by Chaz Thorne
In April of this year, PepsiCo released a controversial commercial starring Kendall Jenner that was roundly criticized for not so subtly suggesting their product could be a potential solution for centuries of racial disharmony and systemic oppression of minorities in the United States.
In case you missed it, or just have to see it again, click here.
To become part of the conversation around this issue, PepsiCo was using a conventional technique called "movement marketing." Though others prefer the much less flattering and potentially more honest term "movement washing."
And become part of the conversation they did, though probably not in the way executives intended.
PepsiCo made a similar racially charged misstep with this Mountain Dew ad in 2013.
Pepsi issued the following apology for the 2017 incident:
"Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace and understanding. Clearly, we missed the mark and apologize."
Contrast this with Patagonia's reaction to President Trump's announcement of the planned downsizing of several federal monuments on December 4th.
The all-black home page of the outdoor gear and apparel maker's website stated, "The President Stole Your Land. In an illegal move, the president just reduced the size of Bear Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monuments. This is the largest elimination of protected land in American history."
In addition, Patagonia’s billionaire founder, Yves Chouinard, plans to take the White House to court, saying to CNN on Tuesday morning, “I’m going to sue him. It seems the only thing this administration understands is lawsuits.”
As for Pepsi, the implied and imagined reasons for their misstep abound. Many in advertising linked their failure to the fact that the campaign was devised and executed internally without the help of an outside agency. As if the advertising industry has not been subjecting us to similarly societally tone-deaf assaults for decades.
Patagonia’s purpose, as expressed in their mission statement, reads:
“Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
PepsiCo’s mission statement reads:
“As one of the largest food and beverage companies in the world, our mission is to provide consumers around the world with delicious, affordable, convenient and complementary foods and beverages from wholesome breakfasts to healthy and fun daytime snacks and beverages to evening treats. We are committed to investing in our people, our company and the communities where we operate to help position the company for long-term, sustainable growth.”
It is interesting how brief and clear Patagonia’s statement is whereas, PepsiCo’s is filled with typical and forgettable corporate gobbledygook. Do you think there is anyone at PepsiCo who could both repeat the above back to you word-for-word and explain how it guides their daily decision-making?
More importantly than defining their purpose in a clear, concise and unique way, Patagonia puts their money where their mouth is by matching their stated purpose with their activities.
Their longstanding commitments to environmental and social responsibility through conservation efforts, environmental sustainability, protecting migrant workers, supply chain management and fair trade certification bear this out. As a result, their brand is inextricably linked with these "movements."
What notable and sustained actions has Pepsi taken to address racial inequality in the United States? When have they committed to a determined and public stand in support of those unfairly oppressed?
Yeah, I can’t think of an example either.
In short, Patagonia has earned the right, through continued focus on their core purpose, to be part of the conversation on President Trump’s announcement.
If PepsiCo defined their purpose around more strongly supporting movements that are committed to social change and equality and then backed that up through a sustained commitment to those specific causes, only then would they have the right to weigh in.
It was right to criticize PepsiCo for their cynical attempt at "consumerizing" a significant social movement. It is equally right to celebrate those, like Patagonia, who demonstrate genuine caring and commitment to society through long-term purpose-led initiatives.
Post by Chaz Thorne
You spend months in and out of meetings. Maybe you’re working with expensive outside consultants and facilitators. Dozens of emails have gone back and forth. You’ve been promised the endless “wordsmithing” will be worth it. In any case, everyone seems to believe this is “very important work”. And then you have it; the perfect mission and/or vision statement(s). You send out a memo, slap it on a poster in the lunchroom, put it up on your website and then…
(Insert sound of crickets here.)
Too often mission and vision statement writing ends up being an academic exercise that results in something that is wordy and generic with no tangible effect on your business.
The last point is the most damning.
Any strategic planning activity that does not have a real impact on your firm is a waste of time, energy and resources.
Testing the Theory
Ask a CEO of a medium to large organization what their mission and/or vision statement is. (The organization should be large enough that the CEO did not craft it themselves.) Most of the time they can’t tell you or will paraphrase something that mildly represents it.
Take it a step further and ask an employee that is significantly lower on the org chart. They can often tell you what the mission and/or vision statement is. However, ask them a follow up question. How are they brought to life in your day-to-day activities?
(Insert sound of crickets here.)
This is not the fault of the CEO or the employee. It is the fault of a process that seldom works.
I can feel the Mission/Vision Statement Zealot in you revolting, “But, then how do we get people united around a Purpose? How do we demonstrate that we are about something larger than just profit? But, it works for (insert name of super successful corporate unicorn here).”
The first thing I would suggest is to look at how ubiquitous mission and vision statements are. Are they the exclusive domain of well-run organizations? Next, look at the wording. How often do you see the same words? Excellence. Performance. Innovative. Bold. Integrity. Commitment. Responsibility. Do they even mean anything? Now, ask yourself whether or not they say anything unique about those organizations and whether or not you believe their businesses truly align with their stated missions and visions. Finally, for the true death blow, ask someone who works there what they think of their mission and vision.
If we are going to suggest tearing down one of the Ivory Towers of strategy development, what do we replace it with?
A Touchstone is a maximum seven word statement that acts as a brief yet tangible guide to all of your organization’s activities.
A well-carved Touchstone matches up with the acronym T.R.I.M.
True - Holds true for both internal AND external stakeholders
Repeatable - Easy to remember.
Instructive - Acts as a North Star for EVERYONE’s activities
Motivational - Has an aspirational quality
Though it may become one, it is NOT a marketing slogan or tagline. The reality is your Touchstone may only ever be used internally.
As the work we do for our clients is confidential, let me give an example from our own firm, Barn Raisers Strategic.
“Solving challenges faster, together.”
Though we knew we were on to something with our strategic planning methodology, we were unable to concisely put our finger on it at first. Over the past 24 months, conversations with our clients, made it more and more clear the value and difference they saw in our offerings. At the same time, we were also able to better define the engagements we most enjoyed and how our values were expressed in our work.
First and foremost, clients want solutions. Not exploration. Solutions. Our unique process and experience are wonderful, but these are only means to an end.
We believe in the capability of our clients. Most of the time, the solutions to their challenges are just below the surface but have not emerged due to politics. organizational silos, or failed planning processes. Unlike traditional consulting which is about lengthy engagements, tons of data collection, 500 page reports that no-one reads and large bills, we get all the key decision makers together in a room and move the needle in days not months.
Many problems are created because of competing internal objectives and communication breakdowns between departments. By getting everyone together you are devising solutions that can run the gauntlet of all the different silos.
In addition, you save significant time and money as you are creating buy-in in the room. One of the most frustrating aspects of consulting is when you go away and devise an elegant solution for a client that never gets implemented. This is because those that are responsible for implementation need to feel that the solution is theirs, not an outsider’s.
An elegant solution not implemented is useless.
A Guide for Everything
When we are talking to clients about projects or developing new services, we always come back to our Touchstone. It acts a guide for everything we do. Even our CSR activity, brought to life through our Give Agency initiative, is perfectly aligned. We essentially bring our Touchstone to life for non-profits and charities.
But Wait, There’s More!
Once you have your Touchstone it also acts as a guide for further strategic planning. From this simple yet powerful statement trickles the rest of your corporate strategy as it will direct your financial imperatives and choices about how you “win”.
In a world where planning too often gets bogged down in outdated processes and useless semantics, Touchstones have been a powerful tool for bringing clarity to our clients’ businesses.
From that clarity comes a greater ability to quickly make aligned choices. Something that mission and vision statements seldom achieve.
(Insert sound of crickets being squished.)
Post by Brian Hickling
Yesterday the now ex-FBI Director James Comey's testified before the Senate Intelligence Committee as it investigates into possible Russian interference in the 2016 elections and whether or not the President of the United States obstructed justice. I am not going to go into the details of which most people are well aware.
I would instead like to point out the importance of a clear and well-defined purpose for an organization. At my company Barn Raisers Strategic Inc., we work on a number of different strategic challenges for a variety of organizations, from government and private enterprise to not-for-profits and charities.
Every session we put on eventually discloses how strong or weak an organization's purpose is. It's brand essence. It's promise. It's value proposition.
As I watched James Comey’s testimony something struck me as a very important lesson.
In his comments to the Senators, Comey very clearly stated the FBI's purpose. He said “The FBI's mission will be relentlessly pursued by its people, and that mission is to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States. No warm and fussy or interpretive words used here. He didn’t say “We get to the bottom of things”, or “we get it done”. There was not a polished ad version like “Impossible is Nothing” or “Just Do It” here.
"To protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States" is the FBI’s purpose.
However, for me, it was Comey’s statement that the FBI’s purpose would be relentlessly pursued by its people that caught my attention. Relentlessly pursued. Why? What drives the employees of the FBI to do their work with relentlessness. What drives this passion?
I think the passion of his former employees is founded on two things.
One, the clarity of the organization's purpose. Everyone in the entire organization understands the same goals, values, and mission. They come to work every day to protect the American people and uphold the Constitution of the United States.
Second, is the sense of "WE" united by a purpose. A team bonded by a common cause and goal is an unstoppable team. The “WE” in this case is not even the FBI itself but America. The defense of America. You can’t get a higher social purpose for an organization in the United States than the defense of America. That’s the big “WE.”
Comey eluded to the big "WE" in his description of the FBI by saying that its purpose was to “protect the American people” and in doing so also described the FBI not just as a government organization, but as a social purpose organization.
The FBI’s purpose is not a communication layer or a tab on the website. It’s part of the fabric and the foundation of the organization. They attract professionals that could most likely make more money in the private sector but because of their social purpose, they chose to work there. They attract people who want to make a difference. Who want to work with an aligned team. People who want to matter to the big “WE.”
It's the team alignment that makes their purpose truly come to life and powerful. An organizations raison d'être should not wither away with the departure of any one person or leader. Apple is still together and doing well even after the passing of Steve Jobs because of it.
Comey helps us understand the power of having a strong purpose as he very personally describes his career to the Senators, “I worked every day with the FBI to help make that great organization better, and I say help because I did nothing alone at the FBI. There no indispensable people at the FBI. The organization's great strength is that its values and abilities run deep and wide.”
The question I ask you the reader is would you be able to say the same thing today about where you work?
“I worked every day at the __________ to help make that great organization better, and I say help, because I did nothing alone at the __________________. There no indispensable people at the ____________. The organization's great strength is that its values and abilities run deep and wide.
Having a clear and well-defined purpose is just as important for an Ice Cream shop or a not-for-profit as it is for Apple or the FBI. It aligns everyone in the organization. It promotes teamwork and collaboration. It attracts the best people. It allows peer compliance and standard bearing. It’s good for your customers even if your customers are the entire population of the United States of America.
An organization's purpose, like Comey pointed out, belongs to the entire company. It doesn’t just guide the leadership, it guides everyone. Your clients, your new hires, your philanthropy, your integrity and ultimately your success.
Mr. Trump might have fired the director, but he did not get rid of the FBI's purpose or the relentlessness in which it will be pursued.
Post by Brian Hickling
At our company, Barn Raisers, collaboration is core to what we do. After all, we bring people together in powerful ways to solve challenges for corporations and not-for-profits.
Recently, I came across some research on collaboration that sheds some light on just why we humans collaborate and how our version of collaboration compares to other mammals. It turns out that only humans are capable of what Michael Tomasello, an American developmental and comparative psychologist calls, “shared intentionality”.
According to scientists at the University of Warwick, they found that working together has its evolutionary roots in our nearest primate relatives - chimpanzees. Turns out, chimpanzees not only coordinate actions with each other but also understand the need to help a partner perform their role to achieve a common goal. However, it's the motive for their co-operation is really at the heart of the matter.
It seems that the chimpanzees’ motive to cooperate is to serve themselves to attain a goal. In other words, they are in it for the “Me”. They’re driven by how cooperating can help them.
Humans, on the other hand, are in it for the “We”.
The study found that “shared intentionality” cooperation is something only people do, according to Tomasello, co-director of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology. In his view, humans alone are capable of shared intentionality—they intuitively grasp what another person is thinking and act toward a common goal. He feels that this “We” ability launched our species on its extraordinary trajectory. It forged language, tools, and cultures—stepping-stones to our colonization of every corner of the planet.
According to Tomasello, it’s this “We” type of cooperation is what makes us human. He points out that Teamwork has been fundamental in humanity's greatest achievements.
Humans also have “Me” competitive tendencies. Tomasello’s research points out that humans are primates, and primates compete with one another,” But he explains that cooperation evolved on top of a deep-seated competitive drive selfishness.
In many ways, this is the human dilemma, the “Me” vs. the We.
In 1920’s Lev Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist argued that children’s minds do not automatically acquire skills, but develop full human intelligence only through cooperative teaching and social interactions. This is why so many people advocate for early childhood education in a social environment.
In parallel chimp vs. children experiments, children as young as 12 months have no trouble understanding an adult pointing a finger at a hidden reward, however, the chimp did not pick up on this cue. Tomasello’s view is that to understand pointing, you must form a “we-intention,” a shared goal that both of you will pay attention to the same thing. Chimps don’t point because they don’t think in terms of “We.” They think in terms of “Me.” The chimpanzee world is egocentric: Every chimp for himself. “Cooperatively informing them of the location of food does not compute,” he says.
It’s true that Chimps (and other animals) in the wild do cooperate, they groom each other and hunt in packs together. But these behaviours don’t require the kind of “We” intention that Tomasello identifies. Grooming, he points out, is a tit-for-tat activity that merely requires two animals to alternate: Literally, I scratch your back, you scratch mine. When apes cooperate they are engaged in a group activity in ‘Me’ mode, not in ‘We’ mode.”
Tomasello has discovered that young children, by contrast, find that working together can be a reward all its own. In one experiment, adults deliberately dropped objects in the presence of babies of 14 months. The babies will crawl over to pick them up and hand them back. In another study using toddlers, experimenters whose hands are full found that toddlers would perceive the problem and then open doors without being asked and without being rewarded.
Theories as to why humans developed collaborating skills are varied. One thought is that because of dramatic climate change food became more scarce. We became less aggressive and more willing to share out of necessity and survival. Aggressive individuals, unwilling to cooperate, would starve and die out.
Collaboration also has a dark side. Collaboration has also lead to some of the evil and nasty things that humans do. Maintaining a collaborative social structure encourages us to shun outsiders and to discipline nonconformists. It fosters groupthink—the urge to stifle dissenting opinions in the interest of harmony and loyalty. Tomasello says. We form groups in which everybody dresses and talks the same way, “and anybody who intentionally doesn’t conform, we wonder: What’s wrong with them—do they not want to be one of us?”.
However, it is the more positive side of collaboration that I would want to leave you with. The collaboration that has lead to amazing human achievements. Human collaborations ability to crystallize knowledge in inventions and traditions is what so special and powerful.
As Tomasello so aptly pointed out, the way we work together is what turned the ordinary primate mind into an extraordinary human one.
We have seen amazing ideas, solutions and friendships come out of our one day Barn Raisers sessions and our Give Agency weeks. I now understand that people working together to find solutions in the spirit of mutual trust and generosity are a unique and special thing. Let’s celebrate our humanness by working more as a “We”.
Post by Chaz Thorne
I recently had a discussion with a colleague in Los Angeles who works as a strategist for nonprofits. In discussing the work we do at The Give Agency, he told me he has been inundated with phone calls since January 20th from people in his network that have essentially one question: “What can I do?”
This is not only about giving funds. Compassionate, worldly and engaged individuals have been shaken by recent events around the globe and are looking for hands-on ways to give back – to feel like they’re “doing something”. Sharing videos and online petitions in the echo chamber of social media doesn’t cut it.
It seems as though there has been a karmic shift in the West. Much has been written about growing nationalism in the United States and Europe and, to anyone who has read a history book, this is and should be disturbing. In the “True North Strong and Free” we are not immune. Two female Members of Parliament have recently been subjected to some of the most racist and misogynistic personal attacks imaginable as a result of their presentation and defense of Motion 103 that seeks to combat Islamophobia. Troubled times indeed.
So, what’s the antidote?
Too “hokey” for you?
Let me delve a little deeper.
After a successful launch last year in Halifax, earlier this month we ran The Give Agency for the first time in Toronto. Basically, we pull a bunch of really smart people we call “Givers” together for a week to rapidly ideate on the challenges of 5 different charities/non-profits (one per day) in a tightly facilitated, results-oriented workshop process we call “Barn Raising”. This is an opportunity for talented professionals to put their expertise to work for good in a well defined ask – one day of their time. Thanks to the generosity of sponsors like Sun Life Financial and our volunteer Givers, we are able to offer this service for free to these important and compassionate organizations. In a show of just how many people are looking for opportunities to support others, we had to turn away over 100 potential Givers when we ran out of space to accommodate everyone who wanted to participate.
To say our week in Toronto was fulfilling would be a massive understatement. We spent our days rapidly coming up with ideas to help with fundraising and awareness for five extremely worthy groups who are making a significant difference in their city and the world. The level of enthusiasm in Miami Ad School Toronto where we conducted the workshop was palpable. Our charity clients walked away from their giving days with enough creative horsepower to run multiple campaigns over several years. I am still receiving emails from Givers and clients. The feelings of accomplishment live on and many Givers have reached out to the organizations from their “Giving Day” to further offer their talents.
What does all this have to do with the state of the world?
The diagram above depicts the Diffusion of Innovations, also sometimes referred to as the Adoption Curve. Everett Rogers, an American communication theorist and sociologist, put this theory forth in 1962. Though it is normally thought of as the process that a new product goes through in penetrating the market, Rogers saw it as being equally applicable to the spread of new ideas.
The concept of “skills-based giving” is at the core of the work we do at The Give Agency. And it is catching on. Like any idea, we are now at the “Innovators” stage of the Adoption Curve. But it is growing. It is truly a win-win for both charitable organizations and those who donate their skills.
Be an innovator.
Ask yourself, “What skills and interests do I have that would allow me to make a significant difference if I applied them in the service of others?” Are you a runner that has a large running group? Start a run in support of education in areas of the world ravaged by war. Are you an operations professional that can lean out an organization in your sleep? Offer to do an operational assessment on your nearest food bank. Are you an awesome website designer with some extra capacity? Offer to build a new site for a local animal shelter. Do you throw amazing parties? Offer to chair a fundraiser in support of a non-profit that supports the environment.
Philanthropy is one of the most meaningful ways that we show the world who we really are and demonstrate alignment with our deepest held beliefs. Then you have something REAL to post about on social media with the hope that it will encourage others in the early adopters segment to practice compassion by giving their skills for good. As the momentum builds and the early adopters share their experience, they can convince some of the early majority to join in and so on.
Voilà. A movement of practiced compassion.
That is how you can fight back against the negativity and hate that seem to be dominating our worldview. And won’t it make our social media feeds significantly more inspiring to read?
Every movement has to begin somewhere.
What can YOU do?
Post by Chaz Thorne
“Strategy” is probably the most overused and least understood word in organizational culture. At one point in time, every single one of you has rolled your eyes after being informed of an upcoming “strategic planning session”. This contempt has been well earned.
Everyone gets together and bats some ideas around. If consultants are engaged, maybe a large report is generated with lots of data and some colorful charts. If facilitated well, it may even be fun! However, all too often, nothing fundamentally changes. The energy that may have been palpable in the room quickly dissipates into the ether.
Though there may be a litany of reasons for this ranging from apathy to entrenchment, often times it comes down to an issue of process. That is, the foundation on which the strategy development was built was flawed from the beginning and doomed to fail.
Beyond Keeping The Lights On
In our work at The Give Agency we find ourselves frequently working with non-profit and charitable organizations whose resources are increasingly stretched thin as they compete with more and more causes all battling to engage the same audiences. For many of these groups, having the time and focus to be able to do strategic planning is a luxury. However, the sustainability proper planning provides is imperative for their survival.
We don’t believe in wasting anyone’s time. Not our non-profit/charitable clients’ and our sponsors’, and certainly not our many “Givers’” who volunteer their time and ideas for a day to help these vital organizations. Though it is extremely enjoyable to get together a collective of really smart people and dream up dozens of great ideas that is not the point of The Give Agency. To create the real change we are striving for, these groups need to be able to successfully implement the ideas we provide.
The Importance of M.U.S.E.
To make sure we accomplish our stated aim of real change, we apply a level of discipline to our process utilizing a framework we developed called M.U.S.E. (I know, strategists love acronyms…) M.U.S.E. is the gauntlet that every recommendation we make must successfully run.
If a recommendation is not measurable there is no way of knowing its effectiveness or how it may be adjusted to bring about greater success as new information is revealed. A word of caution here: quantitative measurements are not the only metrics that matter. Sometimes the creative development of “soft metrics” is required to measure things like societal or cultural impacts.
Ideas need to be shared with a variety of people throughout the organization with varying backgrounds and skill sets to achieve buy-in. As a result, they should be written in straightforward and approachable language. Graphic representations of strategy have also been shown to greatly increase retention and understanding.
Recommendations need to come from somewhere. When a path is proposed that was inspired by a successful implementation in another organization or industry that justification should be highlighted. Creative “benchmarking” is often the most powerful form of idea generation. This does not rule out “blue sky” thinking due to the uniqueness of a challenge. In the case of truly original thought, propositions should still be substantiated with an argument as to why there is a belief in this particular course of action.
Though ambitious goals are important, there is no point in presenting recommendations that are outside the realities of what the client has the ability to accomplish. The first step is to look to make the most of present resources unless an opportunity with an extremely promising return exists to justify increased financial investment or capability acquisition.
At The End of the Day…
Once all is said in done, we are not the ones who bring the ideas our Givers and we provide to life. That responsibility ultimately rests with the client organization. However, by applying discipline to the process with M.U.S.E. we are significantly increasing the likelihood of successful implementation.
The fundamental goal is to allow these wonderful organizations to keep the lights on and shining for those they serve. In doing so, they are making our communities that much brighter.
Post by Brian Hickling
It was Nov 6th, 2015 at 2:30 p.m. that I met Mike Maloney, Halifax PR guy for a coffee at Lion & Bright, a local Halifax hipster joint. I knew of Mike over the years but we never had the occasion to actually meet and chat. As we got to know one another, that coffee turned into a beer. And the discussion turned to the present state of the local economy and of the advertising and communications industry on the East Coast.
After some serious griping, a few shared war stories and a few laughs, there was a pause in the conversation. We looked all around us and there were about 30 people with coffee or beers, all staring deeply into their laptops, working away on various projects. Having both spent decades in the agency business, we thought it rather funny that the largest ad agency in the entire region was probably right here in this cafe. Independent creatives working on everything from digital UX to ad development and strategic planning.
A lightbulb moment.
Suddenly we both looked at each other and thought, what if we harnessed the creative potential of this room? What if we could connect and leverage this collective of creativity. At that moment The Give Agency concept was born. The idea: bring the disparate talent together to use our creative powers for good. And as a group, we’ll have a one-week think-athon for not-for-profits! We would create the ad agency we always wanted to work at. An ad agency with more diverse expertise. MBA’s, communications pros, graphic designers, advertising strategists, UX specialists and clients all mashed together. Holistic thinking is done by experts and clients together. Fast.
Having an idea was the easy part.
So we had a cool idea. That was the easy part. We have them all the time. Putting them in motion is not. Especially when you’re trying to create something totally new and unproven. But we just couldn’t shake the thought that this crazy idea, in particular, could work. So we set out to test it the concept.
The next day I connected with Louise Berube from NABS. NABS is a nonprofit dedicated assisting people in the creative world who might be struggling due to illness, injury, unemployment or financial difficulties. As luck would have it, they were looking to bring the Cannes Reel to Halifax as a way to promote their brand and service in Atlantic Canada. I floated the idea of The Give Agency by Louise. She loved it! We discussed it for an hour and a half. She wanted to help and we talked about a NABS sponsorship. She would do her best to find us some funds.
Listen to Yoda. Do or do not. There is no try.
In life, timing is everything. But timing, in this case, seemed to work against us. It was after Christmas and sponsorship money was hard to come by. Our sponsor was only able to provide us with very modest funds. Not enough for us to put on the event the way we wanted. We had a decision. It was no or go time. Do it or pull the plug on the project. We decided that, as crazy as it was, we would try to put the event on a less than a shoestring budget. With the talents of my wife Karen - The Give Agency’s event manager - we worked with the money we had. With Karen’s keen eye on the budget, some generous in-kind donations for signage, photography, video and website development we committed to the project. We secured the brand new and stunningly designed Halifax Library’s creative lab space for the week. Mike got the word out and people started to join our staff roster. We even had MBA and filmmaker Chaz Thorne volunteer and join us for all five days! We had people help with the creative briefs, we connected with five charities and we set the date. Feb 22 - 27, 2016.
Sometimes the hard less traveled road is the one you need to go down.
The first day was exciting as we set up the first banners with our logo. The chairs were arranged and the coffee and muffins were set out. Everything was in place. At exactly 9 a.m. we opened The Give Agency and started to work.
Normally in the ad business, we get anywhere from 10 to 30 days for strategic and creative concept development. Because we only had our client for a day we had to design a faster, more streamlined process. One that would drive results in a single day. We needed to hone in on the problem, find great ideas and solutions, and then identify the best of the best all in 6 hours. But would this work? Having jammed entire creative pitches into two days in the past, I knew that 6 hours would be tough.
To overcome the lack of time, we would simply increase the brainpower in the room. We would include the client who could help steer the strategy on the fly so there’s no wasted time. Ideation, strategy and client buy-in, all moving together in a fluid dance.