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Why the hell do we need strategy?

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Why the hell do we need strategy?

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Strategy is one of the most abused and misused terms in marketing. When I was a younger, I struggled a lot with that. There are so much opinions out there and it seems like everyone tries contradicting each other on purpose. On the 2nd of October, I got the chance to speak to 50 students at Thomas More Hogeschool and to tell them what I think strategy is and why it is so goddamn necessary in communications, marketing and yes, let's just say the world.

Comments and feedback are definitely welcome.

Strategy is one of the most abused and misused terms in marketing. When I was a younger, I struggled a lot with that. There are so much opinions out there and it seems like everyone tries contradicting each other on purpose. On the 2nd of October, I got the chance to speak to 50 students at Thomas More Hogeschool and to tell them what I think strategy is and why it is so goddamn necessary in communications, marketing and yes, let's just say the world.

Comments and feedback are definitely welcome.

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Why the hell do we need strategy?

  1. 1. @elinegoethals Happiness Brussels & FCB Global WHY THE HELL DO WE NEED STRATEGY?
  2. 2. EEN OF ANDERE INTERESSANTE TALK (of misschien net niet) Hi there! - @elinegoethals - Strategic Director at Happiness Brussels and Strategist at the FCB Global Strategy Team - Founder & board member of YoungDogs vzw - Board member of Expertise Center Strategic Planning ACC Belgium (and unfortunately the only woman) - After hours, I teach entrepreneurship at Let’s Go Urban (Urban Dreamers) - I travel a lot for work - I have 2 dogs (not the one on the pic) Before? - 2013 – 2016: Strategic Planner at LDV United - 2010 – 2013: my own non-profit, City of Antwerp, my own video company,…
  3. 3. 1. But what the hell is strategy? 2. THE STRATEGIC PROCESS 3. How to write a good strategy 4. WHAT MAKES A GOOD STRATEGIST WHAT WE’LL BE TALKING ABOUT TODAY.
  4. 4. 1. BUT WHAT THE HELL IS STRATEGY?
  5. 5. THE BIGGEST BUZZWORD OF ALL TIME, YET LITTLE PEOPLE KNOW WHAT IT REALLY MEANS.
  6. 6. Objective: what you want to achieve Strategy: how you’re going to achieve it.
  7. 7. Strategy is a roadmap: a way to solve a certain problem to an advantage.
  8. 8. Rumelt says that good strategy consists of 3 things: (1) A diagnosis that defines or explains the nature of the challenge/difficulty (2) A guiding-policy for dealing with the challenge (3) A set of coherent-actions that are designed to carry out the guiding-policy
  9. 9. SO, CREATING a strategy means: 1. Knowing where you want to end (what your objective is), 2. Diagnosing the challenge(s) to get there, 3. Coming up with a way to over come these challenges (your solution), 4. And having a clear roadmap, a plan to bring your solution to live.
  10. 10. THE ART OF STRATEGY HAS BEEN EXISTING FOR EVER, WAR AS MOST THE discussed EXAMPLE.
  11. 11. "The Art of War" remains on of the world's most famous military texts, 2,500 years after it was published by Sun Tze ( Sūnzi) an adviser who probably lived during the Spring and Autumn Period (776-471 BCE).
  12. 12. "He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight." “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win” “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
  13. 13. ‘BLITZKRIEG’
  14. 14. But why do we need it in marketing?
  15. 15. BUSINESSES NEED STRATEGIES TOO. AND CLIENTS HAVE ALWAYS COME TO AGENCIES WITH A BUSINESS PROBLEM.
  16. 16. THE GODFATHERS OF Strategic planning
  17. 17. “I do not accept that there has to be a choice between advertising that is strategically relevant or creatively original” Boase Massimi Pollitt
  18. 18. ‘the voice of the consumer’
  19. 19. 1968 – Stephen King: “The main responsibilities of the account planners are to: (1) set objectives for creative work, media scheduling and buying, merchandising and to help develop the objectives into action, (2) plan, commission and evaluate advertising research, (3) plan advertising experiments, (4) evaluate advertising and experiments and (5) present work to account groups and clients.”
  20. 20. IN WORDS MY MOM UNDERSTANDS: When developing a campaign, the strategists defines the - why (objective) - what (message) - who (audience) - when (timing) The creatives then come up with a brilliant ’how’.
  21. 21. IN AN IDEAL WORLD
  22. 22. OUR JOB ISN’T ONLY ABOUT CAMPAIGNS ANYMORE. IT IS ABOUT SOLVING ALL KINDS OF PROBLEMS.
  23. 23. 2. THE STRATEGIC PROCESS
  24. 24. 1. IDENTIFY THE CHALLENGE 2. IDENTIFY THE solution KNOW YOUR OBJECTIVE END WITH A DETAILED PLAN
  25. 25. THE STRATEGIC PROCESS 1. Define your objective 2. Read around the subject 3. Define the barriers that are in your way 4. Identify your strengths: the things in your favour 5. Re-define your problem precisely 6. List the potential solutions (never go for your first and only idea) 7. Write an honest list of their pros and cons 8. Choose the most promising 9. Test/research it 10.Summarise your strategy and how it should work
  26. 26. 1. DEFINE THE OBJECTIVE What do we want to achieve? How will we know if we are successful? What do you need to do in real terms?
  27. 27. BUSINESS OBJECTIVE BUSINESS STRATEGY MARKETING OBJECTIVE MARKETING STRATEGY COMMS OBJECTIVE COMMS STRATEGY
  28. 28. BUSINESS OBJECTIVE Grow revenue by 2.5 billion pounds BUSINESS STRATEGY Focus on core business of supermarket
  29. 29. BUSINESS OBJECTIVE Grow revenue by 2.5 billion pounds BUSINESS STRATEGY Focus on core business of supermarket Marketing objective Increase ticket value of existing clients MARKETING STRATEGY Increase every transaction with £1,14
  30. 30. BUSINESS OBJECTIVE Grow revenue by 2.5 billion pounds BUSINESS STRATEGY Focus on core business of supermarket Marketing objective Increase ticket value of existing clients MARKETING STRATEGY Increase every transaction with £1,14 COMMS OBJECTIVE Stimulate clients to add extra elements to their basket COMMS STRATEGY ‘try something new everyday’
  31. 31. Generate profit for staff bonusses Increasing share of department store market Increasing sales during Christmas period Get more customers, spending more Increasing store traffic Increasing propensity to shop at JL for Christmas gifts Increase brand salience and deepen emotional connection Creating Britain’s most watched, loved and talked about Christmas advertising BUSINESS OBJECTIVE & STRATEGY MARKETING OBJECTIVE & STRATEGY COMMUNICATIONS OBJECTIVE & STRATEGY BY BY BY BY BY
  32. 32. 2. DEFINE THE CHALLENGE Strategy doesn’t make sense if you don’t know the context in which you operate. You need to define the business context and the problems / challenges the business is currently experiencing before you can find ways to achieve the objective
  33. 33. WHY AREN’T WE CURRENTLY REACHING our amazing OBJECTIVE?
  34. 34. Possible problems: ü lack of knowledge / familiarity with the brand, ü value perceptions ü user or brand imagery ü lack of relevant role / positioning for the brand ü inferior product ü seasonality ü clutter ü relative competitor strength ü human failing / shortcoming ü market categorization ü …..
  35. 35. WHICH ONES CAN COMMUNICATIONS / MARKETING SOLVE?
  36. 36. WHICH things are in your favor? Which aren’t?
  37. 37. CAN YOU PHRASE YOUR PROBLEM EASY AND CONSIVE?
  38. 38. FORMULATE A HUMAN PROBLEM, NOT A BUSINESS ONE.
  39. 39. AS STRATEGISTS, WE CAN SOLVE WICKED PROBLEMS.
  40. 40. ‘Young girls feel like they need an extensive and complicated beauty routine to be ‘part of the cool gang’. ‘People remain client of a way too expensive telecom operator because they are inert to make a change (lazy!).’ ‘People don’t trust a multi-purpose cream (body and face) and don’t believe it is good enough.’ ‘Drinkers of non-alcoholic beer are still seen as nerds and people who settle for less taste.’
  41. 41. 3. DEFINE THE SOLUTION There is never just one solution. All strategies are well estimated guesses, very probable solutions but one never knows for sure. It is our job to make sure our solution is the most probable one.
  42. 42. READ AROUND YOUR SUBJECT RESEARCH your context Start with the brand and product. Then go to the 3 c’s of context: Culture Consumer competitor
  43. 43. Most of the time, the best solutions are based on an insight. A revelation that tells you something about people, about brands, about the way products are used that can be used in your solution. Insights function as leverage.
  44. 44. “Nothing is so powerful as an insight into human nature, what compulsions drive a man, what instincts dominate his action, even though his language so often camouflages what really motivates him. For if you know these things about a man you can touch him at the core of his being.” - Bill Bernbach, DDB
  45. 45. AN INSIGHT IS: NOT A FACT People tend to feed their pets twice a day. NOT AN OBSERVATION They tend to feed them at breakfast and dinner time. THIS IS THE INSIGHT People feel guilty eating in front of their pets.
  46. 46. Observations and statistics record what people do or say. insights tell you why.
  47. 47. A GOOD STRATEGIST IS A GOOD DETECTIVE. It’s not ‘insights-mining’ called for nothing.
  48. 48. WHICH INSIGHTS ARE GREAT LEVERAGES FOR YOUR SOLUTION?
  49. 49. #1 IT’S HUMAN. A GOOD INSIGHT IS BASED ON HUMANS. HUMAN BEHAVIOR. THIS COULD BE BEHAVIOR AS SUCH, LINKED TO THE PRODUCT, LINKED TO THE BRAND, LINKED TO THE CATEGORY BUT ITS ALWAYS HUMAN.
  50. 50. #2 IT’s THOUGHT-PROVOKING I BELIEVE GREAT INSIGHTS PROVOKE SOMETHING. IF YOU TELL THEM AT YOUR MOM, SHE WOULDN’T SAY ‘OK’. SHE WOULD START TALKING, DEBATING, AND SO ON.
  51. 51. #3 IT UNCOVERS A CLEAR TENSION / FRICTION GREAT INSIGHTS UNCOVER SOMETHING THAT WAS COVERED UNTIL THEM. SOMETHING PEOPLE DO UNCONSIOUS, DIDN’T SEE OR KNOW BEFORE,… IT SHOULD HIT A NERVE.
  52. 52. #4 IT ANSWER A WHY QUESTION, NOT A WHAT QUESTION A true insight answers a ’why’ question and is not simply a statement, observation or a description of a certain happening.
  53. 53. #5 IT TAPS INTO AN UNMET NEED Spotting an insight as a brand that no other brand has done, gives you a competitive edge. It is about a consumer need that no one has realiZed yet, that no one saw before.
  54. 54. #6 and, it is universal THE BEST INSIGHTS TAP INTO A LARGER AUDIENCE, IDEALLY EVEN ALL HUMANS ON THIS PLANET. THE BIGGER THE AUDIENCE THAT YOUR INSIGHT TAPS INTO, THE MORE IT WILL SPEAK TO PEOPLE. INSIGHTS THAT ARE ABOUT A NICHE, CAN ONLY BE USED FOR THAT NICHE.
  55. 55. Insights can come from everywhere.
  56. 56. AND ANYONE 11 Creatives Account “paper pusher” The front desk Significant other Overheard on the street Mom
  57. 57. CREATE OBSERVATIONS WHEN NEEDED 22 To understand the personalities of different luxury car owners, one agency simply photographed and analyzed their personal license plates. Insights don’t have to be expensive or come with 8-week timelines To understand the meaning of beauty today, one agency simply asked women to tell them. Source:Paragraph Project
  58. 58. INSIGHTS ARE OFTEN THE FOUNDATION OF YOUR SOLUTION.
  59. 59. Objective: increase sales of Beats by Dr. Dre Challenge: The brand couldn’t fight it out on technical specs/product innovation because competitors already more cred’ (Sennheiser/Sony/Bose ) and anyway Beats had historically been dissed as a posers brand. Not for people who really love music. Solution: Our new headphones cut out noise so you can hear the music not the background - so - that means you will not be distracted by the world around you. So - that means you will be calm and focused. So - that means you will have the focus that is needed to perform at your very best.
  60. 60. STUCK? HERE’S A TECHNIQUE
  61. 61. STUCK? HERE’S A TECHNIQUE à Done by Nintendo, right before the invention of the Wii.
  62. 62. Extra checks for your solution: • How credible is the solution? • Does it help differentiating the brand? • Will it motivate? • What will the staff think? • Is it an inspirational creative springboard?
  63. 63. Then, when you have your promising solution; test & research it! 1. Get a colleague to play devil’s advocate 2. Go back to your original research & try to disprove it 3. Socialize your thoughts with experts (and refine)
  64. 64. On to the creatives! Creatives looooove solving problems. 1. What’s the problem we are trying to solve? 2. What’s an insight that can help solving that problem? 3. What can we say, inspired by that insight, to help us solve the problem?
  65. 65. 3. hOW TO WRITE A GOOD STRATEGY
  66. 66. There’s quite a lot of shitty strategy out there. Get ready to hear the word where ever you go and in whatever you read. Knowing what is good strategy and what isn’t will make you useful (and a bit of a smartass but deal with it).
  67. 67. Generally speaking, there are 4 common fails in writing or recognizing a good strategy. 1. Failure to Face the Problem: A strategy is an approach to overcoming obstacles. If you fail to identify and analyze the obstacles, you don’t have a strategy.
  68. 68. Generally speaking, there are 4 common fails in writing or recognizing a good strategy. 2. Mistaking goals for strategy: Setting goals without a supporting strategy can mislead the organization (vs “just one last push, guys”) .
  69. 69. Generally speaking, there are 4 common fails in writing or recognizing a good strategy. 3. Bad strategic objectives: A long list of goals and projects cobbled together at a planning session, or a set of ideas that no one has a clue about what to do or how to get there, are signs of bad strategic objectives.
  70. 70. Generally speaking, there are 4 common fails in writing or recognizing a good strategy. 4. Fluff: A restatement of the obvious, combined with generous sprinkling of buzzwords that masquerade as expertise designed to mask the absence of thought. An example of “fluff” from a retail bank states: “Our fundamental strategy is one of customer-centric intermediation.”
  71. 71. 4. WHAT MAKES A GOOD STRATEGIST
  72. 72. I have totally no authority or expertise to say even the least about this. But still, here are some things I think great strategists have in common.
  73. 73. 1. First and foremost, empathy. They can place themselves in the shoes of another. They feel what worries people, makes people happy and what makes people care. It is like an instinct for them, they are students of humans.
  74. 74. 2. They question everything. They might be annoying but they sure will come up with right insight by doing so.
  75. 75. 3. They are curious. They want to learn. They get bored after seeing the same things over and over. In their free time, they’re constantly taking courses, reading, learning.
  76. 76. 4. They know the client’s business(es) by heart. They love the product, they know competition, they notice campaigns or interesting trends.
  77. 77. 5. They are in touch with culture, they know what is happening and bring this to the table in a relevant (for clients) manner.
  78. 78. 6. They can tell stories instead of summing up facts.
  79. 79. 7. They succeed in making complicated things sound simple. They are useful, not smart. They often say smart stuff that is so right other people might think it is common sense.
  80. 80. 8. They excel in second and third order thinking – that’s where the real value comes along.
  81. 81. That’s it! Questions? Want a chat? Looking for an internship? You can always contact me: Eline Goethals eline@happiness-brussels.com +32496482740 @elinegoethals on Twitter

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