Helping Clients Appreciate Big Ideas

After brainstorming concepts for one of your business lines, the deadline is up and the day is here—client presentation time. You deliver an inimitable body of work that’s sure to blow them away except the client responds with a nonchalant, “Hmm…is that it?”

If this sounds like déjà vu, the problem may not be your presentation but the path you took to get there. With the help of over 100 in-house agency professionals, we’ve compiled the top 25 things you can do to help your clients appreciate your big ideas.

  1. Invite clients into the creative process. Do some preliminary brainstorming together to enlist them as part of the solution.
  2. Plant the seed of your idea early to get an initial read on your client’s reaction.
  3. How well do you know your clients? Get to know them better and you’ll be better able to influence their decision making.
  4. Find out what your client’s pain points are; present ideas to help resolve them.
  5. Enlist the right people (senior decision makers) as advocates for the in-house team.
  6. Establish shared goals with your clients.
  7. Attend a lecture with your clients on the value of creative thinking and “innovation ideation.”
  8. Deliver more than what they ask for—it’s easier to scale back a big idea than it is to ramp up a small one.
  9. Center your ideas around the single most important message the campaign needs to impart—hit on the client’s “one big thing.”
  10. Test your ideas via focus groups or crowd-sourcing to see what has the most promise.
  11. Share the business impact of the idea—not just the idea itself.
  12. Support your big ideas with supplemental research and/or industry best practices.
  13. Build on past successes by presenting ideas that support existing campaigns and further integrate the brand.
  14. Refresh your ideas and your client relationships by rotating project teams.
  15. Treat your clients like rock stars—moreover, be a rock star yourself!
  16. Choose a strong, passionate, charismatic leader as the front-man to pitch your ideas.
  17. Present with a combination of passion and excitement—get your clients excited too.
  18. Treat the presentation like an outside pitch—be buttoned up, practiced and confident.
  19. Stand up to present your ideas.
  20. Present your ideas to all of the decision makers so you can field questions directly.
  21. Believe in your big ideas. (If you don’t believe in them, why should your clients?)
  22. Present ideas that challenge the status quo, internally and in market.
  23. Present unsolicited ideas to your clients on a regular basis, just because…
  24. Hold an “idea auction,” where you come up with a host of new creative ideas and auction them off your clients (free of charge, of course).
  25. Make sure the big ideas you present truly are big ideas.

Want more creative thinking on things like adding value, promoting your team, and collaborating with external partners? IHAF has a wide array of focused content in the Research & Resources section of our website. As always, such goodies are available to IHAF members only, so be sure you’re logged-in to gain access. Not a member of IHAF? We have a tip for that, too—JOIN US!

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