The psychology of choice determines that the more selection we have, the less satisfied we are with our final decision. And this psychology is true throughout our lives.
In her book, The Art of Choosing, Professor Sheena Lyengar set up two sampling stations in a supermarket; one with 24 flavours of jam and the other with only six. The station with six options resulted in 30% of consumers purchasing at least one jar of jam, while the sampling station with 24 flavours had a conversion rate of only 3%. Less choice, better decision making. More choice equals relative paralysis.
Away from food, dating app Tinder has been charged with commoditising relationships and promoting dissatisfaction. Why? The sheer amount of choice of the opposite sex at our fingertips.
The grass is always greener is an age-old idiom, but when the grass is replaced by endless fields as far as the eye can see, the greenery is blinding.
And so from casual hook-ups to concept presentations. While it can be tempting to wow your clients with an endless churn of ideas (and we have been there ourselves, believe us), too much choice gives the brand manager a problem. Rather than a flurry of thought, it’s better to develop fewer, stronger concepts with which the client can build a rapport with.
With that in mind, we’ve developed a smarter way to pitch.
The Rare way
Don’t go in with folders and folders of ideas; go in with five.
Firstly, you should have a safer option in the folio, an evolution of what the client already had. Don’t expect gasps of delight, fainting or standing ovations; there will be no D&AD Pencil in the post off the back of this. Chances are, no-one will see it but you. So, why is it important? It’s all about setting a baseline for the rest of the presentation. It shows you understand the fundamental concepts, and can deliver on a solid brief. The concept shouldn’t be dull, of course, but it’s an iteration of what already exists – putting your own spin on the existing brand foundations.
The second concept, again, is not going to be too ‘out there’, but it will show your creative chops in a slightly better light. Think of this as the safe option with a little bit of flair. This is no unicorn, but it’s a pretty white horse with a party hat on its nose.
The next option for the client is the one you really like, and the one you’ll hedge your bets on. This is that idea that brings in all your category or industry knowledge and pushes the edges a little, showcasing your creative thinking in the best possible light. The is the idea that gets you excited, and the one which perfectly marries up with the client’s needs. It’s creative enough to resonate with your passion, and commercial enough to make a splash on the shelves, billboards or packs. You love this idea, and it’s the one the client will end up going for.
Just as the second option is the link between the safe way and your preferred route, this piece is one step the other way. Going this one step beyond positions you as a thinker – an agency not content to rest on its laurels; one which can bring abstract thought into the mix. If your client is interested in making a statement – a brand manager looking to stamp their mark – they may well go for this idea too. Be prepared.
And the final option is what we’d call the disruptor. Imagine there’s no client, now drop a load of acid and see what funny shapes you can make. Seriously, release the creative shackles, safe in the knowledge that there’s no way the client will go for it. Completely reimagine what the product actually is. Redefine its category, play with shape and form and make it sing. If the client does go for it, strap in, it’s going to be a hell of a ride.
The message here is to avoid bombarding your client with a raft of unformed ideas, and be much more particular and measured in your delivery. Reducing choice, in the long run, means a much more satisfied client and displays a clarity of thought from your end. In short, everyone’s happy.