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Finding Satisfaction in the Fuzzy Middle

Satisfaction in the fuzzy middle

For those of us who own, manage or simply work at an agency, we understand that there are wins, losses, and sometimes a fuzzy middle where we’re not even sure if we won or lost. The reality is we don’t always get what we want, don’t nail every pitch or presentation, don’t always have the brilliant idea, and sometimes don’t even get sent the RFP.

By the way, word to the wise: don’t believe anyone — anyone — who tells you they’ve never lost a pitch.

But we all try to get what we want, to nail every pitch or presentation, to come up with brilliant ideas, and certainly, we’d like to at least receive the RFPs.

Today I had one of those “fuzzy middle” moments where I wasn’t quite sure if we’d won or lost.

The backstory: We’ve been pegged as somewhat of an idea shop. When a company needs something a bit out of the ordinary or perhaps a unique approach at a vexing challenge, we might get thrown a project and asked to take a swing.

In this case, we’d been asked by a very large multinational company to submit a concept for an unusual brand accoutrement. It wasn’t something around which the brand thought it could necessarily drive sales, but it was one of those quirky brand extensions that oftentimes engages consumers in a unique way and creates brand affinity.

So we gathered our team, took a few concepts and did a build, knitting together a collaboration of several ideas into one that we thought would not only have some traction in building brand affinity, but also tie somewhat into sales.

Two weeks later we got word.

“Not going to be able to do the idea man,” the client contact said. “It was the best idea I’ve received since I’ve been here. I will figure out how to get you guys a meeting down here. It’s worth our digital team seeing how social campaigns can truly work to drive business.”

And while we’d love — absolutely love — to work with this brand and put our creative chops to the test, I’ll take it. Sure, definitively, we lost. But the response tells me we’re definitely doing something right.

For now, I’ll take the fuzzy middle. We won.

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