I have experienced all forms of pitches over the years and after being invited to pitch for a substantial project recently, I wanted to share my experience and how I believe clients should approach an agency like ours.

We work in close partnership with our clients, so a trusted relationship has to be formed from the outset. You don’t know us yet, you may have stumbled across us online and built a picture in your mind about the type of agency we are and the people that work here. But the truth is, until we meet and have had conversations about your challenges and have got to know you a little, it is difficult to know if a relationship will work. We might not be the right agency for you and you may not be the right type of client for us.

At Frost we don’t have a one-size-fits-all approach. We do, of course, have experience working with similar businesses like yours so can give you some indicative costs on a project, but your ambitions and objectives will be unique to you. Our role is to help you realise your ambitions and achieve your objectives with our strategic and creative services. Your role and position within a company will have a bearing on your overall ambitions and objectives, and in turn, influence the type of brief you need a solution for. We’re a team that is agile, meaning we flex our muscles up and down according to our client’s needs. Our objective is to solve your problems strategically and creatively and we’ll do that working through our strategic and creative framework we call ThreeTwo™. This is a tried and tested brand and communications framework that we work within to support our clients.

Agencies are just like your business; we are made up of different personalities, leadership, values, a vision, have different skills, experience, efficiencies, processes and plans. We get asked for credentials every now again and although I can understand why clients request them, they do not give any insight into the personalities of the people you will be working with.

We like to be operating as an extension of your own team and to do that we need to be immersed in your business in order to provide the most value to you.  For this to happen we need to have an open, honest and trusted relationship.

Below are some good traits you should look out for when looking for an agency:

Are they friendly and responsive.

When you emailed or called the agency, was the first interaction warm and friendly?
Did your email get answered quickly?
Did they seem enthusiastic?

At this stage I’d be reviewing whether or not they’re quick in their communications. This will show a genuine interest in supporting you.

What are your methods and approach?

Like all professional service businesses we charge an hourly rate; we have a flat agency hourly rate and different rates for the different levels of expertise we possess. This is pretty standard.

In order for Frost to deliver work that delivers the results our clients expect, there has to be a strong partnership between us and the client. Delivering an effective strategy that informs the creative direction and the overall solution can’t be achieved without trust and a solid partnership. Therefore, free pitching is something we look to avoid. By this I mean investing too much time in offering clients creative work for nothing to try and secure the work.

When you do meet with an agency, you should consider the following:

What people did they send to meet you?
Did you get to meet the actual team delivering your project or a sales person?
Did the people listen and seem interested in what you had to say?
Do you think you could work with them?

Do they really care?
At Frost, we are brand specialists, not sector specialists. We’ve purposely maintained the belief that our methods and approach are applicable to any business in any sector. We work with global brands, one man bands, challengers, public sector organisations, charities, FMCG and Chemical companies, to list a few. We simply love the challenge of solving our clients’ brand and marketing challenges. That’s what drives us and why our clients enjoy working with us.

It’s always good if your agency can demonstrate some knowledge of your industry but if they don’t, that shouldn’t matter or concern you. If they come across as excited about working within a new sector and the prospect of learning something new, that is what’s really important. At Frost we like to fully immerse ourselves in our clients’ businesses and gather insights that will inform our output; it’s simple but always effective.

At the end of they day, the agency should care about your business but equally, you need to trust them.
Clients should consider whether they have allowed for a realistic amount of time and budget for the agency to achieve all their objectives.

A successful relationship of any kind is based on trust, open and honest communications and chemistry. Clients should consider this when searching their next partner(s).