1st February 2016

Win and prosper. Lose and learn.

Extracted from the original post on LinkedIn by Steve Price, Chief Creative Officer

I found out I lost a pitch last week. Devastated. I hate losing pitches. "Who doesn’t?” I hear you cry.

Conversely, pitching for new work is often the most fun you can have as a creative person in agency life. A brand new brief, infinite possibilities, the intent purpose to strut like a peacock in front of a new audience eager to be impressed by your intelligence, wit and elegant execution.

It also means many heated arguments, I mean, meetings. Disbelief at the amount of time available to hit the brief. Long hours. Poor diet (Pizza or KFC. Wagamamas if you’re lucky). Lack of sleep. Physical and emotional investment and, ultimately, if you’ve done the brief justice, that drained and spent feeling that you could give no more.

Then there’s the waiting. Tick follows tock follows tick follows tock, to coin a phrase. That feeling of optimism drains away by the day. “Any word?” “Nothing as yet. Still, no news is good news, eh?”

Spare me.

Then the call comes in. “Can everyone assemble in the boardroom, please.” Always a good sign.

"We won."

Those first few seconds of euphoria. That first glass of the Chairman’s best fizz. The group hug. That nagging thought in the back of your mind. “How the hell are we going to do this then?"

It’s an amazing, amazing feeling.

As I was saying, I found out I lost a pitch last week.

The revered American amateur golfer, Bobby Jones, famously once said "I never learned anything from a match that I won.” Winning pitches is obviously the point but when we do lose, and you can’t win them all, it’s so important to get that (I hate these words) constructive feedback.

Friends, clients, marketing executives, managers and directors, I implore you. Please do find the time to feed back to your losing agencies. I’ve been in losing situations over the years and not heard a dickie-bird more often that I’d care to mention. Agencies spend many thousands of pounds pitching for business and, obviously, most of those pitches end up on the scrap heap. After all, only one agency can win, in most cases. The people working on those pitches miss their children’s bedtimes and risk the wrath of their partners for yet more unsociable hours. Respect for that is important.

The business is what we want, along with the value on the bottom line. But if we are to pitch and lose, let the lessons be learned for when we come to fight another day. They are so valuable.

I did get feedback last week, by the way. This isn’t that pointed an argument. So if you are reading this, thank you.

There’s a new pitch brief on my desk too. It’s a beauty. Here we go again. Hawaiian please.

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