Archive | November 2011

Dear Creative England: how we will divvy up the £5,000 rebrand pitch budget you could give us

Creative England is looking for someone to rebrand them. The winning agency will get £5,000 for the job. Quite tempted to go for it. Not because of the money, but the profile. But that’s the point isn’t it? They’re a “name”. If it was anyone else I wouldn’t bother. So I’ve drafted the covering letter already. Think they’ll be cool with it?

Dear Creative England,

Thanks for inviting us to pitch our idea for your new identity.

Idea? Yes, singular. Let me explain.

Let’s be up front. We have discounted our daily rate by 33% to £500. Why? We want to make sure we spend as much time as we can on this. With our modest overheads this means we will make a loss on every day we work on this job. Not a massive loss, but a loss anyway – but we are aware, as the government keeps telling us, we are in this together, so we’re doing our bit here working on a loss maker. That’s the modern way, yeah? Wildly speculate to stand a minor chance of accumulating. So with the £5,000 budget you have set and our discounted rate this means we can allocate 10 days of agency time to this job. That’s what we’re prepared to do to work on this.

We need to break that down.

We know we will spend four days of design time “refining” our pitch treatment if we were to win the project, and showing how it can be implemented. You’ll want brand guidelines as well to go with that, so other places (like the wannabe designer in the office) can just shit it out onto leaflets and posters (that undermine this whole process) so let’s add another 1.5 days on top. And someone will need to help manage that at our end, so add on another day. (It’ll be more time than that, but everyone whinges about paying for this bit, and your budget is tight.)

So, what’s left there? Four, one and a half, and another one. That makes 6.5 days already gone. Which leaves 3.5 days to pitch.

Why are we allocating time from the five grand to pitch? Well, we’re not fans of pitching “for free”. We like our projects to break even, even including the “winning the work” aspect. Bit pointless us putting in the usual amount of time on this, given our discounted rates, and the low return. So we’re going on whim here, a gamble, and use some of our very limited “new business” budget to cover this internally. If we win the work, we’ve got it covered. If we don’t we hope we can recoup the amount against another future job that will actually break even. It’s OK – we’ll make sure that is a private sector job as well – balances things out, yeah, and in line with the government policy of getting the private sector to “invest more”.

(I’m sure other agencies will throw lots at this this, but we’re a small business and we like to trade solvent, not driving ourselves into debt. We’re trying to minimise the impact here.)

So, if we’ll take whatever is left of the ten days allocated and put that towards this pitch, that leaves… two and a half days. Not a lot, eh?

We’ll need to make sure we do some research here so we’re not taking anything in your brief for granted (we like to question what we’re being asked) and we will want to actually present something that creates the right impression, whether that is based on effectiveness or impression. We don’t want to be repeating something someone else has done either. (Or then again, maybe we will – depends on how much time we spend on this.)

We – well, one person – will have spent a really long day doing that research, (the days we have allocated are supposed to be the “regular 9 to 5.30” days that normal folk try to work, but we’re happy to make an exception here) and we’ll just pay for the pizza and inevitable beers as we work until 1am ourselves. Don’t worry about getting an invoice for that. We’re cool. Stuffed crust as well! Should maybe make up for the fact that should have been a good two, maybe three days – not the one.

All that leaves us with about two and a half days of design time to actually come up with something to show you, the end result as it were. 2.5 days of one designer. Usually these things needs about 3, maybe 4 days of one person and a day or two of collaboration with someone else (roughly). And that’s if we’re being tight. And we are being tight. Very tight here.

The result of this is the one design attached. It’s possibly not what we expected or wanted to do, and probably not what you wanted, but we know they’ll be a lot of fannying round if we were to win the work (ie. after the pitch), and we just don’t want to gamble anything more at this stage as we’ve got wages to pay so our staff can pay their bills (ie. from other clients who are willing to pay the going rate). We’ve spent the time on this work already, and we’ve worked to the budget set, so we’re sending it in.

To top it all we’re pretty sure you’ll get loads of interest for this pitch just because of who you are (you’re Creative England!) and there’s businesses who will be richer or stupider to show greater willing to throw more resource at it. But we’re not. Sorry. It is fucking difficult out here and we have to cut our cloth appropriately. You’ll know because you were formed from such an attitude. And you’ll know because you supposedly represent us, the creative people and businesses of this country. You’ve shown great understanding of that with this pitch brief.

If you like what we’ve produced, let us know – and thank you for reading this far.

Cheers,
Si

Ps. The copyright of this idea remains with us. If we see any inkling of our work in the finished job (you know how these pitches go – it’s a glorified “ideas collation” process for you as a client) we’ll be asking questions.