One year on – adland initiative the Pitch Positive Pledge

pitch-positive-pledge

A year ago the Pitch Positive Pledge (PPP) launched with much fanfare and was met with a generally positive reaction across the industry.

So how’s done and what can we expect next? Russell Oakley, Co-Founder of brand/agency intermediary The GO! Network takes us through the 3Ps…

Russell-Oakley-The-GO!-Network
Russell- akley, The GO! Network

The pledge has been a major boost to us as an intermediary. We already had our own rules of engagement for the pitch process, focused on improving and maintaining the balance of power between agencies and brands.

The PPP aligned nicely with our rules and confirmed to us we were working to industry best practice.

As well as supporting and helping us to hone our own internal guidelines, the pledge gave us further credibility and authority to enforce them because now we had the backing of an industry-wide pledge set out by the IPA and ISBA.

Pitch Positive Pledge

The pledge supports us in informing how we run a pitch so we can ensure that all agencies are treated with fairness and respect from the outset.

We make sure the pledge features prominently across all our comms, from our website to every brief we send out, and we remind all parties throughout the pitch process that this is the standard code of conduct.

The big challenge now is ensuring the pledge remains front of mind for agencies, clients and intermediaries going forward so that, like many other great reforms sparked by the pandemic, it doesn’t fall by the wayside, or get forgotten in the industry rush to get back to growth in an exceptionally tough economic climate.

And as we move forward, we need to constantly monitor progress, explore and implement further improvements we can make and highlight aspects of the pitch process not already covered by the pledge that need to be reviewed.

For example, post pandemic, the industry hasn’t yet re-embraced in-person pitch meetings and this risks hindering the process for agencies and clients.

Benefits

There are of course huge benefits to video call introductions (and certain pitches), and their introduction with the pandemic saved a lot of time and money for clients and agencies alike.

But now we need to find more of a balance between virtual and in-person pitching. To do this we must reaffirm the benefits of face-to-face meetings and encourage clients to avoid the temptation of solely relying on video pitches for the sake of cost-savings or convenience.

Assessment

Another area we closely monitor is the time agencies are allowed to assess the brief, the client and their suitability before committing to the pitch process.

Often agencies report they’re not given adequate time to work through a brief before committing, which in turn puts pressure on staff and resources further into the process.

Ideally, there should be a minimum of a two-week window between an agency receiving the brief and intermediary endorsing that agency.

This allows us to be much more confident that the agencies we’re endorsing have fully assessed their suitability, have planned for the pitch the process ahead of them and are committed to giving the best possible account of themselves.

As such, wherever possible, having this elongated window at the start of a pitch is something we stipulate with clients.

I’d also encourage ISBA and the IPA to work more closely with intermediaries to ensure the pledge continues to be acted upon and remains front of mind, as it often falls to us as the facilitators of the process to offer advice and ensure certain rules of conduct are being adhered to.

Intermediaries can be active allies in this, helping boost awareness around the different aspects of the pledge.

The Pitch Positive Pledge has shone a long overdue light on a unique and important element of our industry and we must all work hard to ensure that it continues to set the highest standards and improve our culture and working practices for years to come.