LONDON — AAR, the marketing consultancy whose services include managing pitch processes across the sector, has introduced a new rapid pitch offer for PR projects.
The process, which can work remotely or in real life, allows clients to brief and select an agency for a specific project within 24 hours. It is intended to be quick and effective for clients and agencies, as well as allowing clients to see how agency teams think and work together.
As part of the process, AAR will put forward no more than three agencies for a brief. Agencies will be provided with background on the client in advance, but will only be issued with the brief on the morning of the pitch. After an all-agency briefing session, the agencies will be given two hours to prepare their response, with the successful agency being appointed by the end of the day.
The idea has been developed by Frank founder Andrew Bloch, who joined AAR last October to lead its PR consultancy practice and manage all PR pitches. He told PRovoke the offer was based on his own experience in agencies, and by the current contract landscape, which is now dominated by project work but still largely uses the same arduous pitch process as for retainer briefs.
“Clients have to be respectful of agency’s time and what it costs them to do a pitch. When it’s a tactically-driven project, it’s not appropriate to put an agency through the same process as an agency of record pitch – that’s just over the top for some of the requirements that are out there. This commitment in agency time is relative to the size of the prize.”
He added: “In agency, I always wished clients could see how we think in real time and how we come up with ideas. If a retainer pitch is a performance, this is the behind-the-scenes video, and I think it will allow agencies to really shine.”
In addition, Bloch said the process would help to overcome some of the challenges of remote pitches, including bringing the hard-to-achieve human factor: “Pitching over Zoom is here to stay in some shape or form, but I’ve observed that on both sides it’s hard to bring chemistry to life and give a sense of who the people are behind the business.
“With this process, the client can see how the agency team that will actually work on the business is tackling the brief, and agencies can ask questions and run their thoughts past them. It’s not about an agency nailing the perfect idea in two hours, but that is long enough to see if they all want to work together.”
AAR has recently handled PR pitch processes for EDF, Smart Energy, Homebase, Lidl, Subway and Talk Talk.