From promise to practice: bringing your Client Value Proposition to life in pitches

In the hyper-competitive world of professional services, articulating and demonstrating a compelling Client Value Proposition (CVP) is not just a beneficial part of your brand strategy — it’s essential.

To truly bring your CVP to life, you need to embed it deeply within every aspect of client engagement

Your CVP should be a living, breathing part of your brand, resonating through every client interaction, especially during pitches. It’s about transforming abstract promises into tangible experiences that clients can feel, see, and trust. This isn’t just about putting words on a website; it’s about making your CVP a central element of your identity and operations.

To truly bring your CVP to life, you need to embed it deeply within every aspect of client engagement and bring it to life with both Symbols and Substance. Symbols stand out and help tell a compelling story about your firm’s differences; substance ensures that clients know that it’s not just on the surface.

This means understanding what your clients value most, clearly demonstrating your unique strengths, and ensuring that every touchpoint reflects your brand’s promise. Whether you’re demonstrating empathy with your client’s culture, showcasing commitment and expertise, or leveraging innovative methodologies, your CVP should be your North Star.

However, that’s much easier said than done and unless your firm operates in a micro-niche, only some aspects of your CVP can realistically be differentiated. That’s why ensuring that you have every RFP box ticked and that your CVP shines through in a carefully designed and curated way is critical.

So, for inspiration, here are some concrete and tangible ways—historical and contemporary—that industry leaders have successfully embodied their CVPs in pitches, simultaneously enhancing client experience and winning new business. One or two names are redacted for reasons of client confidentiality.

Nike and Law Firm A: Mirror Your Client

When Nike selected Law Firm A, in the days when dressing down was generally frowned upon in the City of London (remember casual Fridays), it wasn’t just for their legal acumen. In the pitch, Nike saw a young, diverse, and casually dressed team that mirrored their ethos.

Law Firm A demonstrated a strong cultural alignment by breaking the then-ubiquitous stereotype of traditional law firms. This wasn’t about just fitting in; it was about showing Nike they were understood and would be represented by people who would reflect their values and commercial interests.

Of course, these days, all firms are way further along this journey than this historical example shows, but with thought, there’s still plenty of space to think hard about tuning into the client’s culture and values beyond simply saying it.

Deloitte goes further, turning one of its flagship processes into a place.

Weil: Judgment in the Deck

Lawyers are notorious for giving ‘on-the-one-hand-on-the-other-hand advice’ that often leaves clients cold. Global law firm Weil stands out by infusing its pitches with clear, confident viewpoints, which is a major part of its CVP that its existing clients value and reward.

So, in pitches, despite acting on limited information, they make a concerted effort to offer precise market insights and strategic advice instead of hedging. One partner commented, “Sometimes the best answer to a complex question really can be just ‘yes’ or ‘no’.” This approach doesn’t just display knowledge; it builds trust and positions Weil as a decisive, reliable partner.

Deloitte Greenhouse: Branded Methodology

Deloitte knows that other firms it competes against also have detailed and sophisticated methodologies. So, Deloitte goes further, turning one of its flagship processes into a place.

Deloitte’s Greenhouse is more than just a methodology—it’s a branded experience with immersive environments designed to foster innovation and collaboration. It takes clients out of their daily routines and places them in a dynamic setting tailored for creative problem-solving.

The Greenhouse combines cutting-edge technology, behavioural science, and strategic facilitation to help clients tackle complex challenges and witness potential solutions come to life in real-time.

PA has its own Willy Wonka-style innovation centre in Cambridge

PA Consulting: Turning Ingenious Ideas into Reality

All big consulting firms want to be perceived as strong on innovation. But from their glass and steel city-centre offices, it can be hard to project this capability to clients purely through PowerPoint slides in a pitch.

PA has its own Willy Wonka-style innovation centre in Cambridge, UK, where real boffins buzz around inventing stuff. “It’s where we turn ingenious ideas into physical and digital reality.”

Not so much glass flasks of steaming green liquids and pyrotechnic flashes these days–––more cutting-edge medical devices, prototype sustainable packaging and photovoltaic cells––but real-world innovation with ‘things’ not just slides. PA’s clients and prospects love going there to experience it, and even being able to talk about it in pitches helps PA project its distinctive CVP. Good

McKinsey Global Institute: Leading with Research

All top management consultants do thought leadership because it helps engage with potential clients in the business development and pitching cycle.

The McKinsey Global Institute exemplifies McKinsey’s commitment to thought leadership. In true McKinsey style, it sounds like a rigorous academic institution—not a sales enablement tool—providing clients with cutting-edge research on global trends. These insights are presented as not just informative but pivotal for strategic decision-making, reinforcing McKinsey’s role as a forward-thinking advisor.

IBM: Quantifying Commercial Benefits

IT transformations are hugely expensive, with multi-year costs, for leaders of big companies to assess, and many of these executive decision-makers don’t know a bit from a byte. IBM was a pioneer of and is still famous for its approach of not just presenting the cost of its solutions but also calculating and showcasing the positive commercial benefits.

This method helps clients see the direct financial impact of IBM’s solutions on their business. It makes the value proposition extremely clear and compelling, emphasising relative benefits rather than relative costs. They provide detailed Total Cost of Ownership and ROI analyses, projecting savings and revenue gains over and above what’s in the RFP.

Bringing your CVP to life means embedding it deeply into every client touchpoint

Bain’s Results Delivery®: Ensuring Execution

At the end of their ‘Masters of the Universe’ days, the top management consultants became tagged with the perception that they were brilliant at strategic analysis and theory but lousy at implementation –– or worse, unable to develop strategies that worked in the real world.

To help dispel this notion and demonstrate Bain’s commitment to real-world outcomes, they invented Bain Results Delivery® to address the gap between strategy and execution. Results Delivery®—note the registered trademark—is a rigorous tracking system that involves clients in every step of the implementation process, ensuring accountability and measurable outcomes. Bain also offers a mobile app for clients to monitor project progress in real time.


Bringing your CVP to life means embedding it deeply into every client touchpoint. It’s about mirroring client culture, showcasing commitment, offering clear viewpoints, creating unique experiences, leveraging research, driving data-driven decisions, quantifying benefits, and ensuring execution.

By doing so, you don’t just win pitches—you build enduring client relationships.

Ian Stephens

CEO and Founder of Principia, Ian is the trusted advisor on branding to leaders of many of the world’s most prestigious international professional service firms and knowledge-intensive B2B businesses across a range of sectors including law, consulting, strategy, technology, engineering, and innovation.