When it comes time to pitch, you’ll be amazed by how powerful your persuasion skills have become simply because you understand a little more about the field and what drives it.

Hegarty on Creativity by Sir John Hegaty of BBH

In the traditional ad business, we’re always reminding our client that consumer behavior is not rational.

We lecture them on emotion as a factor on buying decisions and brand preferences.

We explain to them that an ad is not a court case in which the best argument wins.

The advertising agency business has gotten terribly conglomeratized and consolidated, and I don’t think that’s doing the agency, the employees of the agencies, and the clients of the agencies’ business any favors.

90% of my time is invested in coming up with ideas, once the client agrees on one of our ideas, that is when my job really begins.

The remaining 10% of my job is implementing that idea.

A poor strategy is virtualy impossible to work from. The three biggest culprits in a poorly devised strategy statement tend to be:

1.) the non-single-minded proposition

2.) the lack of credible suppot points

3.) the undefined target audience.

Free pitching is never going to go away. It’s always going to be the tool of last resort for the outsider, the student, those trying to build experience, or somebody who just wants to take a flyer on a long shot.

If you are not viewed as more expert than your competition, then you will be viewed as one in a sea of many, and you will have little power in your relationships with your clients and prospects.

Design is a profession at crossed roads. On the one hand design is seen as one of the ultimate differentiator between a company’s product and it’s competition. On the other hand, the outputs of graphic design have never been more commoditized than as they are right now.

Interrogating clients is an essential part of being a designer. If we don’t learn to ask questions, we run the risk of never getting to the heart of what good design can be. No question is ever too dumb to ask, and if we are frightened of exposing our ignorance we will never understand anything.

Always finish with a conclusion. This must be short (no more than 100 words) and should be an at-a-glance overview of the proposal. It allows those who can’t be bothered to read your entire document to have it all in one hit. It is always advisable to add a copyright line to any proposal. And a cheerful ‘thank you’.

I often look at the website and then meet the designers to look at their portfolios, and two things frequently strike me:

1) The first is that many designers don’t bother to maintain visual continuity across their printed and online portfolios. This is a fundamental flaw and indicates a designer who can’t maintain a stylistic voice.

2) The other thing I notice is that the featured work is the same online as it is in the physical portfolio.

I’ve seen hundreds of portfolios. I don’t often remember portfolios, but I remember people. When a designer’s ideas are rejected it’s usually because they have been presented badly, and not because they are bad ideas.