Perfecting the art of saying no to clients

Further to your story on State of the Art’s work for Shires Bathrooms and Borden (DW 5 April), I would like to correct the impression that Elmwood may be involved in free pitching.

Elmwood was asked by Borden Decorative Products to be involved in an unpaid pitch, but we declined to participate and tried to change its course of action, but to no avail. At no time did we give costings to Borden, so we were amazed that Louise Harrison of State of the Art could make the comment that the group won the business because it was more cost-effective. How did she come to this conclusion? If it was not based on costings given to Borden then it must be based on her knowledge of working at Elmwood as an account manager, almost 10 years ago. And how can the design effectiveness of her consultancy’s work be judged when the identity will not be launched until June? I think that what Harrison is really saying is that State of the Art’s design input is cheaper. This is not the same thing as cost-effective.

While on the subject of free pitching, Elmwood always says no, and if you say no in the right way, you usually come out of it with your reputation and the value of your product enhanced.

In most cases, prospective clients do see the light and pay a fair fee for designers’ endeavours, and Shires Bathrooms is still a very good client of Elmwood.

Paul Middlebrook



Leeds LS20 9LT

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