If your client ever tells you this “We have arranged for a pitch”, it means that your client has already lost confidence in you. 

At that time, I was the national executive creative director of Publicis China, Herborist and us have been collaborating for a long time until it reached the stage of “Marriage Crisis”. Everything becomes routine and there were no sparks of passion among the teams from both ends. This relationship needs to be salvaged quickly before it ends up in a grave situation.

One sunny afternoon, instead of meeting at the agency as usual, I deliberately booked a hotel conference room for our meeting. Through the windows, you can have a good view of the city. The good weather and nice scenery seem to enlighten everyone’s mood. The marketing director, Lily, smiled and said “Today’s meeting looks special. What will we be discussing?”

I walked to the edge of the conference table and announced, “Today, we are going to participate in a pitching session!” The client looked at me in bafflement and asked “We did not arrange for a pitch. Who are you pitching to?” 

“To ourselves”, I replied. 

The client looked even more confused than before. 

I continued to explain. “To have a lasting and successful partnership, we need to stimulate passion and become innovative. If we remain contented with our present situation, it will only make us mediocre. Our greatest enemy is ourselves. We need to challenge our limits, reignite our consciousness and determination to transform the current situation and ensure the success of our future!”

We reflected and summarised our services to Herborist and proposed a new focus for our future collaboration.   

On a personal note, through this “pitching session to ourselves”, we have reignited the passion in our team, and retrospectively identified our shortcomings. Hence, we can demonstrate to them our self-initiative approach, which not only won the client’s recognition but also earned their respect. 

Sometimes, a stabilised partnership with the client can be undesirable because it allows laziness and complacency to breed. That was why I proposed a mock-up pitch to create a sense of emergency within the team. After all, it is still better to initiate our pitch now than being forced to participate in other pitch in future, don’t you think so too?