Mon, 17 Oct 2022 11:11:38 GMT
Paul has led several award-winning behaviour change campaigns across Road Safety, Skills and challenging the control of paramilitary gangs to name a few. With over 13 years’ experience in the advertising industry, Paul is quick to develop innovative, strategic solutions to briefs. He is responsible for new business, client campaign strategy and integrating new clients with Ardmore's day-to-day delivery.
Paul> In my current agency, Ardmore, I was lucky enough that my first win came within my first month! The win came from the Department of Economy’s Skills to Succeed program, which seeks to promote Apprenticeships and Academies.
Whilst every new business pitch is challenging in different ways, as a team we were particularly buzzing because we took a massive last-minute risk - and it paid off. With the presentation prepared, we took the brave decision to change the first five minutes in the elevator enroute. The move involved putting our Media Manager on stage to tell her own heartfelt story of struggling to get a break in the world of work.
I learned that day that it’s critical to shift from presentation to experience – a principle I really need to ensure we do more of.
Paul> Naturally, not all my early pitches resulted in a win. In the beginning of my new business career, we lost a pitch, with which I felt totally responsible. I then proceeded to apologise to my boss, with which he told me too never do again… He emphasised that pitching is a team effort.
This experience and the subsequent advice taught me that whilst it is critical to understand the responsibility that you have as a New Business or pitch lead, you can’t win them all, and you certainly cannot do it alone.
Paul> I was once about 48 hours from a creative pitch and the directors ripped up the creative and got the team to start again. The idea that won, and got to market, was basically what we threw out. Doh!
Paul> Brand teams are more price sensitive, and harder to convince to open their doors, undoubtedly because of covid-19. But the challenge is the fun part!
Paul> Both. I think anyone can learn and develop in the new business arena. However, I have certain weaknesses and inhibitions ingrained in my personality that I wish I could eradicate. The best are a blend of great networkers, strategic thinkers, opportunists and those who are somewhat extroverted.
Paul> I wish it could be disrupted. I understand the need for a pitch but I do believe, for the most part, it could be fairer for agencies.
I’d like to see a nominal fee being offered as often as possible. I think it is a great recognition of the work and talent that goes in to delivering a pitch.
Someone once told me that he believed every creative pitch should be replaced by creative testing of the ideas submitted. Then the decision based off the outcomes of the testing. I like that idea, blended with a strategy and creative presentation so clients can decide if they see a cultural and team fit and understand the thinking and process.
Paul> Nothing too complicated. We relentlessly study the business, the consumer insight and the challenges to develop creative and media solutions that create change for the client’s business.
Paul> I sometimes look back at the work I’ve been privileged to be involved in, and the work Ardmore has done. It reminds me of the difference I and we can make, and our moral obligation to keep offering to help new, prospective clients.
Paul> I think it is very delicate when doing business with a friend. But it’s a much easier context when you develop friendships from the original professional relationship.
Paul> It’s all about belief. The client must believe that your creative and media solution is the [only] answer to their challenge. The final close is not as important as building an inarguable case for the solutions being proposed.
Paul> Back to my previous point about belief. You must display a cultural understanding. If it is clear you don’t understand a client’s market and the culture around it, they will struggle to believe and trust you are the best solution. At best they’ll see you as a risk.
Paul> Technology is a great enabler. But a massive part of this business is still about human connection.
Paul> I believe it could definitely be better and tailored to the different segments within our industry.
Paul> It’s all about belief. Focus on the belief and shift the client’s perspective to believe and trust in you, your agency and your solutions.