Strategy and tactics without diagnosis is just panic.
A single data point is almost always useless. Insight comes from one point in comparison to another.
“It’s a little like helping top athletes to get that extra 2-3% boost in their performance, to make sure they are closer to the trophy they aim to win. That’s a good agency point of differentiation
Not all problems are the problem
[Account planning] sought to place thinking about the response of the consumer at the heart of strategic and creative thinking.
It aimed to expose and dismantle stifling and unhelpful research methodologies.
It devoted itself to developing a real and rounded understanding of the consumer, rather than simply selecting and polishing selling propositions.
It shifted the focus of advertising development from finding ways of selling people stuff, to finding ways of making stuff buyable.
And it placed the quest for effectiveness above all other agendas, both internal and external.
‘Simplify, Then Exaggerate’
We all know that every human being has basic physical needs: for food, for water, for shelter, for clean air. It turns out that, in the same way, all humans have certain basic psychological needs. We need to feel we belong. We need to feel valued. We need to feel we’re good at something. We need to feel we have a secure future. And there is growing evidence that our culture isn’t meeting those psychological needs for many – perhaps most – people.
“What conventions Must you break?What conventions could you break What conventions should you NOT break?”
* Define the actual thing we’re doing before naming the idea etc.
* Extreme principles can lead to extreme clarity.
* Anything incredible is going to be offensive to somebody
* The goal of marketing, then — especially as it pertains to things people would rather not pay attention to — is in making sure that the message taints the tastelessness of existence, and forces us to pay attention.
* You want to deliver to the world what you would buy if you were on the other end. - Shane Parrish, Farnham Street
* Goodhart's Law is a theory I come back to again and again, particularly with relation to setting KPIs for marketing.
It states that "When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure."
* “Most geniuses—especially those who lead others—prosper not by deconstructing intricate complexities but by exploiting unrecognized simplicities.” — Andy Benoit
* “Advertisements constitute the only 'good news' in the newspaper.”
― Marshal McLuhan
* The famous quote that ‘a brand is made great not just by the people that buy it, but the people that know about it’ is true.”
* I found that—regardless of the medium—every bit of advertising I had ever worked on was essentially trying to do one of four things:
• Introduce a new product or service.
• Incite trial through limited-time offers, such as sales or events.
• Inspire loyalty by reminding consumers of a unique or differentiating benefit of a product or service.
• Identify with consumers by demonstrating shared values or attitudes.
* Communication is not what said but what's taken from it.
* Your definition of the problem is likely to be more important than your definition of the answer
* Three fundamental questions to any brief: 1. Brand share or market growth? 2. Current or new users? 3. Brand or product start point?
Thank you Dave Trott
Ads (and briefs and everything really) only need to be three things – true, distinctive, motivating.
Thank you Heather Alderson
As Churchill said, “Never let the truth spoil a good story.”
* Most people use one word to define all kinds of brands. But there are two really kinds of brands: People focus too much on Maximizing Brands and not enough on Satisficing Brands. What are Satisficing Brands? Most of the time we prioritize safety over perfection. We'll pay a premium not only for ‘better,’ but for ‘less likely to be terrible.’ When we buy Satisficing Brands, we buy safety and assurance. McDonalds is an iconic Satisficing Brand. We don’t go to McDonalds for the world's best meal. We go because McDonald's is always "pretty good." They don’t just sell food. They sell cleanliness, safety, and reliability. Even in the worst parts of town, McDonald's is safe.
* Identity formation is inextricably linked to the urge to consume
* The only cool PR is provided by one’s enemies. They toil incessantly and for free"
* "haters make our lovers love us more."
* "You can be relevant as hell and still be boring as fuck” - Martin Weigel
* Compromise is thought to typically be when ideas are taken out. But the most dangerous compromise happens when things are added in -Pritchard
* It might seem obvious, but if something isn’t perceived by our senses, it doesn’t enter our brain.
differentiation is fleeting
WHAT’S THE ACTUAL PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED– THAT CAN BE SOLVED BY ADVERTISING? Ok but what’s the actual problem? Is it a problem advertising can solve? If yes, how? —> That is the foundation of your brief
* For the mediocre there is no hope. Mediocrity is a sin.” –“The Tramp,” War of the Classes - Jack London
most people aren’t “in the market” for anything most of the time.
Why restrict yourself with facts when you can dramatize fiction
Brands don’t exist in real life, they’re in people’s heads.
Reminds me of "Thank you" and Jocko's, "Good."
There is no Soylent version of thought and reflection — creativity is unpredictable, and it simply takes time.
Correct negative perception Bring brand to their attention
We are makers of difference.
"In order to be profitable, capitalism needs a constant creation of new differences, and what collectors are looking for is the latest difference."
– Luc Boltanski
The hero of the story should be the thing you want your audience to support . The villain should be situational and systemic factors .
Only put details where you want people to pay attention
"The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.”
– Michael Porter
Say big things with small words
A brand’s positioning is not yours to own.
Smart clients dont give a shit about 30 slides of set up to an idea. they just care if the idea is good.
They think the job of the brief is to provide a cast-in-stone solution to the problem.
No, the job of the brief is to change, to reframe, the problem.
Creativity is about solving a problem in a new way.
So the job of the brief is not simply to define the existing problem.
We don’t need strategists for that, the client can do that.
effective advertising must find new ways to repeat itself.
Positioning is a competitor driven, not customer driven, approach.
would we rather be wasteful and effective or efficient and impotent?
Messages can be microtargeted, but meaning has to be mass-produced.
The greater the similarity between two products, the less reason/rationality has a place
We can be outrageous to a purpose. That, for me, is great advertising.
it’s our job to excite people, not to try to herd them.
The brief is the what we are doing. The creative is the how
What is the category and its unique implications? High vs. Low consideration Category entry / purchase points Frequent vs. Infrequent purchase
Where will business growth come from?
What is the problem to be solved? (The problem that Advertising can solve) Is this a brand or a product issue? Awareness, Salience, perception or Trial? Correct negative perception Bring brand to their attention
Brand equals product category Brand represents domain expertise Brand expresses an ideology or culture
Satisficing vs. Maximizing brand? Satisficing: goal = loss aversion Maximizing: goal = product/brand benefit
What memory structures already exist for the brand?
Exposure via Media spend or Talk Value?
Is the client looking for short term or long term results? What’s going to get your client promoted? Who does your client report to and what are their top priorities?
Who aren’t we selling to? (What gen Z group are we not selling to?)
What’s the REAL problem?
What’s our biggest flaw / shortcoming?
When do they experience the benefit from something else?
Where can we reach them that our competition can’t?
What questions are nobody asking?
What Assumptions are we making?
What decisions need to be made?
What concerns us about the assignment?
What would the shocking thing to do be?
Let’s Define our space:
1. Brand ←→ Product
2. Humor ←→ Serious
What out of category brands are doing what we want to do well?
Just one thing is enough. You only need to come back with one usable story to make all of your work worth it. No one will need to know all the things you tried that didn't pan out. So try lots of angles and use your intuition to tell you what might lead to something interesting.
Don't get stuck. If you feel like what you're doing at any moment isn't going to lead anywhere, get out of there and go explore something/someone else. Don't get stuck in a conversation or an activity.
Find the unexpected. In order to come back with unexpected insights, you have to take unexpected actions. Ask unusual questions, talk to unusual people, be vulnerable to help others be vulnerable, go places that most people wouldn't go. In short, don't stop when the ordinary presents itself. (Don't do anything dumb or dangerous, but have the courage to press on and go beyond the expected if you feel like there's a real insight lurking there).
Drive your story with words like “but” and “therefore” instead of “and then.”
“Enough of your bullshit, just get to the point”.
What new possibilities are there today, that didn’t exist a year ago? (principle of adjacent possibilities)
What hunches have you had for some time about what to do)? (principle of slow hunches – the more others share them or build on them, the better they may be)
* Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own - Bruce Lee
What do fresh eyes think we should do (principle of liquid networks)
What’s worked that’s surprised us? (principle of serendipity – build on what surprises, chance happenings)
What other purpose can our product or service be used for? (principle of exaptation – bird feather evolved for warmth, and then through ‘exaptation’ they became wings)
What big success can we build on? (platform principle)
Break seemingly intractable problems into tractable sub-problems: Chunking one big prediction problem into a series of sub-problems can improve prediction accuracy and flush out unknowns
many clients actually don’t want insight – although that’s exactly what they say they want. Insight is challenging because it forces you to change the way you think, the way you act, the way you feel, and the goals you seek. That’s both risky and hard work. So it’s far easier to stick with the status quo – and focus performance-enhancing efforts on reducing errors in what you do.
Not everything needs to be strategy heavy
It should be worthy of remark
Dont mistake claver for interesting
What’s the infomercial look like?
What is at the intersection of utility and novelty?
Start with “is there something only we offer?” if not– it is either salience or cultural value that is needed
Good Strat: Simple. Great Strat: Memorable
Write it ugly before anything else
Always start with the Ask
Take a step back. Is what we’re doing right?
What is the client expecting? What are the consequences of deviating from that?
TO what standards should you be conforming?
What business elements impact success? (distribution, pricing, etc)
Remember the media audience is not always the same as the creative inspiration audience. i.e. who we show is not the same audience as who we’re talking to.
People don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves
The longer the brief, the more things there are to focus on that aren’t the thing.
Good work cannot be made in a trust void
Nothing is ownable until you own it
Soo.. whats the strategy? In a sentence.
You can’t have a strategy if you haven’t talked to anyone.
By definition, we’re here to make noise.
What is the myth we want to create?
CLARITY. BREVITY. NOVELTY.
Be clear in the nonnegotiable.
Simplify, then exaggerate
How would they have solved this in the past?
Good strategy takes things off the table
Sometimes looking is more important than finding
Have a point of view before even thinking about opening keynote.
There is a pretty drastic difference in approach/strategy for emerging vs established brands
How could we blow up a moment?
You dont need to tell anyone what your purpose is. Purposeful brands have a strong POV. that makes them strong communicators. Purpose offer a point of focus.
Culture is passed hand to hand. You can’t be part of it and maintain control.
At the end of the day, it should tap into something deeply human, or make you famous.
like a flick to the brain.
It is of extreme importance to maintain a vision for the work.
The difference between sentences and words. Thats the difference between “the ask” and “the brief”
There are trends, but no rules
Is it purchased in the presence of others?
Diagnosis → Guiding Policy → Coherent Actions
What do they secretly wish for?
What emotion do we offer?
There are 5 dimensions of creativity in advertising:
5. Artistic Value
The problem is we can’t _________. But we could if we _________.
Whats the simplest explanation? Solution?
Listen to your gut. You already know more than you know.
_________ is part of being human
What are the existing memory structures?
Whether or not it is accurate is less important than whether or not it is right
Open emotionally. Close rationally.
Don’t be blinded by the now
We’re not in the business of ________ We’re in the business of _________.
We thought, but actually.
Whats the one thing that everything should do?
Whats the spectrum of ideas we want to present back?
Its not about different truths among different groups. Its about how the same truths manifest within different groups.
Do we want to play it safe? its ok if we do, but lets be clear.
Is our job to:
What are the category discussion moments?
Is “4” a lot? It depends. dollars? no. Murders? yes. (contextualize your data)
Which of the seven sins is most relevant here?
Free form write it before even thinking about bullets, let alone slides.
Find the intersection of irrefutable and reckless
* Mission Statement: A long awkward sentence that demonstrates management's inability to think clearly. - Scott Adams
* Nothing defines humans better than their willingness to do irrational things in the pursuit of phenomenally unlikely payoffs. This is the principle behind lotteries, dating, and religion. - Scott Adams
People are very open-minded about new things - as long as they're exactly like the old ones. - Charles F. Kettering, 1876 - 1958
* If you want to kill any idea in the world today, get a committee working on it. - Charles F. Kettering, 1876 - 1958
* The wisest are the most annoyed at the loss of time. - Dante Alighieri, 1265 - 1312
* Never speak of yourself to others; make them talk about themselves instead; therein lies the whole art of pleasing. Everybody knows it, and everyone forgets it. - Edmond de Goncourt, 1822 - 1896
Most people need love and acceptance a lot more than they need advice. - Bob Goff
* If I find a cow turd on my front steps, I'm not satisfied knowing that I'll be mentally prepared to find some future cow turd. I want to shovel that turd onto my garden and hope the cow returns every week so I never have to buy fertilizer again. Failure is a resource that can be managed. - Scott Adams
Don’t be the person who says yes with their mouth but no with their actions.” - Ryan Holiday
In the information game, the race doesn’t go to the swift, it goes to the selective. - Tim Ferriss
If the path before you is clear, you're probably on someone else's. - Joseph Campbell
The most courageous decision that you can make each day is to be in a good mood. - Voltaire
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final. - Rainer Maria Rilke
Things usually happen around us, not to us. - Unknown, found on Reddit
Thinking is easy, acting is difficult, and to put one’s thoughts into action is the most difficult thing in the world. - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Character is like a tree and reputation like a shadow. The shadow is what we think of it; the tree is the real thing. - Abraham Lincoln
It’s not always that we need to do more but rather that we need to focus on less. - Nathan W. Morris
Perfection is finally attained not when there is no longer anything to add, but when there is no longer anything to take away. - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead
Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play. - Heraclitus
If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. - Wayne Dyer
You might feel dumb asking questions, but you look dumber when you don't get it because you failed to ask.
- When we have alternatives, we compromise instead of commit. - Seth Godin
- In a world where information is abundant and easy to access, the real advantage is knowing where to focus. - James Clear
- The real problem of humanity is the following: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology. - E.O. Wilson
- There comes a point where we need to stop just pulling people out of the river. We need to go upstream and find out why they’re falling in. - Bishop Desmond Tutu
- Asking myself "is this helping me get what I want" is becoming one of my favorite questions. - Shane Parrish
There are four phases in our client engagements: Diagnose the problem/opportunity Reapply the therapy as necessary
A form of disciplined questioning that enables critical thinking. There are six types of questions you can ask to dig deeper for the fundamental truth: Clarification – "What do you mean by...?" Probing assumptions – "What could we assume instead?" Probing reasons/evidence – "Why do you think this is true?" Implications and consequences – "What effect would that have?" Different viewpoints – "What would be an alternative?" Questioning the original question – "What was the point of this question?"
What impact do you hope to have? (set a small and achievable goal) What does success look like? How will you know when you get there? What’s working for you? How can you amplify these forces? What’s working against you? How do you plan to address these challenges?
What questions do your team need to explore to move forward?
Who are the key players and collaborators you need to make this happen?
What is the early narrative you want to create around your intentions that you can share with others?
What are the next steps?
Write down the problem in the middle of a large sheet of paper.
Identify key themes or domains of interest about the problem. These don't have to be all themes -- just those that are of particular interest or concern.
Who cares about this?
What will happen if we do nothing about it?
Do we have the authority to work on this?
What do I know about this already?
Do we care about this?
Will we actually do something about this?
what is the real reason we’re doing this?
The map of reality is not reality. Even the best maps are imperfect. That’s because they are reductions of what they represent. If a map were to represent the territory with perfect fidelity, it would no longer be a reduction and thus would no longer be useful to us. A map can also be a snapshot of a point in time, representing something that no longer exists. This is important to keep in mind as we think through problems and make better decisions.
One of the most valuable military tactics is the habit of “personally seeing the front” before making decisions – not always relying on advisors, maps, and reports, all of which can be either faulty or biased. The Map/Territory model illustrates the problem with not seeing the front, as does the incentive model. Leaders of any organization can generally benefit from seeing the front, as not only does it provide firsthand information, but it also tends to improve the quality of secondhand information
The asymmetry model leads to an application in warfare whereby one side seemingly “plays by different rules” than the other side due to circumstance. Generally, this model is applied by an insurgency with limited resources. Unable to out-muscle their opponents, asymmetric fighters use other tactics, as with terrorism creating fear that’s disproportionate to their actual destructive ability.
4. Tendency to Feel Envy & Jealousy Humans have a tendency to feel envious of those receiving more than they are, and a desire “get what is theirs” in due course. The tendency towards envy is strong enough to drive otherwise irrational behavior, but is as old as humanity itself. Any system ignorant of envy effects will tend to self-immolate over time.
the Availability Bias or Heuristic: We tend to most easily recall what is salient, important, frequent, and recent.
Human beings are one of many social species, along with bees, ants, and chimps, among many more. We have a DNA-level instinct to seek safety in numbers and will look for social guidance of our behavior. This instinct creates a cohesive sense of cooperation and culture which would not otherwise be possible but also leads us to do foolish things if our group is doing them as well.
- “I wish I actually got in trouble, real trouble with my work ... such as getting arrested for it. then I would know I was doing something right.” James Victore
“Bike-shedding” comes from a story by C. Northcote Parkinson (he of Parkinson’s Law). He tells the tale of a committee that has to approve the plans for a nuclear power station. Since they know very little about nuclear power stations they talk about it briefly and then just approve the recommendation put in front of them. Next they have to approve the plans for a bike shed. They all know about bike sheds. They’ve all seen one and used one. So they talk about the bike shed for hours, arguing about construction methods and paint choice and everything. This is why bike-shedding is also known as The Law of Triviality: “ members of an organization give disproportionate weight to trivial issues”.
‘Simplify, Then Exaggerate’
What is the one thing that needs to be remembered?