By Juan José Quintana, executive creative director, Orci
2020 was a year of challenges, but also, a year of learnings… sometimes the hard way.
Suddenly, everything in our agencies changed, and we had to learn how to communicate, brainstorm, chat, present, produce… everything we used to do, but we had to learn how to do in a completely different way, and from a distance—remotely.
One of the most challenging activities I felt was conducting new business presentations through Zoom, Webex, Teams and similar platforms. This was one area that kept our small agency really busy and also offered us great opportunities for growth and learning. Good thing, as we’re already predicting that this trend will continue through 2021 and beyond, bringing good realities and some “less” good with it.
1. It saves agencies and clients money
This new avenue toward pitching brings more opportunities to small agencies who can now “afford” to present to clients in the same way as the bigger shops do, but without all of the expense and travel usually involved. Essentially, it levels the playing field a bit.
2. It brings more opportunities to small shops
Since we’re all using pretty the same half-dozen platforms, the playing field is further leveled, demonstrating each agency’s capabilities and cluing prospective clients into how they think and problem solve as opposed to emphasizing the “show” over the content.
3. It sparks creativity
The past several months forced us to learn as we went, gaining experience and steam when it came to succeeding in the virtual pitch space. We gathered feedback that helped us improve, while also designing specifically for the media we used and rethinking the way we presented reels and case studies. For 2021, we can expect further technical improvements and also several theatrical ones: presenters getting better cameras and lights, choosing more meaningful backgrounds, etc.
4. It’s making pitching more relaxed and less intimidating
This new way of pitching has changed the scene, literally. It’s naturally more relaxed and less intimidating than the traditional in-person meeting and even feels a bit friendlier. On the other hand, it also makes it harder for the agency to “read the room.” This is even more obvious when, after friendly introductions, everyone turns their cameras off, and presenters end up talking to a series of blank, black squares with initials. “Did we do well…?” “What do you think…?” [So selfishly, I ask: Please leave your camera on! We want to connect to you, while we pitch to you :)]
5. It facilitates incredible access to talent everywhere
The same way that agencies have learned that talent can be found and hired anywhere, clients have discovered that the physical boundaries which used to exist, simply aren’t as much of “a thing” anymore, meaning they now have access to new, fresh thinking that can be located as far (or as close) as a Zoom call.