Sometimes a trawl is the real thing – try calling their bluff

Blue Marlin boss Andrew Eyles raises an interesting issue with his frustration that too many international clients are simply interested in trawling for free ideas from UK design consultancies (News Analysis, DW 10 December 2009).

I understand his cynicism, but, when it comes to new business, keeping an open mind – while not committing too much in time and money – is perhaps the most pragmatic of pitching principles.

Only this week we got a brief from a big European brand that had ‘trawling’ written all over it, primarily because it imposed quite impossible deadlines.

We wanted a minimum fee-level and a deadline extension, and communicated these terms to our client, which ‘accepted’ both conditions and then awarded us the work before the proposal was even started – bypassing the pitch it said we were embarking on.

Potential clients (sometimes) move in mysterious ways – but design consultancies must still stick to their principles.

Mano Manoharan, Joint managing director, LFH, by e-mail

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