Aalap Desai
Guest Article

Reimagining the digital pitch deck for agencies

Our guest author urges agencies to give more time to digital, in terms of thinking as well as presentation.

It is once again that time of the year. Apart from the awards season being right around the corner, yet another monster has emerged from under the bed.

For most agencies, the last quarter of the financial year is kicking in, and new business pitches are on an all-time high, with a constant hunt for projects to meet the numbers. Business is as usual. Same struggle, different year, right?

Now, this seems like an apt moment to quote Allen F. Morgenstern (in a feeble attempt to sound profound) and offer some friendly advice to work smarter, not just harder. Be it a project, a new idea or a pitch, there is one thing that we misunderstand in the ask of the brief. Observing multiple decks compelled me to write this set of observations.

It is not rocket science that digital is at an all-time high, and more and more clients are asking for it in the deck. Many teams/agencies that spend hours and nights preparing decks, are just looking at digital as adapts and GIFs of the key visual they put in the deck.

That is not digital. That is not even the tip of the iceberg. If we work so hard to make those decks, I feel it is imperative to improve them in every way possible. After all, the stronger the decks, the more we win and the less we must pitch tomorrow.

In the many attempts to make our decks stronger, these are some approaches that have helped me in the past.

Ditch the articulation, capture the conversation

We crack a great articulation and often get stuck with it. Just like a good one should lead to a million lines and ideas, try and figure out a conversation that comes out of it too. These are not headlines. These are conversations. There is a difference. You can have a lot of fun with it, and there are many ways to bring it alive.

Also, people don't talk in headlines. Nor does every great headline becomes a great social extension post. The extension of the articulation into conversations will make for better social posts and content. It will, at the same time, also demonstrate how big and extendable the campaign is.

Get the interaction going

Digital is a two-way conversation. Try and avoid putting stuff in the deck that makes it one-way. All the other elements are probably doing that anyway. When you get to the digital part of the deck, try and make it about responses, and how people can talk to the asset. That would differentiate it from all the other elements. If you start doing that, you will eventually improve and start doing deeper interactions in time. That's when this will start becoming more fun for you.

Don't just use platforms, abuse them

We use all the social platforms ourselves every single day. While using them, we are consumers. Figure out the stuff that interests you and turn that into an idea. It could be as simple as how fast you tap through someone's stories or how an influencer creates content.

Please keep track of that and use it for the deck. After you do enough of that, suddenly, one day, you will realise that you are now generating ideas on how to hack a platform and create a concept around it.

Get inspired by the idea and use the tool

One shortcut to expediting the learning and application of digital ideas, is to look at all the digital pieces that have won awards in the last year. If you go further than a year, it becomes too old, so one year is a good window.

Look at all the winners and separate the tool that was used from the application. Use the tool for the campaign in the deck and create an idea for your campaign. This process is fast and efficient, because the feasibility of the idea will already be in place.

A lot of us try and fight this because it is already done. I beg to differ. The digital tool used, is a medium. Just like we did not stop making print ads after the first one won a metal, it is illogical not to use the same tool for a different idea. The creativity will lie in the ingenuity by which it is used. Repetition is not the issue.

Use others to fill up the gaps

Every creator out there is a brand you can use for your brand. Most creators have a certain tone of voice and are creating specific content. Start using influencers and creators, and use their reputations to fill in the logical gaps in an interesting digital idea you have.

We often forget something so simple while making our decks. Using influencers and content creators have solved a lot of 4 am questions that I have had in the past, a day before the pitch. It may be simple, like who should break the campaign on digital or who you get to share.

Last, but not least, please try and give more time to digital, in terms of thinking as well as presentation. Spend time on it because that is the need of the hour. It will help make the deck stronger. It will help win more pitches. If nothing else is an absolute in this article, I am almost sure this last statement is.

The guest author is Chief Creative Officer, Creative Experience, West, Dentsu Creative India.

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