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Creatively Conquering Content: How Visuals Can Win New Business

A driving force in business today is the creation of an attention-grabbing proposal or presentation. However, while it sounds like a simple solution, it’s no small thing. When a Request for Proposal (RFP) comes in the door, companies must invest time and money to prepare, produce and track responses. If a dedicated marketing person isn’t in place, it can seem overwhelming to put together a detailed response, but it doesn’t have to be. Just like RFPs, new business presentations often come with little time to prepare. Both types of communications have two levels of significance: 1) what you say, and 2) how you say it.
Obviously, content is the foundation for telling your story and an important (but often overlooked) element is how you visually represent yourself. The following are some considerations for creating materials that visually impact customers and prospects, and raise awareness for companies in the early stages of the new business process.

Thinking Beyond The Binder
Typically, responses to RFPs are produced using a traditional method: a three-ring binder full of information adhering to the philosophy that ‘more is better.’ That method makes sense because often there are specifications that must be met and it is relatively easy to print information. Does it get the job done? Absolutely. Does it make people remember you? Probably not. When was the last time a three-ring binder caused you to stop what you were doing and devote all of your attention to it? The physical container presents the perfect opportunity for using imagination to catapult the response to the next level. It could be as simple as including a pop of color, images that highlight your concept/idea or really going the distance with something like Google Cardboard to build an immersive experience your prospect will never forget. The idea is to think creatively and draw the customer into the experience so they can see themselves working with you.

Packaging is Everything
If there is flexibility in how a response can be packaged, there are a number of opportunities to customize for differentiation and still meet any required specifications. Consider a high-quality box with a colorful design or incorporate a different binding method. For example, instead of the previously mentioned three-ring binder, consider investing in a spiral binding apparatus or if time allows, saddle stitching, velo binding or perfect binding can also be used to make your response stand out. Custom pieces can also be created in-house via 3-D printing to reduce cost and time expenditures. The key is to examine what elements are required by the creator of the RFP and rework the packaging to elevate the response above the others. You want to make people excited to open the package and experience the content created to tell your story.

Evolve Your Thinking
Technology provides opportunities to present your content for consumption. From video cameras and drones, technology is constantly advancing and the time is right to take the steps to allow your company to distinguish itself. Some methods for winning business include using tools such as:

  • Video testimonials and case studies to highlight satisfied customers and successful projects
  • Maya®(3D animation, modeling, simulation and rendering software) to help customers visualize how a concept will be perceived
  • Photography (stock or customize) can help solidify an experience or provide visual support
  • Prezi to step outside the linear structure of a traditional presentation

Without a doubt, responding to an RFP or presenting your company in a new business meeting is a critical step in winning business. As such, it is essential that your company represent itself accurately and positively. While RFP responses and presentations are not traditional marketing pieces, both tell your company’s story and must be visually compelling. RFPs and new business opportunities can arrive at inopportune times, so being prepared in advance will help lighten the load and help everyone stay focused to win the business.

 

This article was previously written by Chris Martin and appeared in TEQ Magazine.