Aniruddha Atul Bhagwat, Co-founder & Director, Ideaosphere Consulting talks about one of his most cherished pitching experiences that made him realise that at times, it’s not about winning or losing a pitch but about letting the experience add value to your lives
BY ANIRUDDHA ATUL BHAGWAT
Co-founder & Director, Ideosphere Consulting
We received an email inviting us to pitch for a communication strategy development project in Gadchiroli, a small village outside Nagpur. When my co-founder, Minal, insisted we both go, I was completely dismissive about it. A flight to Nagpur followed by a four-hour journey to Gadchiroli wasn’t something I was excited about. In retrospect, however, I am glad that I ultimately gave in and made the trip, as it turned out to be one of the best experiences we have both had.
As we drove from Nagpur Airport to Gadchiroli on a pitch-dark road in the middle of a forest with no network on our phones, we both wondered how this trip was going to pan out. We were going to Muktipath, and the only thing we really knew of the organization was the person heading it - Dr Abhay Bang. One of their team members, an old lady, who handles the Muktipath campus canteen stayed up late to ensure that we and other agencies who had come for the pitch had dinner as soon as we reached. This was our first exposure to the people-first approach of the organization.
The next morning, while we were briefed on the exact requirements, I kept thinking all the while, ‘we could have done this over a simple email’. To our surprise, we were then informed that the pitch only needed to be presented the following morning. This left us with the rest of the day to brainstorm, and to go and interact with the villagers. With two cars and local guides ready, we set up meetings with psychologists and other social work professionals present at Muktipath to collect insights for our approach. The brief was crisp; create strategies and messages to drive the work Muktipath was doing in their mission to create an alcohol and tobaccofree Gadchiroli. With limited network, we only had access to the computer lab until 11 pm. This meant we had to analyze our inputs, brainstorm, plan our approach, plus design and put together our pitch by the next morning.
Splitting our information gathering exercise across rural, tribal and urban areas was the only way we were going to get enough time to complete the presentation in the evening. It was a great experience, reminiscent of us being back in college and working on an important presentation due the next day. Adding to our anxiousness, however, the presentation on the following day would be made directly to the leadership team of Muktipath, including Dr Abhay Bang.
As a part of our job, we have the opportunity to meet some of the best brand teams across top organizations in the country. Who would have thought that a small, passionate team in Gadchiroli would rank amongst the top in terms of delivering a brief and structuring a pitch process? Minal and I left our presentation with a big sigh of relief, as for the two days prior to that, it was a roller coaster ride trying to get a deep, meaningful and well packaged presentation together. It was an experience that took us back to when we first started the company, or to the excitement we had when we started our careers, more than a decade ago.
These are the work experiences we cherish. This time it wasn’t about winning or losing the pitch. Going through the entire process, we were extremely satisfied with what we had put together and confident that we had a good chance of winning the mandate. But we didn’t care if we did or not, because we both knew that this experience was going to add value for us personally, no matter what. Neither of us would have ever expected this from the email we received a week before, but that’s something my co-founder has taught me. Try new experiences, explore every chance you get, and give it a shot. Some of your best experiences happen when you least expect them to.
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