About Uri Baruchin

Uri is an international strategist based in London, specialising in brand, creative strategy, proposition development, CX and content. He runs a boutique agency, teaches the D&AD's masterclass in strategy, and is the strategy mentor for SCA. He writes about marketing, culture and technology.

Don’t settle for client-brief capture. Get-To-By should be more.

I recently had an enlightening conversation with the director team at one of my favourite creative agencies, and the Get-To-By (GTB) framework resurfaced yet again.

To clarify, there’s nothing inherently wrong with using the GTB framework to summarize a client’s brief concisely. Summaries are valuable, especially when they help capture the task at hand and perhaps contain a problem statement. You can also use them to show the client you understand their objectives.

However, issues arise when the process ends there, leaving creative teams with inadequate strategic guidance as they move into ideation and development. In short, neglecting to provide a solid creative strategy does them a disservice.

(It’s worth noting that GTB is not the only way to capture strategy. I personally prefer more straightforward, creative, and narrative-based frameworks.)

So, let’s revisit the advice from the original post:

The Get-To-By (GTB) framework, popularized by BBDO Worldwide and others, is widely employed in advertising. However, when misused, it can lead to weak strategies and misguided creative teams. An effective GTB should succinctly capture the audience, creative task, and strategy while avoiding non-strategies marked by empty loops and bare assertions.

To enhance GTB’s strategic efficacy, consider the following:

1. GET: Define a clear audience, connected to proper segmentation.
2. WHO: Meaningfully describe the audience, addressing their problems or perceptions.
3. TO: Identify the desired behavioural change that supports your end goal.
4. BY: Remember that ‘By’ is the heart of the creative strategy. Answer the ‘how’ and avoid closed loops or bare assertions.
5. Optionally, add a ‘Because’ to provide reasons to believe and ground the proposition.

By remaining mindful and strategic, we stir creative teams towards the most promising opportunity space(s), increasing the likelihood of positive outcomes.

Let’s devote more attention to crafting strategic GTBs and steer our industry clear of non-strategies.


Beyond the Hype: A Friendly and Sceptic User’s Guide to ChatGPT (v1.5)


Intro, or “Why like this!?” 

This guide is a labour of love for humans, not technology. It was born from my frustration with current writing about ChatGPT in general, and practical advice on LinkedIn in particular. And honestly — from a feeling of urgency, as I fear the bad advice will take hold and create bad business outputs, damaging careers and adoption rates for AI.  

Currently, the debate about ChatGPT’s usefulness (and the usefulness of language model chatbots in general) is dominated by the question “Is it a search killer?”. I believe this question comes from a spin that Big Tech propagates because it’s good for the share price. You can find my full view on that here.  But when this spin spreads into the practical discussion, framing our perceptions of how this tool may change our industry (by which I mean marketing, strategy, brand, media, creative, design, advertising, content, digital), the result is a blurry vision of what ChatGPT can do.  

This ‘blurry vision’ framing usually results in three kinds of ‘advice’:

  1. Don’t believe the hype
    “Look at the mistakes it makes, LOL; it’s not even as good as Google; there’s no serious use-case here. It’s a toy.” 
  2. This changes everything (superficially)
    “ChatGPT can do everything. Not only has research changed forever, and we no longer need to use search engines, but look at this brilliant [insert dull and superficial result] to [a crucial, nuanced and deep business/marketing/creative task].” 
  3. Moar content! Zero effort! 

“Here’s a listicle about how to use ChatGPT to create the most boring spammy articles and posts the world has ever seen.”

None of these are helpful,  or give meaningful guidance about how to use these new tools in our daily working life. Rather, they lead you down a garden path, at the end of which there’s a fork in the road and a signpost that reads, “this way to arid desert” or “this way to cloud-cuckoo-land”. 

Read the full guide here.

How marketing broke brand archetypes 

a man visiting the museum of candy floss and tasting one.

The problem with Brand archetypes. Let’s go! 💥
[a 2.5 minute read]

Archetypes have become toxic because the industry tries to force them to do things they can’t do.

Let me break it down:

1. Use archetypes as a starting point or exploration tool, but never as an answer or model. People will obsess over them in meeting rooms for hours, but they are a blunter instrument than that would suggest, and their creep into broader brand strategy tasks is where most of the damage happens.

2. Even used carefully, archetypes introduce dichotomies and are contaminated with oddly specific, often dated, biases. They lack nuance, reducing complex ideas and bundling them into “buckets”.

3. They offer weak analysis and, at the same time, discourage ground-breaking synthesis.

4. They create an illusion that competition falls into neat categories. Conveniently — in opposition to your choice. But competition is more nuanced than that.

5. Similar dynamics happen in other use cases. Yet, they are used to inform positioning, portfolio, brand architecture, and even plot consumer needs and segmentation.

6. Archetypes trap you in a literal meaning matrix. Each quadrant suggests a clear territory but is a multidimensional spectrum rather than a “box”. Consequently, it includes elements of other quadrants, yet the format encourages you to ignore this.

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How do you fight fluff when it is presented as strategy?

paper airplane making its way through clouds

We’ve all been there. You’re on the front lines of creative or strategy, and suddenly you’re handed a piece of fluff that’s supposed to be the defining element of the brand.
A purpose statement, vision, mission, or other so-called “brand narrative” elements.

“Hey, we know this isn’t real strategy,” they say. “But the client sees it as gospel, and everyone’s already bought into it. It’s signed off. We can’t challenge it, but we don’t know what the hell it means or how to work with it.”

The first few times this happened (okay, the first few years), I struggled to hide my expression of “what the f*ck is this?”.
But I learned fast that it’s not that simple.

So, here’s what you do.
Recognize that people probably like the sentiment, even though the strategy itself got lost. Adopt a curious mindset and help them uncover the real strategy, then rearticulate it (for internal work use, at least) in a way that doesn’t obscure it.

The main quirk of brand strategy is that it’s not enough for it to be correct – it has to inspire people to follow it. Consequently, The confusion between a strategy and its articulation is the most common shortcut to bad brand strategies.

People always say, “great briefs should both direct and inspire,” but often, on the path to a brand strategy that inspires, the fluff builds up until any direction is lost.

So, here’s what I’d say to my stakeholders: “Sometimes, as insights and strategy get distilled, it becomes hard to identify the original meaning. Can you help us understand the original intention here? We’ll worry about the articulation later.”

Get/to/bye-bye strategy: how to fix advertising’s favourite framework


smiling man with a tie, holding a hammer in his right hand and making a thumbs up gesture with his other hand. the thumb is bandaged.

This is the story of how a simple and ubiquitous framework threatens to break advertising.

There are many tools and frameworks across strategy, marketing, and advertising.

Have you ever noticed which ones tend to be the most popular?

Is it the smartest ones? The clearest ones? The most effective? The most validated by research?

Of course not!

The most popular ones are those which are easiest to explain and learn, and most importantly — easiest to sell. Internally to teams, and externally to clients.

Unfortunately, even simple frameworks are often not as simple as people think.

When misused – which I see happening more and more often — GTB cultivates bad work, promotes non-strategies, mismanages creative teams, and sets them and their clients up for failure. 

What’s the framework, and where does it come from?

 If you’re reading this post, you’re probably already familiar with the formula, which can usually be found lurking somewhere in creative brief documents. Some even use it instead of a brief, but more often it sits in the section summarising the creative strategy.

 There are various nuanced takes on it, but here’s the rough outline:

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