True story: years ago, before I became an “agency person,” I was a client, seeking an agency. I identified three, one of which was a firm called Stone & Adler.
Stone & Adler made a visit; they were enticingly good presenters, plus had some smart, engaging ideas to propose—things well beyond anything I ever anticipated—the best by far of the three competitors.
But they were sloppy. Their slides were marred with typos; their people were casual, offhand, and even dismissive. It was as if I was lucky they honored me with a presentation. I found the experience diminishing, just narrowly avoiding insult. They came across as less than professional.
The other agencies I met with also had good ideas, but lacked the attitude and the sloppiness. I went with one of the other shops.
You would think the best ideas inevitably win in new business. I wish this were true; the best ideas should win.
But they often don't.
Stone & Adler had great ideas. But so did everyone else. The fact is, great ideas are not enough; to win, you need great ideas and something else. What is that something? Is it a magical ingredient, which once injected into a presentation, guarantees success?
Actually, there are many “somethings,” that in many cases cumulatively amount to the difference between winning and losing. These “somethings” are not about ideas; they are about all the other elements that comprise a successful pitch. I refer to them as “casting ...