Strategy models are not orphans

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Illustration by: @momok (I don’t have to credit, but I want to)

While developing work for both recent client projects as well as my D&AD masterclass, I realised one of the cardinal sins of the way many agencies and consultancies present strategy.

Most times, when an agency puts a model or a framework in front of a client, it as if it came from nowhere. It is almost never credited to the original inventors. Even agencies that would never share a creative work without crediting its origin (although orphan case studies and best practices are also common), often wouldn’t dignify strategy the same way. Continue reading

The Apocalypse is bad for business

coming soon, by Digital Trash on Flickr

Coming Soon, by Digital Trash on Flickr

(The following post was originally published on Marketing Magazine’s Marketing Blogged blog. It has also been posted on Linguabrand’s Science and Learning section, among a highly flattering group. This is a delayed cross-posting.)

Expanding the definition and remit of sustainable marketing
When initially introduced to c-suites and boards, the allure of sustainability was that it made a certain brutal business common sense. Performance driven business leaders don’t have to love trees to understand that ignoring environmental impact will eventually kill their business: Materials and fuels will get more expensive, regulations will bear down on them and other forms of public scrutiny will become increasingly unforgiving.

Over the years, the remit of business sustainability has expanded from environmental responsibility to include other economic, social and almost any other aspect of responsible long-term resource management and social stewardship.

However, sustainable marketing has so far remained focused on the environmental aspect. It largely stands for paper sources, non-toxic inks, recycling, etc.

This is an oversight as it’s clear a large part of marketing’s impact on our society is not physical. I would like to challenge this narrow view of sustainable marketing by suggesting that just like businesses increasingly look beyond the environmental impact of resource management, marketing should do the same.

The two new elements I would like to introduce into the definition of sustainable marketing are the cognitive and the cultural aspects. Continue reading

NO!SPEC: Spec/Pitch work and strategy

Hear hear! Way to go NO!SPEC campaign people!

NO!SPEC is a campaign against speculative work, which is the practice of companies asking creative professionals, mostly designers, to produce work without getting paid and “pitch” for it, competition style, for a chance to get the project (or, sometimes, just to get paid if their work is used).

Traditionally, Ad agencies happily participate in the “pitch” practice, because their business structure allows them to subsidise concept creation and then make their big money off the full campaigns that they win and/or media commissions.
For designers, whether independent or small-mid-size agencies, this is just not sustainable.

I totally agree with the campaign’s claim: Spec work devalues the potential of design and ultimately does a disservice to the client.

From a strategic angle, an example that comes to mind is FMCG package design, an area of design where this practice is extremely common in the UK.

Continue reading