Welcome AJ Vernet, our newest MediaBizBlogger.
2012 will be the year we say that the little guy had a very large voice. It's no surprise that over the last few years, our agency system has become more and more fragmented. Clients are choosing to work with smaller, more specialized and strategic creative shops over the large holding corporations. And more individuals have started agencies and strategic consulting firms in the last 24 months than perhaps in the last decade. At Rey, we've seen it ourselves. The core of Rey's agency client base has transitioned from larger shops to predominantly smaller shops with teams of fewer than 20 people.
These shops are popping up all over the place with amazing strategic talent providing awesome creative along with high-touch customer service, all of which is helping them win clients and large budgets away from the larger holding companies. In most instances, the larger agencies have the luxury of in-house, top-notch production crews that help the pitch teams vet creative ideas against the realities of technology, time and dollars. When bidding on these projects, it's helpful to work with a producer on the other end who has effectively organized the creative into these buckets. Here are some words to the wise on how to work productively with production companies you are asking to bid on your client business.
Often equally creative and more nimble, our smaller partners tend to lack one major component: deep production benches. This is often due to cash flow and overhead constraints – leaving them without a production arm to prep ideas for bidding. From the inception of an idea to the final product, clients expect us all to move at a feverish pace to concept, cost, and deliver. We must move quickly and think even faster. The production machine in itself is built to be efficient. It's built with time being one of the major factors in the production cycle. Why can't we do the same thing with bidding? This is what we say at Rey - "Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Production." If we stick with this mantra, we make the bidding process easier for everyone participating, in the long run, and save time, which equals money.
Remember, every bid is an opportunity to produce something great. I can't believe I'm going to quote Jerry Maguire, but for the sake of turning around costs and getting them back to your Clients quickly, I'm going for it, "Help me, help you." Here are some basic guidelines to prep your ideas for bidding:
Dream Big - But Remember Reality
Every creative presentation should show the biggest, best, craziest ideas thought of for your clients. And, we, like you, hope that each and every time, time and finances are provided to make the campaign as amazing as what was presented. A reality we face continually is measuring those dreams against timing expectations and budget constraints. Break your ideas into tiers. One tier can always be, "We want to produce it all." That's fine. But, give your production partner a few more. As an agency, you know your clients. Let us know the must-haves. Let us know what you're hopeful for and the pragmatic expectations.
Tell Us What You Know and Don't Know. Be Honest
Banners, Facebook Apps, Websites. These are some staples that we all interact with daily. You may not know how to code, but you probably know more than you realize. Measure your ideas against your – and their capabilities; play with a few examples if you have time. When you want to push the envelope with each, you'll be prepared to tell us what you know it does, what you don't understand, and what you want it to do. Really understanding what you know and don't know helps us move to the real question that you want to ask and we want to answer: how do we make the idea possible for you and your clients?
What if it's something that's never been done before? That's our favorite kind of project, but that's another story.
You've poured hours, nights, slices of pizza, beers, enlightenment, frustration, and nurturing care into your ideas. When you hand your ideas to a production company to bid, be direct and decisive. The more we can collectively hone in on what we are producing together, the more accurate and quick the bid will be. At some point, an idea needs to become real. Let's not let paralysis by analysis consume us. Every project is going to have some elements that we have to toil over. But, when you can make a decision, make it and make it with conviction. If we treat every element like the possibilities are endless, the project will truly feel... endless, before it even starts! When you believe that possibilities are endless, you are not saving time.
These guidelines state the obvious, sure. Sometimes the obvious seems to be the most forgotten. If we can all follow these reminders above, time might actually be on our collective side when we start production. Time is on our side, if we use it properly.
This is a craft, and when we all remember that and start acting like architects in the bidding process, we'll find that creative can be fun and profitable, for you as the agency and for us, your trusted production partner. All architects think they are designers, of course. But, only those who can truly come up with ideas can call themselves designers. Those are the ones with the really cool offices.
Don't be afraid to make assertions with your ideas. After all, if you're at the table, you deserve to be there and your ideas will become your calling card whether you win the business or not.
AJ Vernet is Founder and CEO of Rey Interactive, which is a Los Angeles and New York based digital and video production company positioned to partner with agencies, creative firms, publishers and brands as a scalable and seamless production resource. AJ can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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