I’ve heard people put forward the argument that the ‘pretty” part of proposals – covers, tabs, binding, packaging, etc. that are extremely professional – isn’t really important and that this doesn’t really play a part in how a proposal is received or scored. To those who think this way, I’d suggest they need to consider the iPod.
The iPod isn’t really very different from the majority of such media devices from a technology perspective. It is however, distinctly different from a “look, touch and feel” perspective from the other devices available. The difference between and iPod and other such devices from the “pretty” perspective is very obvious, and it’s obvious from the very first moment you pick one up. Most people notice and appreciate the difference immediately. They want to hold it, touch and handle it. I’ve even heard that it’s not uncommon for someone picking up an iPod for the first time to break into a smile.
And the result of the iPod being “prettier” than the other devices? Well, the fact that I hesitate to refer those other devices as “competing products” says it all. The iPod all but owns the market.
And I contend that the “pretty” part of a proposal has the same affect on those who review and evaluate the responses we submit. I’ve witnessed first hand the reaction of a person picking up and reviewing a proposal that is extremely professional in look and feel. They have an immediate positive reaction. You can see it in how they handle the document, how they open it, flip the pages, perhaps comment on it or show it to another reviewer.
This initial positive reaction helps get the proposal onto the “keeper” stack rather than the “I don’t think so pile” (this is the unofficial first cut in most of the evaluations in which I’ve been involved). And when the information within the proposal is also extremely professional and “high-impact”, this combination garners high scores.
So remember, “pretty” matters.