Sandwiches at the ready! Put on the kettle! Yes- it’s Binge time at the Minimart.
Every other Wednesday us Minimarters gather around and lunch together, whilst someone external, or in-house does a short talk on a topic of interest. This week we had our very own Head of Strategy, Jo Booth, explain why she thinks planning matters and what “Thoughtful Provocation” means for creative work here at the Minimart.
Jo began our journey … a long, long time ago when “Yoda” was created in advertising. In fact it was the grand vision of Stephen King and Stanley Pollitt and their quest to find a place for ‘objectivity’ within the advertising process that helped strategy be placed at the heart of the creative process.
Boothism No 1, in order to be a good planner, you must first listen and understand the consumer. The role of a planner began with the premise of searching for a balance between insights, truths and facts and the ability to argue, based on their independent merits, what a brand should stand for. To be able to do this well she urged us all, in the words of Jon Steel, not to be “clever, but to be useful”.
Boothism No 2, was exciting. Jo argued that digging out what clients really need to make their businesses successful poses the biggest challenge for planners. Jo raised the question are we Washington or Hollywood in terms of our approach to the discipline? Washington being the more rigourous, authoritative, category-centric, consumer closeness approach; Hollywood being the radical, culturally conscious, category bursting approach. Using the example of a Sony proposition – “Bravia brings incredible colour into your life” – Jo argued that neither approach lives in isolation of each other, that it’s where the two collide that tensions fly and planning fuels interesting work through what she calls “Thoughtful Provocation”.
In Boothism No 3, Jo argued that planners need both rigour and radicalness in their thinking to dig properly and it is easier today to combine the two as in this era of planning we have all begun to understand how the brain works. She quickly and usefully then walked us through how Behavioural Economics has had to Nudge our thinking forward and how Kahnemen’s views on “System One” thinking means that it is a great life if you don’t reason.
Jo neatly explained, using the history of ideas, that over the years the role of a planner has been challenged and has therefore had to adapt; Boothism No 4, took us at warp speed into the digital era, one of the fastest and hardest technological changes since the Industrial Revolution. How are planners dealing with this? – the fact that 97% of the Worlds data has been created in the past two years – they’re combining magic and maths, turning vast amounts of data into insight and insight into interesting and influential strategies.
For Jo, Yoda still exists; in fact the building blocks of planning still remain the same. So what does this mean for our clients and how we help them solve their problems here at the Minimart? It is her view that all our ideas need nurturing through “Thoughtful Provocation”. Whether that starts from a rational or emotional standpoint ultimately depends on the objectives of the brief.
There has never been a better time to get curious.