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A guide to employing a consultancy [and the pitfalls of free pitching]

When it comes to hiring a consultancy, it’s crucial to approach the process in the right way to ensure you get the best results. The days of expecting free pitches from design consultancies are over and it’s essential for all involved to understand why this is beneficial. This guide will provide you with tips on employing a consultancy and why asking them to pitch for free or complete any work prior to commissioning is a bad idea for everyone.

Free could be the most costly

Free pitching is common in the world of big-budget advertising, where consultancies have the potential to earn significant rewards. However, in cases where budgets are smaller, such as branding and packaging design, consultancies may be less inclined to invest their time and resources for free. This means that the best consultancy for your project may not want to participate in a free pitch. It’s important to consider whether the consultancy’s willingness to pitch for free, is for the right reasons.

The missed opportunity to collaborate with top consultancies

Clients who ask consultancies to work for free may miss out on the opportunity to collaborate with the best consultancies. Established and highly talented consultancies often won’t participate in free pitches because they understand the value of their work and expertise. These consultancies prioritise paid projects where they can fully invest their skills and resources to deliver outstanding results. By dismissing consultancies that don’t offer free pitches, clients limit their access to the best talent in the industry and may settle for less experienced or less capable consultancies.

Intellectual Property Ownership

If you don’t pay for the creative work during the pitch, you won’t own the intellectual property (IP) of the ideas and concepts presented. This can pose challenges if you want to move forward with the presented work or use it in the future. To address this issue, some consultancies charge a pitch fee to ensure they are compensated for their creative work, while clients retain ownership of the IP associated with the pitch stage.

Quality and Expertise

When consultancies participate in free pitches, the work is often given lower priority compared to paying projects. This means that you may not get the best people working on your project, and the core team may not be available to contribute their expertise. Additionally, consultancies may not dedicate as much time and effort to a free pitch as they would to a paid project. As a result, the deliverables and design thinking you receive are likely not to match your aspirations.

Choosing the Right Consultancy

To ensure a successful partnership, it’s essential to assess the chemistry between you and the consultancy. A quick phone call or meeting can help you determine if you have a good rapport and if you can envision working well together. Additionally, review the consultancy’s case studies to gauge their expertise and track record in delivering quality work. Look for examples that resonate with your brand and demonstrate their ability to meet your specific requirements. Consider the consultancy’s credentials, such as industry recognition and client testimonials. These factors can provide insights into the consultancy’s reputation and level of professionalism.

Also, consider the following when selecting a consultancy:

Define your needs. What are you looking for in a design consultancy? Do you need help with branding, website design, or something else? Once you know what you need, you can start looking for consultancies that specialise in those areas.

Do your research. Once you’ve identified a few potential consultancies, take some time to research them. Look at their portfolios, read their reviews, and talk to their clients. This will help you get a better sense of their work and their approach.

Meet with the consultants. Once you’ve narrowed down your options, schedule a meeting with the consultants. This will give you a chance to meet them in person and ask them questions about their process and their ideas for your project.

Get a proposal. Once you’ve met with the consultants, they should provide you with a proposal. This will outline their services, their fees, and their timeline. Be sure to read the proposal carefully and ask any questions you have.

Choose the right consultancy. Once you’ve received proposals from a few different consultancies, you can choose the one that’s the best fit for your needs. Be sure to factor in the cost, the timeline, and the consultancy’s experience when making your decision. The cheapest could end up costing you, so choose wisely.


Competency: The consultancy should have a proven track record of success in the areas you need help with.
Experience: The consultancy should have a team of experienced designers and creatives who can understand your needs and deliver results.
Communication: The consultancy should be clear and transparent about their process and fees. They should also be responsive to your questions and feedback.
Collaboration: The consultancy should be willing to collaborate with you to create a design solution that meets your needs and exceeds your expectations.

Working with us

Of course, we want Brandality to be your consultancy of choice when it comes to your branding requirements, but having been around a while we appreciate the fears businesses have when commissioning a consultancy. We therefore hope you found this article useful and should you want to chat please do not hesitate to get in touch.



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