Razorfish: How to Win a Formal Agency Review

Christian Juhl on ad agency new business
by Todd Knutson


Razorfish has won some of the most desirable interactive clients in the world. Christian Juhl is the president, and knows a thing or two about how to win. At the recent Mirren New Business Conference he shared five key things he's learned over the years.

1.  The best idea loses all the time. Do you know what it takes to win? What's the criteria? It's never really about the assignment. It's about how you think, and are you good people.

2.  A pitch is an invitation to begin a relationship you should have already started. You can't begin a relationship during a review. You must have done it beforehand, so start early.

3.  Respect procurement, but be bold and do what's right for the brand. Think of procurement as one point on a triangle, your agency as another, and the marketing department as the third. Deal with procurement as a partner. Teach them about your agency. Ask them what success looks like in five years? If you have relevant questions you can often go against the brief and meet with the client.

4. Walk away if it's not right. If you have to pitch what the agency doesn't want, don't do it. You'll never get the team behind you. Creative will do lousy work, and you'll lose credibility.

5. Love what you do and let it free, or don't bother. Passion is essential - all the time. Attitude based on passion is a good thing.


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