The Hidden Value Of Creative: How To Pitch Where Others Pass
Every creative agency wants to work on the next eye-catching, brake-slamming billboard. Wait, let me try that again—every creative agency wants to work on the next eye-catching, thumb-stopping Instagram ad. Either way, our understanding of creative services tends to be boxed into one line of thinking. From marketing collateral and social assets to rebranded websites and design-driven campaigns, any ambitious organization’s need for thoughtful, consumer-facing creative is obvious. But those opportunities are crowded, competitive and generally booked up by reputable brand shops—what about the needs that are less obvious?
We’re all consumers.
There’s a misconception that creativity is only needed in a business-to-consumer (B2C) environment. We’ve already touched on the sexy campaigns that inundate our devices on a daily basis—and that’s exactly the point. Whether you’re a business-to-business (B2B) exec leading a sales team or a customer success associate focused on enterprise accounts, you’re still engaging in quality creative on a regular basis. At this point, “consumer-facing” is just an arbitrary label. Because the expectations around how we consume information have risen—including the clients we serve.
Embrace today’s creative standards.
Once you understand this inherent appetite for quality creative, injecting it into your services becomes an invaluable addition to any pitch. You might not be selling design or copywriting work as the core of your offering, but folding it into the package can be the difference between being buried in a stack of bids and closing a new contract. Here are some tips on how to weave creative solutions into traditionally uncreative work.
Employees need to be sold.
When large corporations make a change to their operating practices, it takes months of effort to communicate the shift to every necessary corner of the organization. That means many, many assets—from one-pagers and training decks to knowledge hubs and videos. Decision-makers can become so caught up in the change itself that they don’t think about how they are conveying the information, and employees are quickly turned off by underwhelming assets that don’t speak to their needs. The truth is these materials need the same creative thought and attention as any external piece of marketing.
Internal programs need storytelling.
Speaking of many, many assets—they need to work together. Many organizations don’t think about their programs holistically and fall victim to disconnected materials that fail to properly lay out their vision. This is where traditional creative branding and storytelling elements thrive in an internal environment—resulting in a program that not only succinctly communicates the arc of the change but inspires employees to take action.
Upgrade your vehicles.
I mentioned those standard one-pagers and training decks (and there will always be a place for them), but there’s no rule that says, “This is the only way to communicate to your organization.” Creative solutions allow you to bust outside of boxed thinking and create compelling ways to drive action within an organization. Instead of a one-pager, consider an animated video. Instead of a training deck, why not a digestible podcast? This consumer-centric, creative thinking allows you to meet employees where they’re at.
Most importantly, don’t shy away from B2B.
I’ve talked a lot about the internal programs at some of these larger (sometimes dry) organizations, but actively pursuing B2B brands has only had a positive impact on our prospect funnel (to say the least)—and are some of our most grateful clients. In my experience, the stigma that B2B brands don’t need creative services is just plain wrong. The sensibilities and practices might be different, but the desire for quality design, copywriting and branding is at the same level as any flashy B2C organization.
Hidden value means hidden opportunities.
At the end of the day, we’re all consumers who have been conditioned to digest information in the modern world. And in the modern world, creative ideas thrive. Whether in sales enablement, change management, B2B customer journeys or just a flyer your neighbor asked you to mock up for their upcoming garage sale—the demand for quality is all around us. For agencies looking to expand their services, the opportunities are hiding in plain sight.
This MODintelechy authored editorial originally appeared in Forbes Agency Council