Tag Archives: agencies

Why don’t more agencies embrace ’tissue sessions’?

13 Aug

I’m currently working through a three way competitive pitch for some BTL work, and it struck me the other day how underutilized ’tissue sessions’ (as the Sydney agencies, or a ‘review of territories’ or similar as we’d call them in Melbourne) are.

When you think about the traditional briefing process, it’s fairly straight forward. As a client I present a problem I’m wanting the agency to help me solve, then we spend a few weeks not talking, schedule a response and then both parties nervously sit there hoping like hell it hits the mark. Sure the agency will have a section in the response restating the brief, as if to hope that by mentioning this again it will magically make the ideas seem more logical, however more often than not it just serves as a good checklist to confirm how far off the brief the ideas are.

Yet perhaps we’re relly missing a trick to not only get more work, but more so get better solutions, vs just having to settle for something that’s ok.

Contrast this process with the tissue session. Here the agency takes away the brief, makes sense of the often conflicting priorities, googles some of the acronyms, and hypothesizes what the magical consumer segment 17 is, in the hope the brief actually makes sense. Then they have some time with the planners / strategists to get clear on what they need to do, before having a first pass with the creatives regarding some potential ways to solve the brand issue. Sharing this with the client to get their feedback at this time now enables the client to not only confirm if the agencies detective work correctly unpicked the brief, but more so (and this is the kicker) before too much time and cost is wasted going down different avenues, confirms whether they are on the right path in delivering what the client wants (or will buy).

Sure not every brief requires this, but especially those where it is a competitive pitch, or a new problem, it makes a lot of sense to me to make sure that agency and client agree to a tissue session before the final response. The alternative approach more often not will see the unsuccessful agency reaching for their own tissue as they miss out or lose the job.

Most importantly this isn’t only limited to brands and agencies – I’m sure the same approach can be applied to all facets of business and our life. Ask the questions to make sure you’re on the right track before you go so far down, you can’t come back…