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Notes
1
Strategy and tactics without diagnosis is just panic.
2
A single data point is almost always useless. Insight comes from one point in comparison to another.
3
“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
4
Not all problems are the problem
5
[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.
6
‘Simplify, Then Exaggerate’
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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.
8
“What conventions Must you break?What conventions could you break
What conventions should you NOT break?”
9
* Define the actual thing we’re doing before naming the idea etc.
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* Extreme principles can lead to extreme clarity.
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* Anything incredible is going to be offensive to somebody
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* 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.
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* You want to deliver to the world what you would buy if you were on the other end. - Shane Parrish, Farnham Street
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* 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."
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* “Most geniuses—especially those who lead others—prosper not by deconstructing intricate complexities but by exploiting unrecognized simplicities.” — Andy Benoit
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* “Advertisements constitute the only 'good news' in the newspaper.” ― Marshal McLuhan
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* 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.”
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* 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.
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* Communication is not what said but what's taken from it.
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* Your definition of the problem is likely to be more important than your definition of the answer
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* 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
22
Ads (and briefs and everything really) only need to be three things – true, distinctive, motivating.
Thank you Heather Alderson
23
As Churchill said, “Never let the truth spoil a good story.”
24
* Most people use one word to define all kinds of brands. But there are two really kinds of brands:
Satisficing Brands
Maximizing 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.
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* Identity formation is inextricably linked to the urge to consume
26
* The only cool PR is provided by one’s enemies. They toil incessantly and for free"
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* "haters make our lovers love us more."
28
* "You can be relevant as hell and still be boring as fuck” - Martin Weigel
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* Compromise is thought to typically be when ideas are taken out. But the most dangerous compromise happens when things are added in -Pritchard
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* It might seem obvious, but if something isn’t perceived by our senses, it doesn’t enter our brain.
31
differentiation is fleeting
32
WHAT’S THE ACTUAL PROBLEM TO BE SOLVED– THAT CAN BE SOLVED BY ADVERTISING?
What’s being asked?
Ok but what’s the actual problem?
Is it a problem advertising can solve?
If yes, how? —> That is the foundation of your brief
33
* For the mediocre there is no hope. Mediocrity is a sin.” –“The Tramp,” War of the Classes - Jack London
34
most people aren’t “in the market” for anything most of the time.
35
Why restrict yourself with facts when you can dramatize fiction
36
Brands don’t exist in real life, they’re in people’s heads.
Reminds me of "Thank you" and Jocko's, "Good."
37
There is no Soylent version of thought and reflection — creativity is unpredictable, and it simply takes time.
38
Do we need to…
Increase sales volume
Maintain sales volume
Generate sales leads
Recruit new users?
Consolidate loyal users
Enhance brand reputation
Correct negative perception
Remind of brand benefits
Bring brand to their attention
Dramatize the benefit
Side by side comparison
Expert recommendation
39
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
40
The hero of the story should be the thing you want your audience to support . The villain should be situational and systemic factors .
41
Only put details where you want people to pay attention
42
"The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do.” – Michael Porter
43
Say big things with small words
44
A brand’s positioning is not yours to own.
45
Smart clients dont give a shit about 30 slides of set up to an idea. they just care if the idea is good.
46
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.
47
effective advertising must find new ways to repeat itself.
48
Positioning is a competitor driven, not customer driven, approach.
49
would we rather be wasteful and effective or efficient and impotent?
50
Messages can be microtargeted, but meaning has to be mass-produced.
51
The greater the similarity between two products, the less reason/rationality has a place
52
We can be outrageous to a purpose. That, for me, is great advertising.
53
it’s our job to excite people, not to try to herd them.
54
The brief is the what we are doing. The creative is the how
55
What is the category and its unique implications?
High vs. Low consideration
Category entry / purchase points
Frequent vs. Infrequent purchase
Category barriers
56
Where will business growth come from?
New Buyers
From competitors
New category entrants
More per buyer
Per purchase
Higher retention
Increase usage
SELL MORE (penetration)
SELL TO MORE (category)
SELL FOR MORE (equity)
57
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?
Do we need to…
Correct negative perception
Remind of brand benefits
Bring brand to their attention
58
ID the brand concept
Brand equals product
Brand equals benefit
Brand equals product category
Brand represents domain expertise
Brand is origin
Brand represents style
Brand equals personality
Brand expresses an ideology or culture
Brand is low price
Brand is a luxury
59
Satisficing vs. Maximizing brand?
Satisficing: goal = loss aversion
Maximizing: goal = product/brand benefit
60
What memory structures already exist for the brand?
61
Exposure via Media spend or Talk Value?
62
Client Knowledge
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?
63
Who aren’t we selling to? (What gen Z group are we not selling to?)
64
What’s the REAL problem?
65
What’s our biggest flaw / shortcoming?
66
When do they experience the benefit from something else?
67
Where can we reach them that our competition can’t?
68
What questions are nobody asking?
69
What Assumptions are we making?
70
What decisions need to be made?
71
What concerns us about the assignment?
72
What would the shocking thing to do be?
73
Let’s Define our space: 1. Brand ←→ Product 2. Humor ←→ Serious
74
What out of category brands are doing what we want to do well?
75
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.
76
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.
77
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).
78
Drive your story with words like “but” and “therefore” instead of “and then.”
79
“Enough of your bullshit, just get to the point”.
80
What new possibilities are there today, that didn’t exist a year ago? (principle of adjacent possibilities)
81
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)
82
* Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own - Bruce Lee
83
What do fresh eyes think we should do (principle of liquid networks)
84
What’s worked that’s surprised us? (principle of serendipity – build on what surprises, chance happenings)
85
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)
86
What big success can we build on? (platform principle)
87
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
88
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.
89
Not everything needs to be strategy heavy
90
It should be worthy of remark
91
Dont mistake claver for interesting
92
Beware the Pander Zone
93
What’s the infomercial look like?
94
What is at the intersection of utility and novelty?
95
Start with “is there something only we offer?” if not– it is either salience or cultural value that is needed
96
Good Strat: Simple. Great Strat: Memorable
97
Cut back until it hurts
98
Write it ugly before anything else
99
Always start with the Ask
100
MAKE IT ONE THING
101
No “ands”
102
Take a step back. Is what we’re doing right?
103
What is the client expecting? What are the consequences of deviating from that?
104
TO what standards should you be conforming?
105
What business elements impact success? (distribution, pricing, etc)
106
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.
107
People don’t buy products, they buy better versions of themselves
108
The longer the brief, the more things there are to focus on that aren’t the thing.
109
Good work cannot be made in a trust void
110
Nothing is ownable until you own it
111
Soo.. whats the strategy? In a sentence.
112
You can’t have a strategy if you haven’t talked to anyone.
113
By definition, we’re here to make noise.
114
What is the myth we want to create?
115
CLARITY. BREVITY. NOVELTY.
116
Be clear in the nonnegotiable.
117
Simplify, then exaggerate
118
Slay a sacred cow.
119
How would they have solved this in the past?
120
Good strategy takes things off the table
121
Sometimes looking is more important than finding
122
Whats the “ONE THING”
123
Have a point of view before even thinking about opening keynote.
124
There is a pretty drastic difference in approach/strategy for emerging vs established brands
125
How could we blow up a moment?
126
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.
127
Culture is passed hand to hand. You can’t be part of it and maintain control.
128
At the end of the day, it should tap into something deeply human, or make you famous.
129
like a flick to the brain.
130
It is of extreme importance to maintain a vision for the work.
131
The difference between sentences and words. Thats the difference between “the ask” and “the brief”
132
There are trends, but no rules
133
Is it purchased in the presence of others?
134
Diagnosis → Guiding Policy → Coherent Actions
135
What do they secretly wish for?
136
What emotion do we offer?
137
There are 5 dimensions of creativity in advertising: 1. Originality 2. Flexibility 3. Elaboration 4. Synthesis 5. Artistic Value
138
Whats the log line?
139
The problem is we can’t _________. But we could if we _________.
140
Whats the simplest explanation? Solution?
141
Listen to your gut. You already know more than you know.
142
_________ is part of being human
143
What are the existing memory structures?
144
Whether or not it is accurate is less important than whether or not it is right
145
Kill the reveal.
146
Open emotionally. Close rationally.
147
Optimistic problems
148
Don’t be blinded by the now
149
We’re not in the business of ________ We’re in the business of _________.
150
We thought, but actually.
151
Whats the one thing that everything should do?
152
Whats the spectrum of ideas we want to present back?
153
Its not about different truths among different groups. Its about how the same truths manifest within different groups.
154
Do we want to play it safe? its ok if we do, but lets be clear.
155
Is our job to: be seen? to convince? to entertain?
156
What are the category discussion moments?
157
Is “4” a lot? It depends. dollars? no. Murders? yes. (contextualize your data)
158
Which of the seven sins is most relevant here?
159
Free form write it before even thinking about bullets, let alone slides.
160
Find the intersection of irrefutable and reckless
161
* Mission Statement: A long awkward sentence that demonstrates management's inability to think clearly. - Scott Adams
162
* 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
163
People are very open-minded about new things - as long as they're exactly like the old ones. - Charles F. Kettering, 1876 - 1958
164
* If you want to kill any idea in the world today, get a committee working on it. - Charles F. Kettering, 1876 - 1958
165
* The wisest are the most annoyed at the loss of time. - Dante Alighieri, 1265 - 1312
166
* 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
167
Most people need love and acceptance a lot more than they need advice. - Bob Goff
168
* 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
169
Don’t be the person who says yes with their mouth but no with their actions.” - Ryan Holiday
170
In the information game, the race doesn’t go to the swift, it goes to the selective. - Tim Ferriss
171
If the path before you is clear, you're probably on someone else's. - Joseph Campbell
172
The most courageous decision that you can make each day is to be in a good mood. - Voltaire
173
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final. - Rainer Maria Rilke
174
Things usually happen around us, not to us. - Unknown, found on Reddit
175
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
176
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
177
It’s not always that we need to do more but rather that we need to focus on less. - Nathan W. Morris
178
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
179
I was wise enough to never grow up while fooling most people into believing I had. - Margaret Mead
180
Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play. - Heraclitus
181
If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change. - Wayne Dyer
182
You might feel dumb asking questions, but you look dumber when you don't get it because you failed to ask.
183
- When we have alternatives, we compromise instead of commit. - Seth Godin
184
- In a world where information is abundant and easy to access, the real advantage is knowing where to focus. - James Clear
185
- The real problem of humanity is the following: we have paleolithic emotions; medieval institutions; and god-like technology. - E.O. Wilson
186
- 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
187
- Asking myself "is this helping me get what I want" is becoming one of my favorite questions. - Shane Parrish
188
There are four phases in our client engagements:
Diagnose the problem/opportunity
Prescribe a therapy
Apply the therapy
Reapply the therapy as necessary

189

Socratic questioning

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?"
190
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?
191
What questions do your team need to explore to move forward?
192
Who are the key players and collaborators you need to make this happen?
193
What is the early narrative you want to create around your intentions that you can share with others?
194
What are the next steps?
195
Write down the problem in the middle of a large sheet of paper.
196
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.
197
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?
198
what is the real reason we’re doing this?
199
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.
200
1. Seeing the Front
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
201
2. Asymmetric Warfare
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.
202
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.
203
the Availability Bias or Heuristic: We tend to most easily recall what is salient, important, frequent, and recent.
204
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.
205
- “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
206
“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”.

207
‘Simplify, Then Exaggerate’
208
What is the one thing that needs to be remembered?
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