Agency-client relationships today are like a series of bad romances. At the heart of it is a mismatch of expectations that begin with the pitch.
Clients are under enormous pressure to deliver results while cutting costs and navigating a rapidly evolving environment. Calling for a pitch is an easy way to fish for ideas without commitment.
And agencies, desperate for business, are casting their nets wider, hoping to catch A Big One. For them, it’s about sizing up the client-- assessing how they can charge more while making do with fewer resources.
The result: a never-ending cycle of disillusionment for both client and agency.
- No time to think.
If clients expect agencies to do their thinking for them, think again. Agencies often don’t have the time or the resources. And pitches aren’t the best way for clients to unlock smart thinking.
- Pricing not ideas.
The spec work that agencies freely give away at pitch stage is rarely the work that gets released. It’s a waste of time, money and effort because clients typically end up squeezing agencies on scopes that look like wish lists.
- ‘Pitch and Switch’.
Who you meet at the pitch is not who you get day to day. Shrinking retainers mean agencies increasingly depend on young, less experienced talent to service the account. Meanwhile, agency bosses have their focus turned to more pitching, backslappy awards and Cannes.
At Studio Jigsaw, we believe clients should continually trial new agencies with short, paid projects. It’s a great way to experience working with potential partners who can think more broadly and add more value strategically.
We’re pioneering a new approach that delivers work faster, better and cheaper.
- Collaborative problem solving:
We spend time with clients to define the real problem to be solved and consider where the opportunities lie.
- The heads without the overheads:
We bring in the right talent and partners for a project without the agency bureaucracy that gets in the way.
- Ideas with impact:
We develop design and communication as one-- starting with a big idea, working together across disciplines—to create uncommon work with uncommon impact.
It’s a shift from flashy presentations on pitch day to pragmatic conversations on the brand and business. From showmanship to speed. From spec work to a team that thinks and solves problems collaboratively with clients.
Because it’s only when both sides feel invested in the relationship that you get great work. Otherwise, it’s over before it's even begun.