Winning a pitch and nailing the job is one of the most satisfying feelings we as branding and marketing professionals can experience. It’s creatively fulfilling and at the end of the day shows we’re doing our job well. But, one of the most important things we recognize is the work isn’t finished being sold once your client buys it. They are going to spend the next few months of their lives telling this story to teammates, investors, friends, stakeholders, community members, and bosses.
Just as important as your initial sale of the work is empowering your client with the presentation tools they need to justify this work to other people. If your client is stumbling and half-remembering the awesome metaphor you made that sold the room on the concept, you run the risk of them feeling frustrated with you and your agency. We are responsible for equipping them with the communication toolkit they need to effectively sell this concept to their peers and coworkers.
You want to make your client feel smart for hiring you, but they should also feel smart when they are pitching your idea to others.
This isn’t about cutting yourself out of the sales process—selling work to your client is still a crucial first step—but more of an acknowledgement that you can’t be privy to every conversation going on about the work you’ve created.
We’ve recently had the fortune to work on branding projects for two large and complex organizations. JumpSpark is a nonprofit organization creating extra-curricular programs for teenagers in Atlanta’s Jewish community. Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College is a 4 year college in Tifton, Georgia. Both of these organizations had vastly different interests to report to, and both of them would be having meetings with important stakeholders that our agency wouldn’t be present for.
They also both came with complex internal structures to navigate.
JumpSpark is beholden to a board of directors, parents, teenagers, and the local Jewish community. ABAC, a University System, Board of Directors, teachers, students, parents, and the town of Tifton. Empowering both of these groups to communicate their message effectively to their communities was vital to the long term success and acceptance of their new brands.
For our actual client presentations, we made sure to highlight all of the work and research done in previous rounds of design with meticulous attention to small iterative details. For the presentations we equipped our clients with, we made it much more accessible and story focused, something they could print out and actually walk around their community with as a reference point to their story (these presentations usually had a beginning, middle, and end with a few talking points on each slide).
It’s a shame that we can’t go to every meeting with our client and give the same incredible pitch over and over again, but if your reasoning is sound enough you should easily be able to pass along documents that empower your client to tell this story to whomever they encounter and walk away with the same results you could achieve. Selling to your client is only the beginning. Empowering them to sell their work to others is where the real long-term value of your research and strategy comes into play.