Times are tough and nothing is as it was, so it’s understandable that brands are taking a long, hard look at what they do next. We get that.

But when you write to us, or occasionally call, to say, ‘We’re planning an ideation session/hackathon/creative competition and are inviting proposals to explain how room44 would run such a process and what outcomes we can expect’ – we know you’re struggling, want ideas for nothing – and more importantly – may not actually know what you want. There it is.

Let’s get down to what’s going on here.

We don’t really mind that you ask for ideas and we know that you’ll get a response from some companies. But, be honest; if you wrote to us because you found us through a keyword match in LinkedIn, we’ll probably never talk regardless of how much time we invest in your problem.

Practically, we can’t begin to write your proposal until we know what your problem is, so why not just call (Zoom/Teams/Facetime/Skype/WhatsApp) first. Let’s get the first conversation done, so you’ve had a chance to explain who you want to work with, what is needed and why we’re being asked to pitch.

Make it meaningful.

To write a meaningful proposal takes time. If all you get back from your generic ‘we want’ email is a templated process chart with your company name dropped in, then be aware – that agency knows as much about you as you do about them.

Because a proposal takes time to create and will be followed by at least two more conversations and one more iteration of the detail, we’re going to ask you to pay us for that time.

What? How dare we?! Who does that?

Anybody with any self-respect is who.

Do you honestly think we’re going to lay out our process and study your issues to make our project plan meaningful for nothing? Sorry, but no.

This is what happens too often.

  • Client tells us broadly the questions they want answers to.
  • We pitch.
  • Client takes our process and try to run it themselves.
  • It doesn’t work.
  • Client Management questions the value of an agency.
  • Nothing changes.

See the problem? To apply a creative process that we have learnt over years, is our job.

To match the process to a unique treatment that we have developed and to lead your team through a work plan that will result in creative options for you to pursue is the most important part of the work we do.

This is our speciality and we don’t expect it to be yours. Nor should your boss.

When room44 sends out a proposal, it is tailored to your need and includes examples of innovation from business segments that you could transpose straight in. We show our working out and we demonstrate how the project will run, who you need to commit to it, what the time investment will be and why the outcomes demand more than just a PO to move you to the position you want to get to.

So, again:

  • Will we send you a templated process chart? No.
  • Will we pitch without talking? No.
  • Will we spend time making your proposal very precise? Yes.
  • Will we do it for nothing? Well, maybe, but if we pitch at all we’ll have had that conversation first too.

I’m not being unreasonable here. I’m happy to send a case study that describes previous successes. We’ve got loads of those and you can ring the clients for references if you want to. But we won’t commit time to you until you’ve offered some commitment to us.

If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, it means we don’t know each other well enough and that comes down to talking. So please, let’s talk. That part is free.

Here’s my number. Any time works. +44 208 123 9018.

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