If you are a client, a competition is often a desire for a big shift. In some cases we are invited, in others we participate. Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. But it’s not the most effective way. The life of a brand is complex and unique, which is why, before finding good solutions, you need to understand and understand each other and spend a lot of time preparing. What follows are reflections based on our experience, and advice to avoid competitions.
Simplify. Competitive bids are for those organisations who have award procedures regulated by specifications. If you are not this kind of company (i.e., the state, a region or public service) do not call for competitive bids. Consultation is better, it simplifies and shortens the lead time.
Doubts. If you know what you want, it’s easy to choose the right professional or appropriate agency. If you don’t know what you want, it is difficult to recognise the proposal that is the most suitable for you. Competitive bids generate a lot of possibilities, but the also create many doubts.
Small projects. Bids for small projects are useless: they are a disproportionate work burden both for the professionals invited to participate and for you. You don’t need to call 8 plumbers to change a faulty tap in you home. You will select a plumber for one or more of 5 different reasons: the recommendation of a friend, his reputation for doing a good job, he tells you something compelling (before changing the tap, obviously), maybe he doesn’t cost a fortune, your intuition.
Aims vs. creativity. Often, in a bid, the client shirks his responsibility by expecting the professional or the agency to resolve his problems, hoping that an image, some words or some graphic cunning, will solve everything. Calling a bid means you know exactly what you want to achieve. The goal should not be confused with creativity. The latter is at the service of the former; it does not replace it.
Limits. The Merlin syndrome is the idea that equates a professional with a doctor. The former is an interpreter of the client’s business needs, the latter deals with health. The syndrome plays in when you expect a professional to perform like a doctor, preferably a specialist in psychoanalysis, better still if he or she has strong divination skills. A professional can not read your thoughts and can not predict your future.
Rarity. In competitive bids professionals often make decisions based on limited data, insufficient time and inadequate analysis. The result is firing shots in the air, and putting your trust in God. You need to put professionals in the condition to really help. How? For example, by producing fool-proof written briefs, an increasing rarity.
Secrets. Often, clients inexplicably keep the names of bidders secret, making a process that should simply be transparent unnecessarily opaque. What do you really need to keep secret? Have a look here and learn something new.
False courtesy. Calling a competitive bid to challenge a long-standing partnership with an agency or professional is like a calling a bid to replace your wife and inviting her to participate along with the new candidates, in order to give her a chance. It is a false courtesy. You don’t need a bid, but the courage of your convictions.
Refunds. Unpaid bids are based on a model from a bygone age when an aspiring employee could be put on probation without pay and expected to be grateful for the honour of being allowed to try. Bids are expensive and the work done is useful, even if it is not used, because it helps you to decide. Therefore, the should always be paid for in any case. Or are you living in the past?
Value. From a commercial perspective, all goods have a value that can be expressed in money, otherwise they are a gift or a loan. If a bid is not remunerated it means that you attribute no value to it, or, perhaps as a result of an excess of self-esteem, you think that it is your due. But think about it; it is not serious.
Victory? The professional or agency that wins a bid wins for the project presented. Well, that’s not always true. Frequently, “victory” is the beginning of new and prolonged work that has nothing to do with the conditions of the bid. Better to consult. Choose a professional partner and work together with him.
Responsibility. If the bid does not produce the desired results ask yourself what did not work on your side. It’s too easy to put blame others. Do not waste time blaming professionals or the agency of “poor or excessive creativity”, “of not adhering to the brief” or something similar. There is a sense to every result, even the most wrong. Ask yourself what coins you put in the jukebox to listen to music you don’t like.