How to pitch a creative project to your leadership team
You’ve commissioned a design project, things are going well and you’re really happy with progress.
But unfortunately, the final decision doesn’t rest with you.
You’ll need to get sign-off from your leadership team, but the problem is they’re all such different personalities with different ideas. Short of bribing them with Jaffa Cakes, how on earth are you ever going to get them all to agree on a decision?
Don’t worry, we’ve been here plenty of times – we’ve got some handy advice.
1. Who should be involved?
We’ve all heard the phrase, “too many cooks…” and this is 100% a time when this is relevant. Too many people involved equals too many opinions flying around, slowing down the process and making it harder for decisions to be made. And in all honesty, decisions by committee rarely end in the best result as you’ll end up including a little bit from here and a little bit from there to keep everyone happy.
Instead, try to explain to your board that they need to delegate the decision to a small panel, ideally no more than three people. The best candidates for the job are those that understand exactly what you’re trying to achieve and know your target audience inside out. That way, these ‘signatories’ will be able to prioritise the needs of the different stakeholders and make sure the project meets its objectives.
2. How to prepare for the meeting
When you’re preparing for your meeting with the leadership team, think about your audience (the people who’ll be in the room). Make sure you include all the information they’ll need to see and the benefits of what you’re trying to do so that they will be able to make an informed decision. But don’t bombard them with detail – senior managers are busy people, they are likely to be completely turned off if you try to get them involved in the minutiae.
Start at the beginning, ‘what are we trying to do?’ Set out the brief, state who the project is aimed at and what you’re trying to achieve. Let the leadership team know clearly what the CTAs (calls to action) are i.e. what you’ll be asking potential customers to do as a result of seeing the thing you’re creating. That way, the team can understand what they’ll get out of the project and the benefits to the business (and the bottom line) of doing it.
And if you’re presenting a new concept, make sure you give it the best possible chance by showing it in its best light. Is it a flyer? Print it professionally on quality card stock rather than using the office printer. Is it a new logo? Give it space in the presentation so that your audience can really take it in without distracting clutter on the page.
3. How to run the meeting
Leadership teams love KPIs (key performance indicator), it gives them something to measure against so they know if a project has been a success. At the start of the meeting make sure everyone clearly understands the brief and explain that it’s important to evaluate the options with this in mind.
If you are presenting a choice of options, set each one out clearly and ask the people involved to say yes or no. Or alternatively ask them to rate them out of ten. This can be a great way to track opinions objectively and really get a feel for which of the options on the table are the most popular.
If this results in an obvious choice then great, happy days. If not, try to at least get them to narrow the selection and really get to the crux of what works and what doesn’t. Try to be as detailed as possible in the notes you take, as the more specific you can be, the more it will help your designer when it comes to creating version two. And the less likely it is that you’ll have to keep going around in circles.
Make sure you set clear actions and timescales before you leave the room so that everyone understands the next part of the process.
If you’ve not had to pitch a creative project to your leadership team before it can be nerve-wracking, but with a bit of preparation and a supportive design team behind you you’ll find it’s actually a really useful process to ensure everyone’s buy-in and achieve a really great result.