The truth is, the transformed media landscape has made incremental cost efficiencies much less compelling to clients than the value of a huge idea and a highly creative communication strategy. To an enlightened client, the scale of your resources pales in significance to the power of your ideas.”
– Carl Johnson, CEO , Anomaly
Creative intensity means stepping back from the limitless matrix of touchpoint permutation and finding a brand’s high-value communication opportunities. Why do people work from the assumption that their core idea is incapable of holding a scalable audience? What does it say about the quality of ideas in the industry today?”
– Giles Hedger, CSO, Leo Burnett
The objective of this industry, once clearly stated as the creation of value through the building of brands through the power of ideas, has been reset. We are now, apparently, in the business of adjusting to and coping with the change that we are facing. It is a heroic agenda but, ultimately, parochial and low value. Our achievements are now measured against a yardstick of change management, whereas we used to be hailed as a cultural force – one that created the change that others would manage.”
Source: Giles Hedger, ‘The fallacy of our time‘, Campaign, 23 April 2015
Campaign recently published The A-list, its annual “Who’s who in advertising, media and creative.”
Amidst all the quips from adland’s VIPs, I did find two gems, both from former bosses of mine.
To Lawrence Green: What will be the biggest change in adland in five years?
I am betting on a return to upstream, idea-led and fairly remunerated agency engagement. Is that too much to ask?”
To Giles Hedger: Learnt anything new lately?
I have learnt that nobody really has the answers to any of the plaguing questions. It helps, but only in that slightly disappointing way, like when you’re playing Mornington Crescent and you finally cotton on to the vacuity of parlour games.”
They’ve got a point.
Strategy is much more than a plan. A plan supposes a sequence of events that allows one to move with confidence from one state of affairs to another. Strategy is required when others might frustrate one’s plans because they have different and possibly opposing interests and concerns… The inherent unpredictability of human affairs, due to the chance events as well as the efforts of opponents and the missteps of friends, provides strategy with its challenge and drama. Strategy is often expected to start with a description of a desired end state, but in practice there is rarely an orderly movement to goals set in advance. Instead, the process evolves through a series of states, each one not quite what was anticipated or hoped for, requiring a reappraisal and modification of the original strategy, including ultimate objectives. The picture of strategy… is one that is fluid and flexible, governed by the starting point and not the end point.”
Source: Lawrence Freedman, Strategy: A History
[Strategy] is about getting more out of a situation than the starting balance of power would suggest. It is the art of creating power.”
Source: Lawrence Freedman: Strategy: A History