptions

entry no. 33

Pitching a great project is an art in itself, and the creative process is tricky. There are several ways to approach this, but we believe a system helps create a consistent experience for clients and better manage time. Our strategy for proposals is with our client's vision in mind, within creative boundaries, and establishing rules that make the project a success. We're going to breakdown how we arrive at the pitching aspect of a project, boiling down client expectations, ideation sessions, and what's essential in our pitches.

In the music video space, we understand most artists come to us in two types: artists with past experiences or first-timers. Both usually have their skepticism but badly want to see their idea come to the fullest version. We aren't only trying to showcase our quality or body of work but earn their trust by showing we have their best interest in mind. If our artists have a successful campaign around their music video, JECP wins and usually encourages a return client and better referrals. We are pitching for win-win scenarios.

At the start of every project, we diagnose what our artists are up against. This differs from one artist to the next but digging deep with questions around expectations; we hope to get in-tune with the brand, goals, timeline of release, and build a healthy relationship. Easing the defense around hiring someone to take your song-baby is a delicate process. The focus is on asking the right questions, gaining clarity around what's on-brand and off-brand, and offering our professional suggestions to see what sticks and what doesn't.

In this phase, we try to gain enough information to pitch a practical project vs. selling how creative we are. When this is done right, we start earning trust and showing both parties are bought-in to the project's success. In other terms, this is good client alignment -- diagnosing. From here, we can start forming a healthy prescription.

Several things happen when forming treatments for our clients. Every time though, we lean on the mentality of "simple executed dynamically." The word simple gets a bad wrap. For each project, we try to establish rules first then build a story within that. That's where a lot of the questions from our discovery calls come into play. Hearing the song, knowing the themes, feeling the dynamics, and applying that to color, editing rhythm, story, and art-direction is where everything intersects. The way we see music videos are in a format, designing a universe, creating consistency, and looking for small wow factors to make them watchable.

Considering everything, we design our treatments with more emphasis on process than the idea. We want to paint a picture for our artists of how things will be done, more than the idea. This approach is to earn trust and reduce buyers-remorse. Ideas are great, but showcasing process helps gain more trust and, in our opinion, earns clients' investment confidently. We're asking our artists to make a large investment of money into something they're uncertain they need, so we want to make that decision feel like a smart one, easily achievable, and genuinely an investment rather than a money pit.

At the core of every treatment, we include an overview, art-direction brief, format breakdown, process, mood board, and price options. Some are more elaborate, but these cover the bases. They communicate the project's goals, vision, why we're excited, how it is made, and gives them a few ways to move forward. Taking a more practical approach allows us to focus on our relationship with the client, aligning everyone as we progress.

Action Points

  • Become an active listener

  • Diagnose the problems

  • Earn trust

  • Simplify ideas for win-win scenarios

  • Pitch what solves problems

  • Seek alignment

When we take on new clients, it's often a considerable investment of time. When we are in this process, we spend a lot of time upfront earning trust. It moves slow, but once you get past this or get a few projects under your belt, things speed up, and you become more fluid. It's better to define this working relationship early than fix problems that could have been avoided. Both parties are making an investment of time and have a right to be worried. Realizing you both want a successful project sounds like common sense. Still, if you don't set those expectations early, it will cause headaches, hurt reputations, and create a long-term ripple effect of defensiveness affecting the creative community.

If this blog felt inspiring or something you feel empowered to try; we highly recommend Blair Enns "The Win Without Pitching Manifesto." In a simple and fun way, this book has informed how we conduct a lot of our pitching process.



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