the future of planning
Insight Needs Some Proper Crackle
Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO's strategy chief on the importance of separating signal from noise when it comes to planning
20 September 2022
Picasso had his Blue, Rose, African, Cubist and Surrealist periods.
Madonna her Material Girl, Dominatrix, Electro Mystic and Disco Queen phases.
Where should we look to understand Strategy’s next act?
Well, perhaps there are pointers from another period of artistic flourishing – the New Hollywood movement that produced movies like Bonnie and Clyde, Five Easy Pieces and Harold and Maude, and loads more stone-cold classics.
Like most flourishings worth their salt, New Hollywood was as much about what it rejected as what it embraced.
New Strategy will benefit from taking a similar stand.
Reject the banal. Those films I mentioned before all crackle with realism and intensity.
Yet too much of the work we see in our own world creaks with superficiality.
The single most important role of a strategist will always remain finding those real human connections between brands and their audiences.
But we must dig deeper and think braver to give our insight some proper crackle.
At AMV we give this a name - Radical Empathy.
Reject the bloated. Just as New Hollywood films put paid to all those overwrought biblical epics that had preceded it, so New Strategy must take care to rein in some of its own excesses. The exponential availability of data is a huge boon to today’s strategist, but it is also a seductive trap.
That requires more vigilance in separating the signal from the noise - the data that’s superfluous from the data with soul. The stuff that proves an effect from the guff that pretends to.
Reject the same old voices. It was the influx of outsider voices that opened the old film studio system up to exciting and radical new perspectives.
There remains still a glaring lack of diversity in most strategy departments.
When the inextricable link between diversity and creativity is now beyond doubt, there’s no question that strategy’s future will only improve on its present by making itself open to a fairer, more diverse new wave of strategists.
Tom White is chief strategy officer at AMV BBDO