Pitch time!

Apologies for our radio silence of late, it has been rather a busy ole time for us grads here at Leo Burnett. This Monday witnessed the culmination of the Leo Burnett Graduate Pitch – a process which has stretched the boundaries of our comfort zones and flung us headfirst into the challenging yet exciting realities of the new business pitch process.

We can’t quite believe that it has been a month since we first received the brief. Divided into two competing teams, we no longer had the security usually afforded by the grad unit. Rather, we were resigned to sympathetic glances as we scurried to collect research, book rooms and recruit resource.

Our client was a racing circuit in Wales – and despite our relatively limited experience of the motor sport industry, we were all raring to go (excuse the terrible pun). One of our first steps, after scaring ourselves silly with timings plans and the like, was to take a trip to the circuit itself. Once there we spent two days interviewing our clients, their employees, circuit visitors, and locals…whilst getting extremely wet in the process (it rained cats, dogs and then the rest of the animal kingdom to boot). Fortunately we were lucky enough to have extremely helpful clients, an absolutely stunning location, and a pretty exhilarating atmosphere on race day, so the fact that we still weren’t dry by the time we got back to London wasn’t too much of an issue!

The following weeks saw us taking the insights we had gleaned from our research, distilling these into a brief, and working with our respective creative teams to generate the best possible solution for the client. As simple and straightforward as that sentence made the process sound, our littered desks and bitten nails tell a slightly different story! Just kidding…Okay so we were very busy at times, however at the end of the day pitches happen all the time, not just at quiet periods, and this gave us the perfect introduction to managing an important process, above and beyond ‘the day job’.

And then before we knew it, with PowerPoint prepared and presentations practiced, pitch day was upon us. After spray painting car bonnets and making tyres into flyers (yes, really!), it was finally time to present. With a room full of 20 expectant faces (including the clients who had made the 5 hour journey from Wales), and no idea what the other team had up their sleeves, there was everything to play for. And of course the inevitable last minute nerves were doing nothing to help the situation!

Fortunately all went smoothly, and any nerves quickly dissipated into sighs of relief and smiling faces. The clients were impressed with our ideas, and after selecting a winning team (there was only 1 point out of 40 between us), told us that they were going to implement some of our ideas immediately! Our hard work had paid off…High fives all round!

Ultimately, although there were elements of the pitch that were harder than others, we feel privileged to have had the opportunity. Not only the opportunity to work real-time for a real client, or another opportunity to present to the Executive Committee, but also the opportunity to experience first-hand just what an incredibly supportive agency we work for. From creative to catering, from tissue meetings to traffic, from production to pitch theatre – our colleagues have gone above and beyond the call of duty to facilitate our pitch and lend a hand where they can. Each of us definitely owes a pint or ten…

….and now we’re off to drink a pint or ten at the NABS Quiz – more to follow on this shortly!

Elise x

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